January 2019 Inter-Belief Conversation Café
What Is the Relationship Between God and Science?
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul
1671 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105 (View Map)
Does God need science — or just worship? Albert Einstein said, “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” Was he correct? Or is theism, like magic, merely a way to “explain” what our reason cannot now comprehend? Does science undermine belief, bringing science and religion to war? Will miracles still be left once science explains everything — or is “complete explanation” a fallacy of those who have faith in science but do not understand it? If “God” has given us two books—a book of scripture (religion) and a book of nature (reason and science), can the two ever legitimately be in conflict? If not, whose fault is it that they often are?
Are God and magic the same thing scientifically? Philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell once stated that, “The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to go sharper.” What is left of Russell’s wits if Richard Feynman is correct in stating that, “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don’t understand quantum mechanics”? Is quantum mechanics magic? A single electron, atom, or even molecule fired toward two slits goes through BOTH of them to reach its endpoint, colliding with itself along the way. Entanglement means that two photons will act reciprocally even if they become billions of light years apart. Is “God’s” omnipresence and telepathic hearing of prayers quantum mechanical, sci-fi, or fantasy? Is “God” a spirit, a magical being, or a rabbit in a hat? Einstein was flummoxed by his own version of magical spirits — “spooky action at a distance” — and accused quantum physicists for asserting that “God played dice.” (In response to which one of them, Niels Bohr, criticized Einstein for “telling God what to do.”) Does reason’s search for knowledge finally result in discovering it is unknowable? Or will it result in discovering (or inventing) God? Do the religious know this already, or are both theists and scientists wrong?
Is science actually “miraculous”? One definition of “miracle” is “an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to intervention by a divine agency.” Must God violate scientific principles to perform a miracle? But “miracle” also is defined as “an extraordinary or amazing event, product, example, or achievement.” In Rogers & Hammerstein’s The Flower Drum Song, we’re told that a hundred million miracles such as “sun and rain” happen every day. So, are miracles the inexplicably impossible, or the amazing beauty of existence on the only known habitable planet in the Universe? Notwithstanding how the Celts’ equine Goddess Epona might feel about it, how deeply do we want to look our gift horse in the mouth?
Do scientific theories undermine belief in “God”, or are they compatible? Can the Book of Genesis and the Qur’an be reconciled with Darwin’s theory of evolution? If we’re created in the divine image, why are there fossils of ape-like hominids? Do we believe Bible interpreters’ claim that Creation occurred 9,000 years ago or should we believe the astrophysicists’ 13.2 billion year-old Big Bang? Why does ISIS no longer teach the field they invented — mathematics? Are “God” and science going to war, or reconciling (perhaps by reading translations and hadiths differently)? Does attempted reconciliation subordinate to science our “God”, angels and saints, as relics of a superstitious time? Do we end up with lame science and blind religion? Do science and religion occupy different spheres of reality that never connect? Can they have dialogue? Are they in creative tension with one another? Can they integrate as one ultimate truth? And will we care?
On Monday, January 21, 2019 from 7-9 PM at Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul, 1671 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, Inter-belief Conversation Café will ask whether Science and “God” are marrying, living in mutually beneficial tension, or divorcing. Our inter-belief reasoning dialogue’s agreements of open-mindedness, acceptance, curiosity, discovery, sincerity, brevity, and confidentiality may bring unity or reveal how divided we are. But we’ll surely have faith in one thing — treats, generated by the best of science!