Community Conversation on faith and science: Sharing each journey

March 14, 2014 

I was disappointed at first. I arrived at the Herald expecting to enjoy a spirited discussion of the friction points where scientific discovery and scripture seem to contradict each other, with the Dispute Resolution Center providing a framework that would keep it from turning into yet another exercise in talking past each other. It might have been that, but none of the participants expressed a belief in “creation science” or that scripture offers absolute proof of how and why the universe was created and how humans came to inhabit this planet. In other words, the “other side” didn’t show. At the end of the first evening, several among us suggested that we were done. Everything that this group needed to say about science versus religion had been said, captured on easel paper, categorized, summarized and posted. There was no defense of “creation science” or anyone claiming that the Earth was created in six of our days or that the first humans roamed the planet with dinosaurs. We were urged to come back as scheduled the next evening. Some did, and those of us who did were treated to an extraordinary conversation about personal spiritual journeys. Each was unique, some much more introspective than others, some who remained within the framework of their religious tradition, others who began their journey by rejecting that framework, and still others who had discovered a new path later in life. Each was interesting and intellectually challenging. As for the issue of science vs. religion, I recall a final exam question from a philosophy course with the same title: What is the best response when invited into a discussion of this nature? Answer: Don’t. It turns out that the most valuable part of the Community Conversation on science vs. religion was that we didn’t. And, at least for me, that turned out for the best at that time and in that company. w Kirk Williamson is a frequent participant in Community Conversations. He’s a long-time resident, grandfather of two, and active in community events and issues.

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