A rush of powerful, transforming emotion. A love that overwhelms. A bolt of altered perspective. An encounter with pure beauty. A profound realization of significance--or insignificance.
I am an agnostic scientist who happens to also be fascinated with the world's religions, especially the Abrahamic religions -- Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
You have heard Creationists and their sympathizers evoke the comment that you cannot assemble life from randomness. What you don't know is that this is an intentional misunderstanding of science that, unfortunately, works to sway millions of people.
Carbon pollution is undeniably the material cause of Earth's climate breakdown, but what is the root cause? Blaming our growth-dependent economic systems does not, in my view, go deep enough. Ultimately, religion is responsible -- but not in the way secularists might assume.
On a public level, substituting "fidelity" for "faith" in our discussions would let us get past the tired faith-versus-science debate (or even the faith-versus-works debate). And on a personal level, all of us could benefit from analyzing our own embodied lives to find out to what or to whom we are authentically faithful.
Many historians view Hypatia's murder as the symbolic death of classical antiquity, the advent of a thousand year period of intellectual darkness, whose eventual coda was the Renaissance.
A woman spoke that evening whose son had died, and he was a registered donor. His organs went to seven different people. It was such a moving talk. I was deeply affected by what she shared and her son's sacrifice. It made me think of two things.
Humanity is in a tight race between enlightenment and catastrophe: economic, environmental, and social. As a species we need all the wisdom we can muster. Truth is one, and any thoughtful effort to heal the enmity between science and religion should be lauded.
As the immensely influential early Christian thinker Augustine commented: "Let every good and true Christian understand that wherever truth may be found it belongs to the Master." I wish I had said that. I also wish that any believer would nod in agreement.
William R. Catton, Jr. -- one of the most significant and influential ecological thinkers of the past century -- died last month, just shy of his 89th birthday. Catton was an inspiration to a host of climate change, peak oil, and sustainability-oriented leaders.
What do the measles outbreak, Islamic fanatics in Pakistan, and the Supreme Court's execrable Hobby Lobby decision all have in common? Answer: all three are examples of how society suffers when people's religious beliefs are put ahead of the greater good.
Clergy and parishioners have been celebrating Evolution Weekend for a decade. Those who have participated have found their faith to be stronger even while they deepen their understanding of the nature of science.
Many of us are willing to ignore the overwhelming evidence that human nature and history are irreducibly complex, in favor of bedtime stories that let us sleep better at night. We blame the worst stuff on religion and dream of a better world without it.
One day as I sat there holding my mother's hand, I asked her if there was anything that could be done to make her feel better. She said, "I want god to take away this cancer and instead give me something that would let me die with dignity." I tried but didn't really know how to comfort her.
Science is in constant flux. New discoveries are made. New insights arise. New paradigms overturn previous ways of thinking. So if we base our religious outlook on scientific findings, what will happen to our theology when the science changes?