September 2017 Newsletter

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Dear WesleyNexus Colleague:

For decades, John Haught has been one of the leading theologicans advocating for the compatibility of science and religion. His 1995 book, Science & Religion: From Conflict to Conversation, gave a clear and  concise introduction to science and religion to many students and other interested readers.  His books on religion and evolution, such as Deeper Than Darwin: The Prospect for Religion in the Age of Evolution, argue that biological evolution presents an opportunity for faith communities to be enriched by scientific discoveries.  His new book, The New Cosmic Story: Inside Our Awakening Universe, continues that theme.  In it, he presents three generic ways that the cosmos can be interpreted.  The first, archaeonomy, looks to the past to construct the lawful patterns that underlie the world we experience.  This orientation is what drives the scientific enterprise and is embedded in its concepts and methodology. For this view, the universe is a series of physical states where subjectivity, particularity and uniqueness are of little importance.  The aim is to discover the laws and patterns of the world we live in.  The second perspective is that of analogy whereby what is fundamentally real is transcendent, eternal and unchanging.  It is separate from the on-going developments of our evolutionary universe.  Perennial and platonic philosophy as well as various forms of religious fideism view reality in this way.  The third, anticipation, sees things differently.  From this perspective, the universe is incomplete, still evolving with new, novel patterns emerging from what came before.  It is a story that is unique and particular with the ending only vaguely perceived.  Subjectivity and objectivity, interior and exterior, the general and particular, and time and eternity are seen as working together in a cosmic drama filled with surprise. The scientist is as much a part of the drama as is the discoveries of science.  Religions, too, are part of the evolutionary drama not yet fully formed, but waiting for future developments.

This month the articles presented are generally secular in orientation.  Even the one which focuses on
religion (Science is the How, Religion is the Why) is oriented towards the scientific study of religion – not
religion itself.  With Haught’s anticipatory model one can view these writings are part of the broader drama of human participation in the unfolding cosmic drama. They can be seen, using Haught’s words, as contributions to the human “quest for meaning, good, beauty and truth – an extension of the cosmic
story.”  This is what the science-and-religion dialogue tries to do – and needs to do – for as Haught later warns us, “the intellectual credibility – even survival of all religious traditions – depends now on how convincingly they adopt their beliefs and aspirations to a scientifically understood universe whose special extension, temporal scale and creative unfolding were unknown to religion’s founders and main teachers.” 

We continue to appreciate the collaborating groups and sponsors that helped us underwrite expenses for our February live-streamed event, especially The Clergy Letter Project and the Institute for Religion in an Age of Science, but also the several churches and individuals who have sent donations since January 1.  We are now planning for our next Evolution Weekend event on February 11, 2018, and we continue to support the work of curriculum development in the Discovery & Faith project. You can designate support for either of these projects, or leave your contribution undesignated. Over the fall months, we will continue to receive funds for our programs in 2018, so if you can manage a contribution, large or small, it will help us tremendously.   There are online and traditional options for making your tax-deductible donation on our Give page.

Thanks in advance for your support.

God Bless,

Rick, Maynard, and the rest of the
WesleyNexus Board of Directors

Click here for the SEPTEMBER 2017 NEWSLETTER