Published Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Speaker Says Religion, Science Linked
Professor says the two are incomplete in themselves and need each
By Cary McMullen
Ledger Religion Editor
LAKELAND -- Turning to Eastern Christian teachings about God could
provide a means of reconciling science and religion, a religion
professor said in a lecture Tuesday night.
Speaking at the third session of the Florida Center for Science and
Religion's fall lecture series, Creston Davis, assistant professor of
religion at Rollins College in Winter Park, said there is
fundamentalism in science and religion, and both should be rejected.
"We've seen these unbending (religious) claims to absolute truth,
supported by literal readings of Scripture. But also, we hear that
science has all the answers and all the right methods," he told an
audience of about 50 people at College Heights United Methodist
Davis argued that science and religion are incomplete in themselves
and need each other. He said a more "pluralistic" approach is needed
to bring this about.
Western Christianity has usually interpreted the stories in the
biblical book of Genesis to mean that God created the world out of
nothing, but this does not agree logically with science's account of
the origins of the universe. The disagreement could be circumvented
if the material world and human endeavors, including science, were
understood as an expression of God's being, he said.
Davis noted that Eastern Orthodox theology teaches the world was
created out of the overflowing love of the Trinity -the doctrine that
God is one and yet exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
"The cosmos is a gift from God because God made it out of love. If
God is grounded in inclusivity through differences, any discovery is
welcomed," he said.
In response to a question from Waite Willis, professor of religion at
Florida Southern College, Davis acknowledged his argument is
primarily intended for Christians and that scientists might not
accept his position because it is spiritual rather than material.
Yet, Davis said, even science has to concede that its method is not a
strictly material one.
"Even in the ability to understand simple experiments, we have to
draw on language, analogy and metaphor. That's introducing a super-
material element into science," he said.
The Florida Center for Science and Religion was begun in 2004 by two
Florida Southern College faculty members, associate professor of
biology Nancy Morvillo and associate professor of religion Sara
Fletcher Harding. The current lecture series is titled "Our Place in
the Universe: Theological and Scientific Aspects of Cosmology."
The opening lecture in the series was delivered two weeks ago by
Humberto Campins, professor of physics and astronomy at the
University of Central Florida. Last week, Florida Southern physics
professor Mossayeb Jamshid led a program at the school's planetarium.
The lecture series concludes Oct. 3 with a panel discussion between
Campins, Jamshid and Davis at College Heights United Methodist
Church, 942 South Blvd. The panel is free and open to the public.
Cary McMullen can be reached at cary.mcmullen@...