Since HuffPost Religion first began, no single topic has lit up the section more than the interplay between religion and science. We have featured posts by people who hold a wide range of views and backgrounds such as Herman Wouk, Michael Ruse, Karl Giberson, Sam Harris, and Ervin Laszlo. To support this important discourse, The Huffington Post is pleased to announce the launch of Religion and Science: A Contemporary Discussion -- a forum dedicated to hosting an intelligent and respectful discussion of one of the most important and contentious conversations of our time.
This debate is not new. Religion and science have been jostling one another for as long as both have been making truth claims about the nature of existence. When scientists and religious thinkers reinforce one another, the relationship between these two disciplines has been amiable; but when adherents disagree, it is with extraordinary passion.
Both religion and science offer explanations for the universe: what it is, how it came to be, and the role of humanity within it. Furthermore, religion and science differ on what counts as proof of truth, and on the role of empirical and/or rational thought in establishing the nature of reality. How one understands religion and science can influence, and be influenced by, our convictions of whether or not there is a Creator, which bleeds into the atheist/theist and evolution/intelligent design debates.
Religious and scientific worldviews often come with corresponding ethical implications, and they therefore influence debates on current hot-button issues such as the environment, medicine, and education. This is all important stuff -- it is no surprise that passions run high, as we have seen in the number of comments on the articles on HuffPost Religion.
Many of us find ourselves firmly on one side or the other of the religion and science spectrum. Others find ourselves drawn to aspects of both religion and science. I am impressed by the critical and systematic nature of science, with its close observance of the natural, while still recognizing within me a deep and undeniable connection to the transcendent, which is translated to me through religious tradition.
In my experience, some of the people who have taught me most about awe are scientists who have no religious commitments. Through its unique approach, science reveals how truly wonderful the universe is. At the same time, religion can offer reverence for the world and its people, with a corresponding morality that is crucial for guiding scientific study away from potentially destructive or short-sighted endeavors. Religious people should not leave their critical minds and curiosity about the nature of the world at the door of the house of worship, nor should scientists leave their humility or heart at the entrance to the lab.
Our hope for this forum is that readers will be exposed to the perspectives of both those with whom we agree and those with whom we disagree. Neither religion nor science is going away. Having a creative and productive dialogue between these worldviews will be crucial to our collective progress as we move further into the 21st century. Religion and Science: A Contemporary Discussion is one way we can move forward together.