Friday, January 14, 2011

Martin Rees on the Conflict between Science and Religion

"I don’t see any conflict between science and religion. I go to church as many other scientists do."

However, he's not a believer in the traditional God.


John W. Loftus said...

Vic there is no conflict with science and religion. There is only a conflict with some kinds of science with some kinds of religion. In your case you accept the results of science in an overwhelming number of cases except where science conflicts with what some ancient pre-scientific agency detectors wrote in a canonized set of texts.

Why the double standard?

Bob Prokop said...

My hobby is amateur astronomy. I got into it shortly after the death of my wife two years ago, mainly to be around other people at night (those solitary hours in the late evenings were the worst!). But it didn’t take at all long for stargazing itself to really grab hold of me. I now devour four astronomy magazines per month, daily visit two blogs on the subject, and read two-three books per months on various subjects like stars, the solar system, cosmology, or other such things (I am currently in the middle of a book about microbes). I have been repeatedly called upon to present programs to young people at nearby elementary schools and libraries, and have even been offered a part time position on the faculty of my local community college.

Observing sessions themselves are a wonderful means of making a connection with the universe. I have spent silent hours following the moons of Jupiter as they pass in front of the disk of the planet, trailing their shadows over the Jovian cloud tops. I’ve watched in awe as the sun rises over a crater’s rim on the moon, while the lunar mountains flash into view as the light hits them. I have strained my eyes trying to make out fine details in a distant galaxy, or on the surface of Mars. Such times teach one a lot about patience, about the need to slow down, about examining one’s own innermost thoughts as well as observing far distant worlds. It is truly a spiritual experience.

In fact, I’ve come to regard my time at the telescope as a form of worship – a kind of liturgy almost. I now begin each session with a prayer. These are not times for apologetics or debates. In fact, such things would be wildly out of place out there under the stars, akin to arguing the case for Christianity at a funeral. They’re a quiet chance to experience with one’s senses just why the Psalmist wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament His handiwork”.

But to the point. I have no patience with the notion of a “God of the Gaps”. What a ridiculous concept! My God is a God of the “Filled-in Spaces”. I don’t look for evidence of the divine in the places of our ignorance, but rather see Him in what we do know. I see him in the Moon’s orbit about the Earth, in the infinite complexity of Life (and yes, I perceive Him in evolution!), in the vast interstellar spaces and within the smallest atomic structures. The more we learn through the scientific method, the more I recognize the handiwork of the Creator. Every advance in our knowledge of the universe only increases my faith in God.

Bob Prokop said...

Here is an example of how I might begin a night out under the stars:

GOD, Creator of all things,

As I prepare this evening to look upon Your works,

Grant that I may have the wisdom to perceive You in all that You have made.

The universe is vast, but vaster still are You.

Matter and energy are real, but Your reality is all the greater.

The life that arises on Your worlds is fertile and active, yet it is but a poor shadow of Your mighty works that I can see at every hand.

If I am humbled by my place in such a universe, it is nothing to the humility You showed to Your people, when You assumed our form and became one of us, in the person of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

Teach me, O Lord, in my own life, to appreciate the majesty of all Your works, especially the beauty of those persons near to me - to whom, with Your aid, I can be an instrument of Your love.

As You brought fire to the hearts of suns and galaxies, fill my heart with the fire of Your Holy Spirit.

And help me to remember always, that all that You have made exists to Your greater glory, and is but a pale reflection of Your divine self, upon which I hope to look one day… unimpeded. Amen.

Nick said...

What science is not being accepted that demonstrates that Christ did not rise?

Anonymous said...

I think you're wrong.

He's not a believer in the popular Christian god, but he is in the traditional Christian god.

Suggest you watch the lecture series given by Keith Ward at Gresham College. It's on their website.