The Barton College final public forum ‘Science and Religion in Conversation’ will be held on Tuesday afternoon, May 3rd at 3 PM in Barton College’s Hackney Library. Our discussion this month highlights The Sacred Depths of Nature by Ursula Goodenough.
Though biology at times may seem in conflict with religion, yet the hand of God as envisioned in religion may nowhere seem more spectacular than in Life which may leave one gasping in wonder. This book can awaken the reader to that experience.
After briefly reviewing the earth’s origin, The Sacred Depths of Nature by Ursula Goodenough guides us through an orchard of results and reflections. Goodenough articulates her covenant with Mystery. She uses pithy phrases like “Life has no choice but to evolve”. She reminds us of “…all this complexity and awareness and intent and beauty and … ability to apprehend it,” and that “we are all… creatures who are alive today, equally old, or equally recent “.
The author writes; “death is the price paid to have trees and clams and birds and grasshoppers, and death is the price to have human consciousness, to be aware of all that shimmering awareness and all that love”. Her language is simple and clear, her prose is lucid, at times poetic. There are short quotes from thinkers and scriptures at the close of many chapters. She quotes from the Psalms and Walt Whitman as well as lesser known authors. Goodenough admits her inability to resonate with some traditional beliefs, yet she shows how one can respond religiously to the facts of rigorous science.
One can undergo deep religious experience, even when anchored to science. Traditional religions stress personal conduct in relation to others. Many of them express reverence for the powers and principles of Nature. In the face of the technological assault on the environment, there is a crying need for a planetary ethic. Goodenough states that her agenda “for this book is to outline the foundations for such a planetary ethic, an ethic that would make no claim to supplant existing traditions but would seek to coexist with them, informing our global concerns”. This can be effectively done with the help of the deep understanding that science offers, and the reverential humility toward the natural world that wisdom fosters.
Our monthly meetings have aimed to facilitate the ongoing dialogue between the disciplines of science and religion, one of the most important current areas of debate in terms of understanding the nature of humanity. You may come to just listen or to freely participate in our conversation.
Please join our gathering for the final forum ‘Science and Religion in Conversation’ to be held on Tuesday afternoon, May 3rd at 3 PM.