A $2 million grant program called “Scientists in Congregations,” has been funded by the John Templeton Foundation to act as a catalyst for theological and scientific dialogue in more than 37 congregations in America reaching over 15,000 people.
The success of the program helped launch “Scientists in Congregations Scotland,” based at the University of St. Andrews. The Scottish program has already received proposals from more than 30 churches of various denominations.
“The point is that people are really interested in these issues, given an opportunity to explore them,” said co-project leader David Wood. “The dialogue can become an opportunity for mission, as some churches are finding that advertising events about science and religion is a draw to individuals who otherwise wouldn’t think the church held any interest for them.”
Program leader Andrew Torrance said the discussion is good for science as well, adding, “It’s partly about understanding the limits of science. This matters because individuals can then gain a better grasp of the scientific enterprise — what it can and cannot offer. It’s also about having a richer understanding of the dimensions of meaning, value and intelligibility that are so important for human lives.”
The one thing religion and science have in common is that both involve a search for truth. Science seek to understand and explain a universe of astounding mathematical order that contains evidence of immense intelligence.
Religion makes these discoveries meaningful by explaining that a Creator is behind such advanced organization. It is believed by some that a cooperation between science and theology can help more people understand crucial questions that remain a mystery.
Molecular biologist Francis Collins said, “I find my appreciation of science is greatly enriched by religion. When I discover something about the human genome, I experience a sense of awe at the mystery of life, and say to myself, ‘Wow, only God knew before.’ It is a profoundly beautiful and moving sensation, which helps me appreciate God and makes science even more rewarding for me.”
Based on how far science and religion have come, and still have to go, it seems the quest for truth about the universe and Intelligent Design has no end in sight. As biologist Lewis Thomas stated about understanding the universe, “There will be no end to this process, being the insatiably curious species that we are, exploring, looking around and trying to understand things. We’re not ever going to get it solved. I can’t imagine any terminal point where everyone will breathe a sigh and will say, ‘Now we understand the whole thing.’ It’s going to remain beyond us.”
Regarding the understanding of sacred truth, one Bible writer said at 1Corinthians 13:12, “What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror. ... What I know now is only partial.” — Good News Translation.
The truth is, no lone generation has been given all the facts of science or religion. Each generation builds on the knowledge of the last. So cooperation between science and religion is a very noble goal. I think it’s great if science and religion can find a common ground and grow together.
On the other hand, real faith in God does not depend on science. Proven science can reinforce faith. But when their paths contradict, each person must decide which view seems closer to the truth and which ideology makes for a full and happier life. Because faith, like science, is a way of thinking, a way of looking at things more than it is about specific information.
Keep in mind that the Bible provides us with a knowledge of God and His purposes that cannot be found in any other source. Why can you trust it? By investigating the accuracy of statements made of a scientific nature, its historical authenticity, its timeless wisdom and the fulfillment of hundreds of prophecies in the past and into our own lifetime, anyone can establish trust in God’s Word.
It also answers questions impossible for science to answer, like, Who are we? Why are we here? What happens when we die and what does the future hold? It explains God’s love for us, who He is and what He has in store for us. Can science help you find answers to these questions?
We do well to remember that not all scientific discoveries or religious beliefs are factual. Falsehoods have infiltrated both science and religion. There is, therefore, true science and true religion, as well as false science and false religion. It takes earnest effort and discernment to distinguish between fact and speculation on both sides.
Scientists in Congregations is a $2 million experiment that could reap certain benefits or eventually lose its chemistry between theology and science. Why? Because faith believes in miracles. Science believes in laws. But the One who installed those laws is also able to restrain, reverse or even repeal those laws.
There is an ideological chasm so deep between the way most defenders on both sides view these two concepts that it would take Someone more knowledgeable, more advanced than both, to bridge the gap. Someone like ... well, need I say Who?