Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thoughts on Religion and Science

by Eric Walters

As a scientist and minister, I’m often asked to comment on the whole creation/evolution debate. The following is a less scholarly response that I provided to a ministry colleague who teaches at a liberal arts college in New Jersey.

“Science gives a man knowledge, which is power; Religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”
--Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The statement by King comments on how the world of science and the world of religion must have their fullest expression in their coexistence. Those who attempt to instigate and perpetuate rival relationships between the two lack wisdom, and fail to value what it means to be human. To be human is to ask questions—probing questions about how the world works. The disciplined “scientific eye” of the religious and non-religious afford the luxuries we enjoy through invention and advanced technology. To be sure, scientists who seek to understand the inner workings of the world through inquiry and exploration have helped to protect our children from danger, and provide healing and comfort for many.

Asking questions—whether scientific or theological, is important, and we should ask those questions with fervency, integrity, and humility. The strange irony is that we now live in an age when science and religious scholarship are more informed than ever, and unfortunately, what emerges is the competition for dominance, supremacy, and absolutism (which reflects a lack of wisdom). Thus, factions from each side (Creationists and Evolutionists) soldier up, and prepare for war in an effort to annihilate the other—hoping to strike the fatal intellectual blow to the opposition.

Over the past two decades, amid endless debates between creationists and evolutionists, children starve and die throughout the world (roughly 25,000 to 30,000 per day by most estimates), wars continue to be waged, and our earthly home weeps ever so loudly of how we—its inhabitants, have abused and “gluttoned” her limited resources, and also fashioned weapons of war with them. Those who encourage hostility between scientists and creationists might want to reflect ask what “victory” really looks like. When does anyone ever “win” the debate of creation vs. evolution? When does anyone ever say that the book (whether that be Bible or textbook) is closed on the matter of the origins of man? Will solving this debate eliminate man’s inhumanity to man? Instead of “either/or” could the answer rather be “both/and”?

Ironically, whether one believes that God created man, or man was placed on earth by creatures from other planets, or that man evolved millions of years after a random Big Bang of the “nethersphere”, we can all come to a consensus on one (scientific) fact: we are human, we must live together, and this must be the most important quest. Perhaps from this new perspective, the question of where we came from could be less important than where we will choose to go. This means that the hard work is to build the bridge that help us understand our common bonds,and that strength involves the disciplines of science, theology, and anthropology, to name a few. That’s the important "debate", and we don’t have to destroy each other along the way.

For there is a profound difference between being a human (this registers a scientific fact), and being human (this reflects an act of wisdom).

Eric Walters is Co-Founder of TheoSyst Group.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Getting Back to Blogging

by Eric Walters

Hi Folks!

Many of my friends and theo-colleagues have been wondering what happened to me: "Where are you? Why haven't you written anything on the blog?"

Fact is, I'm exhausted! [Check out the image on the right--The Causes of Fatigue]; if you find your "issue" or "issues" there like I did, then do something to heal yourself! We're no good if our bodies don't work, so if you're overworked and stressed, be sure to take care of yourself.

Besides, I need at least one of you around to post an occasional comment (Ha!).

I love the thought of blogging. Mind you, I said the THOUGHT of blogging. But blogging is work, and the day job (I am a full-time biochemistry professor, if some of you forgot or didn't know) is really hectic! This is a loaded semester for me, and teaching, doing research, writing grant proposals, and performing basic ministerial duties got the best of me this summer and fall.

So I took a much needed break! Thank God I don't have to blog for a living, but blogging does enhance my life!

So thanks to all for your comments, concerns, and encouraging words.

Now, back to the blog!

Eric Walters is Co-Founder of TheoSyst Group.