Religion: What Scientists Really Think, is a systematic study of what scientists actually think and feel about religion. In the course of her research, Ecklund surveyed nearly 1, scientists and interviewed of them. Ecklund concluded that "Much of what we believe about the faith lives of elite scientists is wrong. While more atheistic than the rest of the U.

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And welcoming scientists and scientific ideas into our congregations could help our youth, says a researcher who has studied the issue. Tuesday, October 16, When people think of science and faith, they think of conflict: school board wars over evolution, the Big Bang vs. Genesis, medical treatment vs. Ecklund is the Herbert S. Ecklund received a Ph.

The following is an edited transcript. Q: What is the conflict paradigm? I think it means two kinds of things. First, a kind of irreconcilable conflict between religious ideas and scientific ideas -- [the notion that] religion is about faith and belief, ephemeral things, and science is about reason and things you can see and test.

That kind of framing is pretty pervasive. It shows up in the media. It shows up in science classrooms sometimes. It shows up in other kinds of classrooms in the university more broadly. The other kind of conflict that I see often in my research is the kind of conflict that shows up as political conflict. There are very real people who are religious people and there are very real people who are scientists, and sometimes those communities overlap. Certainly, there are religious scientists, and they are in congregations, and that means there are also religious people in science -- in the science community and science institutions -- and sometimes these people groups are in conflict with one another.

A traditional example that we talk a lot about is groups of primarily Christians, but some other groups as well, bringing controversy to school boards about the teaching of evolution and trying to offer alternatives to the teaching of evolution in public schools.

Talk a little bit about what you found in your research. I have two books that might be relevant here. Religion: What Scientists Really Think. About 50 percent of scientists do have some kind of religious perspective. I think this is really helpful for Christian leaders to know, because congregants do have this stereotype of scientists, and I think that these kinds of stereotypes can be somewhat dangerous to acceptance of science.

It can be dangerous to youth -- or their parents -- who might choose not to go into science because they think it will be hostile to their faith beliefs.

Cutting down those kinds of stereotypes, I think, can be helpful from a ministry perspective. A second point that has come out in my research is that atheist scientists are different from what we might think. Hopefully, [learning this] can prevent or tear down some walls to science that some people of faith might have. It can perhaps encourage religious groups of people, particularly underrepresented minorities in the U.

These are groups in our context who are incredibly likely to go to church. Q: Tell us a little more about why this debate or misperception is important for Christians and Christian leaders to address.

Why should science rise to the top? I have three responses. First, we do not want to overly emphasize science in ways that are inappropriate, but research does show that young people often leave congregations because they think that churches are not friendly to conversations about science, are not keeping up with the modern world.

I think we want to make our congregations places that are friendly to all kinds of big questions, and questions of existential crisis and meaning and science are a part of those for many people. I do think also that we want to make our churches places where those in science and science-related occupations feel welcome. And beyond just feeling welcome as people, that they see their work -- I have a project on faith at work with Lilly Endowment Inc.

Science and technology occupations are some of the fastest-growing occupational domains in modern societies, and in the U. Third, I think there are intense issues of justice that we ought to be reflecting on. Science -- through medicine, environmental care, all kinds of things -- can really help us, can be tools for us as Christians, to bring a kind of hope and healing to the world.

So I think we want to foster that kind of reflection in our congregations. Justice can also in turn help us think about equality in science and see our congregations, especially our largely African-American or largely Latino congregations, as real sites where we can foster diversity in science. But what if, for certain communities, those were front-line places? And what if the church leaders themselves were really receptive to this?

What would that kind of partnership look like between congregations and universities to advance science and, from a Christian perspective, help people see science as a possible place where calling and mission can be lived out? Q: When you talk about science, do you mean in general -- a scientific or rational way of looking at the world? We live them as an interface with medicine and a doctor and a particular diagnosis. We live science in terms of our iPhones.

The American public in general is very supportive of science in the abstract, actually. Scientific issues that Christians in particular have problems with tend to be centered around those two theological cornerstones of the faith. So the real issues were those theological issues, rather than the science, and I think that was just really useful to think about in terms of practical ministry.

What could Christian leaders do to address this misperception? And they thought Richard Dawkins is incredibly typical. I think just showing congregants this kind of data is helpful. So if you have a scientist who is also the worship leader in your congregation, for example, this may be a person who is trusted as a fellow congregant, as a fellow person in the pews, and then their science might be made to seem more accessible as well.

People who work with youth in Christian ministries are an incredibly important group of leaders for the future of the church. Some congregations are filled with more highly educated people, are more likely to have people in science and medicine occupations; some congregations less so. What would it mean to give the resources of our congregations to each other? Maybe, as Christians, we want to think outside the box on this issue in particular in terms of a sharing of resources.


Religion vs. Science

Christopher P. Religion vs. Scheitle Reviews and Awards "It is essential reading for all scholars, scientists, and religious people interested in the current relationship between religion and science and the possibilities of where it can go in the future. The size is manageable and the scope broad enough to maintain the interest of the general reader


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And welcoming scientists and scientific ideas into our congregations could help our youth, says a researcher who has studied the issue. Tuesday, October 16, When people think of science and faith, they think of conflict: school board wars over evolution, the Big Bang vs. Genesis, medical treatment vs. Ecklund is the Herbert S.

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