Science-based Religion Blog

Science and religion are not intrinsic enemies. Science strives for revelation. It is the revelation of the universe as we find it. The current picture of the universe is in perfect harmony with many religious perspectives and in stark contrast to others. This blog intends to explore these harmonies and conflicts of Science and Religion. Keep an open mind and a gentle heart please.

Location: Richmond, Virginia, United States

My family background is third generation German-American. I was the younger of two sons. My father was an English professor who had also served a Protestant minister and missionary to China. My mother was a nurse and social worker. I went to Purdue University, where I earned a B.S. degree in the Honors Physics program. I got a masters degree in Physics from the University of Southern California and also a masters and Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics from the USC school of religion. I have worked as a teacher and as an IT professional. I am married, with no children but two cats.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I'm Back

I have not posted at this blog for a while because I've been focused on building a business and working several part-time jobs. One of those was teaching a world religion class at a nearby university. It was very interesting to see how college students today are thinking about religion, what they know and don't know about other religions, and how they are affected by this knowledge.

I did not get to spend time spinning out my thoughts on science and religion with the classes, but I did stress that the approach to learning about religions was essentially scientific; that is, we would focus on things that we could objectively identify about other religions without passing judgment about the truths any religion professes. This avoided confrontations but it also taught important truths about religion as a human phenomenon. The world religions are impressive for their depth of history, complexity, and sophistication.

Science has not been around so long (at least the modern incarnation of it). But science has provided humankind more reliable information about the nature of the universe than all religions put together. This does not mean religions are wrong-headed, only that they are not designed to investigation the way the universe is. Religions are designed (I would argue by evolution) to interpret the significance of what is known (or believed) about our place in the cosmos.

Teaching these religions has underlined for me the importance of each religion entering into a dialogue with science to bring the interpretations of the universe up to date, to illumine or place not in the universe people thought we lived in two thousand years ago, but the universe we know we inhabit today.

Now that I’m done teaching for a while, things are slowing down a bit, so I want to get back to posting at this blog. Please leave comments and let me know what you think about these ideas. Thanks.


Blogger artiex said...

Dear Lanny: I share some of your outlook and backgound, having gottne futehr along with a PhD in Physics and Applied Math, but nothing like the equivalent level of study in Religion. Yet I have spent some time learning about and becoming a practicing Christian, a Presbyterian, and recently took a wonderful course at San Franciisco State University on the Philosophy of Religion. One of the more interesting texts for that course was the "Varieties of Religious Exprience" by William James. His examples were carefully catalogued and very expressive of the full range of religious experience. My wife has studied Buddhism in its many forms so I have been given a strong counterpoint between that at the Abrahamic religions. At the same time science, as you point out, has developed an enourmous amount of information about our universe and its possible origin. Such data, for me at least, expands the scope of religion, as opposed to relegating it to a lesser sphere, since now the reach of some supernatural design goes far beyond our little planet and anything one might conceive as a rigid measure of time. Steven Weinberg speaks to this issue a bit in his "The First Three Minutes - a Modern View of the Origin of the Universe" and more thoroughly in his book on Gravitation and Cosmology, where general relativistic effects are discussed. Well, it is Sunday afternoon and my wife and daughter are waiting on me for dinner (I cook this evening). Perhaps we can carry on a conversation later. yours,
Bob Taussig in San Francisco

3:34 PM  

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