Seminary presents exploration of science and faith
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This article was published 17/03/2022 (450 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WHY do some Christians, especially some evangelicals, distrust science? Why do they turn to YouTube or social media for information about something like the pandemic? Why are they reluctant to rely on experts?
Those are some of the questions that will be addressed by Josh Reeves, author of the book Redeeming Expertise: Scientific Trust and the Future of the Church at the Providence Seminary Science and Faith Symposium on Saturday.
Reeves, director of the Samford Center for Science and Religion at Samford University, a Christian university in Birmingham, Ala., will speak twice on the topics “Christianity and Science: Where the Problem Lies” and “How to Trust an Expert: Becoming a Wise Consumer of Science.”
In his first presentation, Reeves will talk about the reasons why some Christians distrust science.
One reason is the idea that God gives Christians special knowledge through the Bible and the Holy Spirit — nothing else is needed, he said. Another is a distrust of anything not explicitly Christian or founded on a biblical worldview.
Reeves, who grew up evangelical, understands why many conservative Christians are skeptical about science.
“Some people take the Bible literally, and anything in science that doesn’t support the Bible, like evolution, can be seen as being of the devil, trying to cause believers to lose their faith,” he said.
In the second presentation he will talk about how Christians can find expert advice.
“It’s not about whether we trust an expert, but which one,” he said. “It’s important to verify who we trust.”
People “need to ask critical questions and understand which sources they are using for information so they can tell good information from bad,” he said.
His goal is to help Christians become “better consumers” of scientific information, including about things like COVID-19, and to see science as a part of healthy Christian discernment.
For Christians science and faith can go together, he said, adding the two need each other.
“Without science, theology can turn into superstition. Without theology, science can try to explain too much,” he said.
Other topics that will be addressed at the symposium, titled “In Him All Things Hold Together,” include “God’s Kaleidoscope: Where Faith and Science Meet” and “Living with Science and Faith.”
For Robert Dean, who teaches theology and ethics at Providence Seminary, the symposium is a way for the school to “speak into the pandemic” and other scientific questions and issues.
It’s also a way for people to learn how science works; “what it can and can’t do, and how science advances,” he said.
Like Reeves, Dean knows many evangelicals have been taught “to be distrustful of science.”
The symposium is a way to have a dialogue with people who are skeptical and help pastors navigate divisions in their churches over approaches to the pandemic, he said.
Attendance at the online event is free; people can register at http://wfp.to/Q8s.
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John Longhurst has been writing for Winnipeg's faith pages since 2003. He also writes for Religion News Service in the U.S., and blogs about the media, marketing and communications at Making the News.
The Free Press acknowledges the financial support it receives from members of the city’s faith community, which makes our coverage of religion possible.