Not all is doom and gloom in the antipodean realm. Yesterday I attended a
meeting of the University science - religion network at St Marks college
(Anglican) here in Canberra. This is a new organisation designed to link
people interested in science and religion at university (scientists,
philosophers, historians, etc.) with theologians at seminaries and
theological colleges. We plan to have a general conference at Easter 2000.
The Australian Theological Forum will have a science and religion conference
in Adelaide during January 2000, the theme will be "intelligence". The
conference will probably be at Luther seminary.
I am involved with a group called ISCAST (Institute for the Study of
Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology). Answers in Genesis gave
us a lot of free publicity recently in their prayer news by attacking us as
"churchian allies" of sceptics! We ran a conference at Moore College in
Sydney in 1997 with Robert Russell and will have one at the Bible College of
Victoria in July of this year on reconciling biology and Theology. The
keynote speakers will be R.J. Berry and Caroline Berry. ISCAST also offers
a science and faith course through Ridley College in Melbourne (Anglican)
and has run workshops for teachers and school chaplains. We also had
distinguished speakers, including John Bryant, John Houghton, Gareth Jones,
John Polkinghorne, and Colin Russell. John Polkinghorne in particular has
proved very popular and commands a wide audience at university faculties.
We have had some success it getting these speakers on radio and TV. ISCAST
also has good relationships with parachurch organisations such as Christian
Medical and Dental Fellowship, the Fellowship of Evangelical Students,
Scripture Union, and the Counsel for Christian Education in Schools.
To cut a long story short, main stream colleges in Australia are generally
very open to informed discussion on science-faith issues, including
theological, exegetical and ethical questions. This interest is growing
fast. The more hard-line fundamentalist colleges are a different story, but
we are working on them.
It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness
Adam Crowl wrote:
> Hi ASA,
> Another personal tale of woe. Why is science so badly ignored in
> seminaries? "No relevance" in this day and age? Come on!
> >Your story speaks volumes of the true problem we face as Christian
> >scientists. Not only are our views rejected by scientists because they
> >are based in part on Christian beliefs but they are rejected by
> >Christians because they are based in part on science that conflicts
> >what they have been taught to believe. Public schools will not teach
> >the children about intelligent design or theistic evolution and the
> >church will not teach them these things because they conflict with the
> >standard YEC 144-hour creation.
> [snipped, a rather disturbing story to add to the others - rejection and
> misunderstanding. What's wrong with this picture?]
> >So... what are the seminaries teaching? Do they discuss Theistic
> >Evolution / Intelligent Design? Are these views being presented to our
> >churches? They aren't at my church... but I am trying to work up the
> >nerve and resources needed to present it to my Pastor. What do other
> >ASA members find at their churches?
> I went to an AOG Church for some time and eventually left because of a
> yelling Pastor [why does preaching have to be loud?] The previous Pastor
> wasn't just YEC, but also a geocentrist! I was in the youth group at the
> time and we had a visit from the local version of ICR, the Creation
> Science Foundation. The most disturbing thing about the encounter was
> just how willing the kids were to take in what they were told
> uncritically. Aussie kids are normally quite non-conformist, but this
> they just gulped down.
> Sad but true...