Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Science Is Religion's "Step-Child"?

Some believe that the world functions along separate lines of understanding, religion speaks for God, and science speaks to everything else. The problem of divorcing the two, is it leaves little room for religion and God. This is where the battle lines become fierce, as the exclusivist vent their fears by enforcing a "brittle" understanding of a text, or tradition. In Christian history, this is where fundamentalism was born. But, staunch stands do nothing to endear the Church in the public square.

Others would argue that "religion is science's step-child", because religion is just useful to serve other ends. Religion is to be a useful means to incorporate cooperation from the "feeble minded", who depend on religion. While dependence on religion may be true for identification, or cultural forms that help make the individual feel "at home", I think the attitude of "usefulness" is inappropriate and demeaning to others.

While I agree that tradition limits "free-thought", tradition is useful to serve the purposes of acculturation in a culture. Our American culture does not define itself on a primary religious tradition, as we believe that religion is a private matter. We affirm religious freedom and tolerance in our Bill of Rights and Constitution.

Just today, while talking with my hairdresser, who just became a deputy in the Episcopol Church, he informed me that the reason the Episcopol Church separated from the Anglican Church was because of the American Revolution. We were not be be subservient to a king, in our religion. This is a challenge today in the Anglican tradition, as well as other organized traditions. Where is authority and by what means are issues to be dicussed and decisions made?

Science has challenged our understanding of man and nature and we will never be finished with exploring all the avenues available in seeking undersanding of our physical world. The challenge for the religious, is to understand their faith within a scientific framework. Faith is not dependent on doctrine, or belief, or text, but on life itself. Therefore, science should not threaten the faithful, it should only challenge our minds in understanding any limitations on science. So, the call to the Church should be in ethics. Ethics brings pertinence to the Church and gives a voice in the public square.

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