My friend, Dave Huth, has a great graphic on his blog about heresy. Here’s the first panel:
Last week, I attended and participated in a conference at Fuller Seminary called “Talk of God, Talk of Science.” I’m always happy to return to Fuller, and I was warmly received, particularly by president-elect, Mark Labberton. Fuller’s a good place, people. Believe me.
Anyhoo, the background of the conference is that it was supported and underwritten by the Templeton Foundation, particularly the Scientists in Congregations Project. By a show of hands, it seemed that over 1/3 of the attendees were part of that project. Everyone at this conference was a fan of science. Everyone wants faith and science to embrace and make whoopee. That was the de facto assumption in the room.
What I found most interesting about the talks that I heard was that they all dealt with one particular issue in the science and religion world: evolution and creation. That was the case study around which the talks that I heard revolved (I probably heard 2/3’s of the plenary talks at the conference).
I sat on a panel on Friday evening, and, when asked about my experience of science in the church, observed what I’d seen that day. And then I said, “No one under 40 gives a crap about creationism. Only Baby Boomers care about that.”
You may have already seen the above test, given to 4th graders at Blue Ridge Christian Academy in Greenville, SC (as confirmed by Snopes, where you can also see the second page of the test and read the backstory). Yeah, that’s pretty bad.
It is those two juxtaposed images of youth engaging science with which I’m going to start my talk tomorrow at Fuller Seminary’s conference, Talk of God, Talk of Science, which is described thusly:
But it is not possible to know that by looking at the natural world alone. The question of purpose is closely related to the question of whether something like the God of Western monotheistic religions can be known to exist by studying the order, goodness, and grandeur of the universe. Already around 1750 David Hume pointed out that if one is looking at evidence of design, then all of the evidence must be taken into account: not only order and goodness but disorder and evil as well. He seems to think that some sort of creator is possible (in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, published posthumously in 1779, it is not clear which character represents Hume’s own views). But if so, we can know next to nothing about the creator’s qualities: an intelligence, for all we know, as much like ours as our intelligence is like the rotting of a turnip–one deity or a team; alive or dead; a juvenile or superannuated deity. Nothing can be known of any plan for the future perfection of the world or the human condition.