The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Science and faith in the UK

From USA Today: Science and faith, the British way, an opinion piece by Mark I. Pinsky.

Some of the most prominent researchers in England enjoy a vibrant religious life that coexists with their immersion in the scientific world. Indeed, these evangelicals might give American believers, and scientists, something to think about.

Pinsky, a Jewish journalist who has written much about American Evangelicals, states that he wanted to explore how the tension between science and religion played out in other cultures. He traveled to Britain, where he interviewed prominent scientists who professed faith in Christ, including Sir John Houghton (meteorologist, global warming expert), Sir John Polkinghorne (astrophysicist, Anglican priest),  Simon Conway Morris (paleontologist), and others.

I asked these scientists the sources of their belief, and the answers they gave me were intriguing to someone who for years has been more immersed in the world of American evangelicals, where I frequently found that hostility toward science seemed to be the norm in public controversies. These Brits cited a disparate mixture of empirical scientific evidence and the veracity of Scripture for their Christianity, based equally on science and faith.

First, they say the likelihood that intelligent, carbon-based life originated in the universe by chance is infinitesimally minute. And second, they proclaim their belief in what they accept as the firsthand, biblical accounts of Jesus’ life, death and physical resurrection.

All of these scientists are theistic evolutionists–scientists who believe that God used evolution as his means of bringing life to its present state–yet proclaim their acceptance of the Scriptural witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. In general, they include science as part of the reason that they are Christians. They accept evolution as a process, but cannot see the first cell as having originated purely by chance.

I have read a book by Conway Morris, Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe, but I haven’t read works by the other authors. Conway Morris sees both young-Earth creationism and intelligent design as faulty, but is equally critical of the atheistic materialism of fellow paleobiologists Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins.

Here in the U.S., these men might be denounced by many Evangelicals as compromisers with atheistic evolutionists. But we need to ask ourselves whether we are often guilty of the opposite extreme of creating dissension between science and faith in places where it is not necessary.

HT: World Magazine

Grace and Peace

September 29, 2008 - Posted by | Christianity, Origins

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Kevin,
    Thanks for that post. Re: your comment:

    Here in the U.S., these men might be denounced by many Evangelicals as compromisers with atheistic evolutionists. But we need to ask ourselves whether we are often guilty of the opposite extreme of creating dissension between science and faith in places where it is not necessary.

    is exactly correct … this is a more difficult position to be defending in the church on this side of the pond. It is the topic of my blog “An Evangelical Dialogue on Evolution” – see: http://evanevodialogue.blogspot.com/.

    re: Polkinghorne, he is IMHO probably the cream of the crop when it comes to discussing the interaction between an evangelical expression of the Christian faith and the evidence found in modern science. I’d suggest “Science and Christian Belief” as the place to start (I believe called “Fiath of a Physicist” in the US)… the book walks through the nicene creed .. not easy bedtime reading but very rewarding.

    Like

    Comment by steve martin | September 30, 2008


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