Churches Engaging with Science

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© Greg Balco (International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration)

Joanne is studying the mighty Thwaites glacier in Antarctica. She drills down through the ice, collecting rock samples from below it for laboratory analysis. Her team will run tests that tell them when the rocks were last exposed to daylight, providing some clues about how the ice sheet has expanded and contracted over the past millennia. Ultimately they hope to gather enough data to be able to predict how glaciers like Thwaites might respond to current and future climate conditions, and the impact they may have on sea level over the coming decades.

Science is all about gathering evidence for physical phenomena by making measurements and observations. Looking at these data, scientists can develop general principles about the way things are, often describing them mathematically. In this way we have learned that glaciers shape landscapes, that water is made out of hydrogen and oxygen, and that energy and mass are interchangeable (described by the famous equation e=mc2).

Science can support our theology, reminding us how wonderful the creator must be to make such amazing things. We can also give theological reasons for doing science. Continue reading

Book Preview: Wild Advent – Breathe Like a Baby Dragon

Landscape
© Jack Corn, Wikimedia

This is surely something that nobody ever grows out of? I can remember as a child, walking to school on a frosty winter morning, and being thrilled at how I could puff out clouds. If you were to pass me in the street as I dash back from the school run, or run up the high street to my choir on a Wednesday evening, you may well spot me still puffing out clouds as I go. In my head, I’m still a baby dragon. I never did quite graduate to breathing fire, but breathing out clouds of smoke (or water vapour) is still almost a superpower, I reckon. Continue reading

Guest post: Science as Doxology Distilled

dna- praise worship 2789567_1280 Gordon Johnson copy
© Gordon Johnson, Pixabay

My family were not at all religious—they were, in fact, dedicated communists and militant materialistic atheists. As a young atheist myself, I studied biochemistry and found myself intellectually and emotionally drawn to the rational beauty and basic order of science.

But the more I studied biology and the other sciences, the more I began questioning my strict atheism. The world that I encountered seemed neither rational nor completely understandable by the application of scientific explanations. Continue reading

Guest Post – Psychology of Religion: Love the Lord your God with all your mind

brain-2062057_1280ElisaRiva pixabay copy
© ElisaRiva, pixabay

When asked which was the greatest of the commandments, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22.37). Mark’s and Luke’s accounts (Mark 12.30; Luke 10.27) also include “and with all your strength.” Part of loving God with our minds is, at least for me, learning more about our minds. This includes learning about how our minds conceive of God, how we can develop habits of mind that might bring us closer to God, and how worship shapes our attitudes and thinking. These are precisely the sorts of things that are studied by psychologists of religion. Continue reading

Wild Advent: Watch a Murmuration

murmuration starlings Dan Dzurisin flickr cc2 crop
© Dan Dzurisin, flickr, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

The flocks of starlings over the winter create one of the most impressive spectacles of nature seen in the UK. From being a noisy, chaotic, chattering muddle, when it’s dusk, they gather in great numbers to roost. Moving as one, they take to the air, forming a pattern that swirls and shifts in the sky before suddenly all dropping back down to the land. Continue reading

Litter: a fresh perspective on life under the leaves

Autumn leaves
© Ruth M. Bancewicz

Next time you take a walk through a forest, sit down on the fallen leaves, rustle a hole in the top layer, breathe deeply, and take in the aroma of fresh earth. Sterilised soil smells somehow wrong to our noses –  it lacks the homey feel of childhood dens and freshly ploughed fields. But on productive land, like an ancient forest or well-tended farm, it smells right. Our noses know what to look for – the rich earthy scent of microbial decomposition. Continue reading

Wild Lent: Discovering God Through Creation

sky-panorama-with-clouds-1479164-1598x485 Philippe Ramakers freeimages
© Philippe Ramakers, freeimages

Cloud watching

I love the sky, how it’s always moving and changing. Everyone has access to a little bit of sky, and no matter how messy and chaotic our lives can get on the ground the clouds blow past regardless Continue reading