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February 13 is significant for two reasons. Most importantly to me, it is the anniversary of our pandemonium_213's birth. A noteworthy event; may the stars always shine on the hours of our meeting.

February 13 is also Darwin Sunday. My Episcopalean church in Cleveland always brought in a speaker to talk about the relationship of science and theology on the Sunday nearest to Darwin's birthday. Apparently you see it in a lot of Christian churches. And while the closest I come to organized religion these days resembles a house cell or a book club more than what most people think of when they hear the word church (and so I don't know whether anyone's marking the day in my neighborhood), I still take the occasion to think about the nature of science and faith. That's an important topic to me, though I tend to take the opposite angle than pandemonium_213. It's not a coincidence that the name of my blog is the first half of Augustine's famous slogan, fides quaerens intellectum: faith seeking understanding; faith trying to to understand what it knows.

I hope to make a proper-sized post on all this, because as I think about it I think today's spirituality needs a big helping of what science has on order. More on that later this week, maybe. If I can find the time and energy. But in any event, thinking about it all reminded me of one of the first writings by pandemonium_213 that I ever read. Really, she says it better than I think I will be able to even if I do write the full post:

Inane you call equations, view such regiment askance –
The maths that paint what fuels the sun or destroy with Shiva's dance.
But there is beauty in those numbers, just as elf-patterned and fair
As the myth that drives the Moon upon his chariot of air.


I highly recommend the whole poem - it always gives me food for thought.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
pandemonium_213
Feb. 14th, 2011 11:49 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for the birthday tribute, Marta! Likewise, I have always considered meeting you to be a most noteworthy event. :^)

I love the concept of Darwin Sunday, being myself more in the conciliatory non-overlapping magisteria camp of the late Stephen Jay Gould than counted in the legion of Dawkinsonian fundamentalists. I well remember the scientifically oriented sermons of the minister of the church I attended during my childhood. Rev. Mac, as he was affectionately known, was a brilliant man who had no trouble with evolution nor with the concept of a universe billions of years old. In fact, he was a substitute science teacher at our high school! But wait! The church of my childhood was the United Methodist Church -- a bunch of near-godless socialists if the Tea Party founder is to be believed. No wonder I yam what I yam. ;^)

At any rate, Rev. Mac was a fine representative of what I call the Rational Faithful, which I would also call you, Marta. I may eschew supernatural explanations of our ultimate origins, but that doesn't mean I think there's no place for religion in this world.

I'll be on the road this week at a conference, but hope to see your essay on the subject! Thanks again!

ETA: Have a look at this article: Just in time for Darwin Sunday, Washington Post misses the point.

Edited at 2011-02-14 11:54 am (UTC)
marta_bee
Feb. 14th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
You know, I grew up Methodist but what I jokingly call now "Southern Methodist." As with most denominations the UMC can vary a lot from region to region in its general trends, and even more from church to church. I know I grew up with the occasional outrage at what the national denomination was doing. (Personally, I tended to agree more with the national church, and often thought they didn't go far enough.)

In any event, I think I do need to write out some of my thoughts because my head is fairly swimming with them. I tend to think many of the churches are very bad at what I call animus-nurturing (the old Latin word for soul, which is so much richer than the English word's connotations), and the philosophy I'm studying for my doctoral program is really playing into this. Right now I'm doing a reading list on Anselm and have been very impressed by how he conceived of God as Supreme Truth. I'll hold off for the full post to go into that, but basically it means that if the church's teaching contradicted our senses, then as like as not the church's teachings were what was wrong.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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