Science vs. Religion: A Way Forward

January 18, 2007

Way back in November I had entry discussing "science vs. religion", lamenting the growing "evangelism" of science. Since then I've been meaning to followup with a continuing theme of fundamentalism: specifically, agreeing that religious fundamentalism often stands in the way of applying scientific progress to social development and knowledge. I do not argue that with this group of arch-atheists. Perhaps I will come back to that theme another time. But today I want to look at the way forward — agreement on climate change.

In the interfaith movement I have often encountered two distinct approaches: one that focuses on dialogue and understanding and another that focuses on action. Those who focus on action sometimes tell me that dialogue and understanding are their goals, but that they just aren't ready for it yet. So instead they look to action as a way of bringing people together, as an encounter from which individuals can learn to trust and value one another independently of their religious convictions.

This is a good approach for science and religion as a whole to pursue, and I've long felt that climate change is the single best realm of action in which to pursue this building up of trust between these two institutions. Obviously the scientists are behind making dramatic changes in society to forestall even greater climate change, but not so obvious is that Christian evangelicals are doing so as well. And they're starting to come together on this, as described in a Reuters article yesterday, U.S. Scientists, Evangelicals Join Global Warming Fight.

But are the non-evangelicals behind this? And what percentage of evangelical Christians does this represent? These are questions I hope to find answers to, particularly as I am not an Evangelical Christian. I support efforts to ameliorate greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, but that continues to feel divorced from my reality as a religious individual.