Exploring Our Matrix
The Blog of Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis
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For those in Indianapolis, don’t forget the event at Butler University on Friday exploring the relationship of science and religion.
What “wisdom” does religion give that cannot be accepted by a non-religious person? Religious “interpretations” are often of a dubious nature. If Jesus did not resurrect, if neither Abraham or Moses existed, what are the Abrahamic religions? Science does not attempt to swallow itself, the religions in the religious “magisterium” do.
I am pretty sure that, as a liberal Christian, he had in mind things like the Golden Rule, and not using our scientific and technological developments to harm others.
I’m pretty sure that the Golden Rule is something that can be accepted by non-religious people and, consequently, can be invented without the help of religion. Like CAM takes over nutrition from science-based medicine and claims it as its own, religion takes over ethics from civil authority and claims it as its own.
The Bible wasn’t written in a time when the scientific method was used to develop military technology (though military technology was steadily improving throughout the Iron Age to Roman period; e.g., the replacement of chariotry by cavalry, the invention and spread of the catapult). What could it have said about “not using our scientific and technological developments to harm others”? In fact, I don’t know of any early religious text which mentions the issue.
I know that people of all sorts of views have borrowed the best principles religious traditions have come up with, and then complain that those are not distinctive of religious groups. But that is neither here nor there. When a liberal Christian like MLK talks about religion, we aren’t talking about dogmas and superstitions. We are talking about values and values and commitments.
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