For much of my life I've been active in my church and active in environmental issues. Often, I was frustrated by folks who seemed to want to speak for me ... loudly. I was told that to be a "good Christian" there were certain things I had to believe and science wasn't one of those things. Conversely, my faith was often questioned by fellow science students. I remember a student giving a presentation in a biology class I was teaching, saying "I'm a Christian, so I don't believe in evolution. But I'm going to tell you about it, because the professor wants me to." That statement certainly livened things up in class!
Lately I've been noticing a change; I've seen science and religion coming together more frequently. This mixing of disciplines is great news. To me, the two have always gone hand-in-hand -- I love studying the complicated world that God created. People of faith are starting to acknowledge that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. They're noticing that "creation care" is also "people care" and that often, the people most impacted by environmental degradation are the poor and powerless. .
Our church is currently working towards a Green Faith Certification, and one of our tasks was to present an education series on environmental issues. Today's class was especially interesting, because we showed a video presentation by Katherine Hayhoe. Dr. Hayhoe is a climate scientist and evangelical Christian. In her presentation, she does a great job of laying out the basics of climate science, as well as the relationship between science and religion. Take 15 minutes and check out this talk:
Dr. Hayhoe isn't the only one out there talking about religion and science -- plenty of organizations are active in "creation care". Green Faith is a non-demominational organization that includes Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, and Islamic statements of faith. The mission of Interfaith Power and Light (IPL) "is to be faithful stewards of Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy." Pope Francis' Encyclical "Care for Our Common Home" made international news last year. We even have local interfaith efforts, such as Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FACS) which recently held a workshop in my town that included local and state elected officials.
Now that we're seeing that faith and science can work well together, we can take the best of both worlds to take on big challenges -- this is great news for the environmental movement! Please share what your local congregation is doing!