Faith and Science Resources
The following quotes have been gleaned from the reading done by the members of the ELCA Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology. Some, due to their length, do not appear as a "Quote of the Week" but are offered here for your reading pleasure.
If you know of a good quotation to add to this list and to be used on the FST home page's Quote of the Week, please let us know by contacting Victor Thasiah!
True religion is real living; living with all one's soul, with all one's goodness and righteousness.
Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
Much of the conflict between science and religion [in the time of Galileo] turns out to have been a conflict between new science and the sanctified science of the previous generation.
John Hedley Brooke
We don't know how large a proportion of the significant evidence about the universe is excluded by science. Perhaps hardly any. Perhaps so great a proportion that any body of knowledge which excludes it is hardly more than a caricature. Perhaps something in between — so that science finds truth but not the whole truth.
When the solution is simple, God is answering.
I have always thought it curious that, while most scientists claim to eschew religion, it actually dominates their thoughts more than it does the clergy.
What one must not do is to rule out the supernatural as the one impossible explanation.
Science tells us how the heavens go. Religion tells us how to go to heaven.
I want to know God's thoughts … the rest are details.
It ill becomes any of us to take the attitude that all evidence for God is false evidence, beneath consideration, simply by virtue of its being evidence for God, or even by virtue of its being outside the purview of science.
I believe in the [ancient] covenant. It is true that we emerged in the universe by chance, but the idea of chance is itself only a cover for our ignorance. I do not feel like an alien in this universe. The more I examine the universe and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming.
Augustine said that we were all born into the world of “common grace” [i.e., available to all]. Before one is baptized, or even if one never is, such grace meets one in God's creation. There is grace in the pear tree that blooms and blushes. There is common grace in the sea (that massive cleanliness which we are proceeding to corrupt), in the fact that there was, before we laid hands on it, clean air. Our task is to appreciate that grace.
Talking through tough social issues — such as cloning — as Lutherans, as Christians, as church, means respectful, yet zealous dialogue rooted in shared faith. God is active in all realms of life - the scientific, the social, the political. God cares for creation, orders society, seeks justice, and draws us out of our individual lives to engage the world.
On the first page of the Bible there is an instance of how literalism is but an invitation to transcend the image to which literalism points. That first page is not geology, biology or paleontology; it is high religion. For there we are told who we are in terms of our constititutive text. And if we could understand that, we would worrying about whether the antelopes or the cantaloupes came in a certain order.
We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.
The Lord God is subtle, but malicious he is not.
God does not play dice.
Stop telling God what he can do.
In a chaotic universe, God fits naturally into the role of riverboat gambler.
A completed book exists in its entirety, although we humans read it in a time sequence from the beginning to the end. Just as an author does not write the first chapter, and then leave the others to write themselves, So God's creativity is not to seem as uniquely confined to, or even especially invested in, the event of the Big Bang. Rather his creativity has been seen as permeating equally all space and all time: his role as Creator and Sustainer merge.
The Senegalese conservationist Baba Dioum can summarize: “In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”
Theology differs from science in many respects, because of its different subject matter, a personal God who cannot be put to the test in the way that the impersonal physical world can be subjected to experimental enquiry. Yet science and theology have this in common, that each can be, and should be defended as being investigations of what is, the search for increasing verisimilitude in our understanding of reality.
Since as the Creation is, so is the Creator also magnified, we may conclude in consequence of an infinity, and an infinite all-active power, that as the visible creation is supposed to be full of sidereal systems and planetary worlds, so … the endless immensity is an unlimited plenum of creations, not unlike the known universe.
Natural history is not taught in seminary. This is curious, as most people in pastoral ministry are about 567 times more likely to be asked about cosmology or sub-nuclear physics or human biology or evolution than they are to be asked about irregular Greek verbs or the danger of the patripassionist heresy. If we monotheists are going to go around claiming that our “God made the heaven and the earth,” it is not unreasonable to expect us to know something about what that heaven and earth actually are.
[Georg Cantor was the first to prove that there could be a series of infinities; that infinities come in an infinite number of sizes.] Thus Cantor's Absolute is a perfect image for what we experience of God. When I speak of a Big Enough God I am not merely thinking of an Infinite God, but the God of infinities, the Absolute, which either chooses to reveal itself or remains veiled in mystery. Modern mathematics does begin to feel like the language that God talks.
The highest principles for our aspirations and judgments are given to us in the Jewish-Christian religious tradition. It is a very high goal which, with our weak powers, we can reach only very inadequately, but which gives a sure foundation to our aspirations and valuations. If one were to take that goal out of out of its religious form and look merely at its purely human side, one might state it perhaps thus: free and responsible development of the individual, so that he may place his powers freely and gladly in the service of all mankind . . . it is only to the individual that a soul is given. And the high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule, or to impose himself in any other way.
Wilberforce did not believe in either evolution or extinction.
Owen believed in extinction but not evolution.
Lamarck believed in evolution but not extinction.
Darwin believed in evolution and extinction.
All four of them believed in God.
Let us now speak according to natural lights. If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible. . . . We are then incapable of knowing of either what He is or if He is. . . .
It is certain that those who have the living faith in their hearts see at once that all existence is none other than the work of the God whom they adore. But for those in whom this light is extinguished, [if we were to show them our proofs of the existence of God] nothing is more calculated to arouse their contempt. . . .
The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know.
Intelligence makes clear to us the interrelationship of means and ends. But mere thinking cannot give us a sense of the ultimate and fundamental ends. To make clear these fundamental ends and valuations and to set them fast in the emotional life of the individual, seems to me precisely the most important function which religion has to form in the social life of man.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.
The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science. Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear is a dead man. To know that what is impenetrable for us really exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties - this knowledge, this feeling . . . that is the core of the true religious sentiment. In this sense, and in this sense alone, I rank myself among profoundly religious men.