Reconciling science, faith

Special to The TelegraphOctober 18, 2012 

My wife and I visited our son and his wife in your beautiful county the first week of October. We found Georgians to be friendly and very courteous, attributes we especially appreciate in our old age.

As a sincere seeker of the divine (in my youth I wanted to be a monk) as well as a decades-long student of environmental science, I was disappointed by the statements a congressman from your area made to his church members recently -- that the Earth is 6,000 years old and the universe was created in six days.

I have insufficient space here to offer a cogent rebuttal to the congressman’s statements. I know that many sincere Christians, people of good character, believe those two statements as well as others that are in contradiction to the established findings of science -- in particular, the evolution of humans from “lower” species and the oncoming tragedy of human-caused global warming.

Simply to be vaguely familiar with general findings of science is insufficient for citizens to make good choices based on fact. While only a few of us have the aptitude and commitment to be research scientists, almost everyone has the ability to understand the many responsible books written by respected scientists for the average reader. In these, the reader will find the cogent arguments I wish I had space for here: how careful research scientists are, how committed they are to what is true, how high their level of integrity is.

Religion has comforted uncounted billions of human beings throughout the ages. I can tell you from personal experience that acquiring the knowledge of science I refer to may disturb that comfort, deeply. But it has not destroyed my faith, and I still love my Bible -- it commands me to love, but also to put away my childishness. Accepting scientific fact has also re-invigorated my search for a new understanding of a creation full of marvels, of a Creator who is the author of love and who pulls me towards a new understanding.

The great issue facing the world in this century is to reach an accommodation between the treasured traditions of religious experience and the incontrovertible findings of science. Failing such accommodation, we cannot make the best choices for our future.

Hanu Xangav is a resident of King City, Ore.

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