Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Making peace between science and religion

It's that time of year for the annual "Top Ten" lists. An article in Religion Dispatches (H/T, the Lead) points at the top ten peacemakers between Science and Religion.
This year has marked, I believe, the beginning of the end of the war between science and religion. Creationism cannot last. The New Atheists are now getting old. And between these camps the middle ground continues to expand.

Indeed, many folks have been hard at it, doing a new kind of peace work. Some have done it intentionally, some have not. Outliers, both atheist and religious hardliners, continue to wage battle but they look increasingly irrelevant.
You can click over to see who they are.

While I can't claim to a place in the top ten, or even the top 100, I'm rather pleased with some of my writings on this subject this year, so forgive me if I use this opportunity to point at them all together:

  • The unexpected face of the faithful (I) points out that many scientists DO consider themselves people of faith. (I'm not one of them, but I'm friendly!)
  •   Do the Faithful need atheists? considers how the outsider's view may actually be constructive
  •  My Living with Church series described why and how I, as a non-believer, function in a religious community. 
    • Part I discusses how I manage to accommodate, as a cultural rather than spiritual identity
    • Part II considers the science of faith, and 
    • Part III describes engaging politically, as a non-believing defender of faith. 
  •   Science, Faith, Mythos, Logos, examines roots of the peculiar conflict between religion (particularly evangelical) and science.
  • and from last year, Faith through a Prism
I hope you've enjoyed what I've written.  It looks like we'll keep going into 2012, though I hope that my fellow bloggers on this group blog will participate a little more often!


Erp said...

I'm not so optimistic given the percentage of anti-science people often using religion as the reason out there in the US (consider the number of young earth creationists and the number of high school biology teachers who don't consistently teach evolution or the blinkers on global warming or [and from a slightly different group] anti-vaccination people [whether in Africa leading to a resurgence in polio or in California leading to outbreaks of measles and whooping cough]).

I also worry about the 'historians' like David Barton who preach a history that never was and state school boards who push this (see Texas).

dr.primrose said...

N.Y. Times story on Illinois R.C. bishops claiming religious oppression because they have to follow the rules against disciminating against gays if they take government money -- For Bishops, a Battle Over Whose Rights Prevail

"Catholic Charities in Illinois has served for more than 40 years as a major link in the state's social service network for poor and neglected children. But now most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in Illinois are closing down rather than comply with a new requirement that says they can no longer receive state money if they turn away same-sex couples as potential foster care and adoptive parents.

"For the nation's Roman Catholic bishops, the outcome is a prime example of what they see as an escalating campaign by the government to trample on their religious freedom while expanding the rights of gay people. The idea that religious Americans are now the victims of government-backed persecution is now a frequent theme not just for Catholic bishops, but also for Republican presidential candidates and conservative evangelicals.


"The Illinois experience indicates that the bishops face formidable opponents who also claim to have justice and the Constitution on their side. They include not only gay rights advocates, but also many religious believers and churches that support gay equality (some Catholic legislators among them). They frame the issue as a matter of civil rights, saying that Catholic Charities was using taxpayer money to discriminate against same-sex couples."

Interesting contrast with the Missouri Synod Lutherans:

"Taking a completely different tack was the agency affiliated with the conservative Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, which like the Catholic Church does not sanction same-sex relationships. Gene Svebakken, president and chief executive of the agency, Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois, visited all seven pastoral conferences in his state and explained that the best option was to compromise and continue caring for the children.

"'We’ve been around 140 years, and if we didn’t follow the law we'd go out of business,' Mr. Svebakken said. “We believe its God- pleasing to serve these kids, and we know we do a good job.'"

Simple solution -- if you don't like the rules, don't take the money.

JCF said...

Wow, I would have expected the Missouri Synod Lutherans to simply refuse govt $. Interesting.