Originally posted Sept. 18, 2010, at Cob Blog. Republished with permission of the author.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the Science vs. Religion debate that we miss important facts, such as: Medieval-era scientists were Christians.
Concordia College, a college of the ELCA, located in Moorhead, Minn, recently hosted a symposium titled “Awakening to Wonder: Re-enchantment in a Post-secular Age.” The event brought together respected academicians from across the country to discuss topics ranging from science and technology to mystery, magic and faith.
The opening plenary address was given by Adam Frank, professor at the University of Rochester. Although Frank seemed to be too much of an apologist for atheism, he sparked a good wave of discussion that continued throughout the symposium.
He offered another perspective to the debate between science and religion which usually holds that science is bad, religion is good and no shade of gray exists. Frank emphasized that it does not have to be that way and that both can be used to complement each other’s respective paths.
Many people are surprised by the idea that science and religion could actually complement each other, as if the two were designed to be foes.
It’s interesting how a simple fact, such as that Galileo Galilei was a devout Christian, can quickly be forgotten as people continue to frame scientists as innate enemies of Christendom. In reality these early scientists planned to use science as a way to further their knowledge as Christians.
Frank argued that everyone has different encounters with sacredness and that each awe-filled encounter will contribute to how people individually and collectively understand the sacred.
Frank uses “sacred” because he believes “religion” does not adequately represent every faith-based community and that religion puts humanity into a box; it puts restrictions on human thought.
Science, in the lens of Christianity, should be used for purposes that can further understanding between God and man — the gray area — but not to dangerously play the role of God. After all, God gave humans a complex brain in order to inquire and understand, not to take charge.
Find a link to Samuel Gebru’s entry on “Cob Blog” at Lutheran Blogs.