Faith and Science

I’m in Orlando this week for a seminar we’re putting on with Alister McGrath as the lecturer. We’re filming the whole experience in an insanely-designed soundstage at Disney’s MGM studios, and just being in such a cool place every day is pretty fun. The lectures themselves, and more importantly the interaction that I’ve been able to have with Alister both on and off camera, have been incredible.

The content is basically science, philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, theology, and where we can find a healthy and fruitful convergence of these disciplines. Of course, I’m all about that, so I’m finding myself taking more notes and asking more questions in three days then I did in most whole courses at Stanford.

Best of all, I was able to convince Nick, Jenna, and Justin to come to Orlando, stay at my house, and attend the seminar as well. We are having great times of hanging out at night, chilling in the hot tub (look, a joke!), cooking, maybe a little beering, whatever. It’s meaningful for me to have them here especially today, since it’s one year exactly since I took a hindsightedly fateful flight from Orlando to California, and met up with people there for the first time since graduation. This of course spawned that whole series of discussions on faith and community that lasted months, and culminated in my eventual (and gradual) move back to Palo Alto, which was a decidedly big switch in life trajectories. I’m still in the middle of the fruits of that decision, but I’ve already seen so many wonderful things come of it. I’m only hoping for more, though I have no idea what it might or might not look like.

So, even though I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep due to, ahem, World of Warcraft with my brother, and there’s no doubt lots of things I could complain about in various areas of my life, it would be a supreme travesty to feel anything but a profound sense of gratitude at this moment. That gratitude also conveniently enables me to put aside my perennial worries about the future and girls and so on (mostly girls), at least for a while, and it’s a welcome relief! I can always pick those worries up again when I get tired of being at peace (which will probably be in about 5 minutes…never had much luck with the stuff).

By Jonathan Lipps

Jonathan worked as a programmer in tech startups for several decades, but is also passionate about all kinds of creative pursuits and academic discussion. Jonathan has master’s degrees in philosophy and linguistics, from Stanford and Oxford respectively, and is working on another in theology. An American-Canadian, he lives in Vancouver, BC and has way too many hobbies.

4 replies on “Faith and Science”

I thought of you guys in florida today when i heard President Jimmy Carter being interviewed on the radio while i drove to work. He talked about how he doesn’t like people mixing politics and religion, but then he got into science (saying that bringing religion into science shouldn’t be done). it was interesting and i wihs i had one of you there for commentary. see you saturday!

I’ve sat through enough lectures by now that I know what Dr McGrath would say to Carter: yes, let’s not bring religion into the methodology of the natural sciences. But then of course, let us neither bring atheism into it! (Since it has the same epistemological status, in relation to the sciences, as Christianity). Both are metaphysical worldviews which can make sense of science, i.e., spin science in a certain way, but neither are science’s sole companion.

yay for beering.

If you being any journey of scientific discovery with religious assumptions already taking precedence, it’s not really science in my mind. I’m not of the opinion that any religious belief (atheism included) can be “proven” by science. Also, people who ignore science because they fear it contradicts their religion… really bother and scare me.

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