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Groaning of Creation: Chapter 2 “Roads Not Taken” – Part 2

Image result for jesus as perfect man

 

Some interesting conversations today as we finished Chapter 2 of The Groaning of Creation as we discussed whether or not Genesis advocates vegetarianism, whether Jesus was the apex of human evolution or humanity itself, and if the doctrine of the Fall is a necessary and viable concept given the discoveries of science.

Here are our essays.

 

 

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UPDATE: The Groaning of Creation” – Chapter 1 “Introduction”: Part II

 

Image result for skull in desert

Is God Responsible for extinctions that happen throughout nature?  Does he cause them? Is there something good that can come about through the extinction of a species?  Or is it a total waste?

 

Yesterday, we discussed how extinction may not be a total loss, the role of humans in God’s creation, an eschatological ‘need’ for redemption, a response to Ivan Karamazov, and whether or not God played a direct role in the evolution of homo sapiens.

Our response are here.

 

 

 

 

“The Groaning of Creation” – Chapter 1 “Introduction”: Part II

 

Above is a reading from a scene between Ivan (a skeptic) and his religious brother Alyosha from Fydor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov regarding the difficulty of believing in a loving God in the face of the abuse and suffering of innocent children.

 

Though Southgate’s book focuses primarily on the suffering of animals, he uses the illustration above in this chapter to convey his thesis that “[T]he crux of the problem is not the overall system and its overall goodness but the Christian’s struggle with the challenge to the goodness of God posed by specific cases of innocent suffering.”

 

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Masterclass in Neurotheology

NEUROTHEOLOGY Masterclass

hosted by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research  (www.thecir.info)

Sept. 10 – Dec. 10, 2016

 

This advanced interdisciplinary course meets for eight 3-hour Saturday morning sessions over a 3-month period.

 

No background in theology or science is required, but a commitment to reading the notes, which are drawn from Ron Choong’s PhD dissertation, is expected.

 

This inaugural CIR Master-Class will feature Ron Choong’s doctoral work submitted as an interdisciplinary PhD dissertation in 2009 to Princeton Seminary.

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UPDATE: “Confessions” – Book V: Chapters 1 – 7

 

"Augustine Arguing with Faustus in the Presence of their Pupils"

“Augustin Contre Faustus (Augustine Arguing with Faustus in the Presence of their Pupils)”, Bibliotheque Municipale, Avranches, France. The Ms 90 St. (c. 12th century).

 

Last night we went over our essays on Book V: Chapters 1 – 7 which you will find here.  In these chapters, Augustine spends most of his time remembering his encounter with the preeminent Manichean scholar Faustus of Mileve and how it was through that meeting with him that eventually lead him away from Manichaeism.

 

We had an interesting discussion on the education (or lack of) in higher degrees for people in church leadership.  We also discussed whether or not animals or creation in general can worship God, how science and religion could be reconciled, and how science can expose errors in theology.

 

I also came across an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal on a new book about St. Augustine by Robin Lane Fox titled Augustine: Conversions to Confessions that you can check out here.

 

 

Confessions: Book V – Chapters 1 – 7

Uyghur Manichaean clergymen

Uyghur Manichaean clergymen, wall painting from the Khocho ruins, 10th/11th century AD. Located in the Museum für Indische Kunst, Berlin-Dahlem.

 

Book V follows the young Augustine (he was around 29 years old at this time) from Carthage (where he finds his students too rowdy for his liking) to Rome (where he finds them too corrupt) and on to Milan, where he will remain until his conversion.

He spends most of the first half of this book recounting his encounter with Faustus, a Manichee luminary.

Please write on one of the following topics:

 

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Is Religion the Driving Force Behind Human Civilization?

In a brief article in the ‘Opinion‘ section of New Scientist titled “Should We Thank God for Civilization” recently discusses how the current model of how civilizations first developed in human history is being challenged, namely with the discovery of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey.

As the article states:

The answer once seemed clear: food. Farming was more efficient than foraging and so people gravitated towards it. Cities, writing and organised religion soon followed… Yet the people who built them were nomads, not farmers. So the radical suggestion now is that it was not agriculture that drove the revolution, but religion. Some archaeologists oppose this idea, arguing that the ruins could have been domestic buildings, or were once surrounded by dwellings that did not survive. But the ceremony-first model is in the ascendancy, supported by further evidence unearthed in the Levant.

Keep in mind that Göbekli Tepe dates back to around 11,000 BCE.  That in and of itself is amazing.

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“Questioning Darwin” – HBO Documentary

 

This HBO documentary takes a look into the beliefs of creationists and biblical literalists to understand why they so vehemently oppose evolution and Darwinism.  That’s one half of the documentary.

 

The other half looks into the life and beliefs of Charles Darwin, and how so often he is misunderstood.

 

I would’ve liked if they could have interviewed Christians who embraced evolution or had no problems believing in the comparability of  evolution (by natural selection) and Christianity, but they may be in the minority or not as vocal as creationists and evolutionary atheists.

 

This is a huge topic within American culture, society, and religion that gets really heated at times.

 

 

 

 

 

Gravity waves, the multiverse, and God

Galaxy expansion

 

As you may be well aware by now of the monumental discovery announced yesterday with the evidence of gravity waves as predicted by Einstein practically a century ago, it will be interesting how this finding will affect theology, our understanding of God, and creation down the road.

 

One of the implications of this recent finding, other than validating the occurrence of the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago and the rapid expansion of space (faster than the speed of light) within a fraction of a second after the Bang, is that this will most likely further the case for the multiverse theory – that our universe is just one in a whole sea of an infinite number of universes – as predicted by quantum theory.  Universes might pop in and out of existence all the time.  In fact, we might even be living inside a much, much larger universe that cannot be detected by our current technology, something like the omniverse.

 

Such a thought is absolutely mind-boggling and unfathomable to say the least.

 

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Through the Wormhole: Did We Invent God?

 

Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite series to watch on tv that’s on the Science Channel.

 

From time to time, they’ll show episodes concerning God and science.

 

This episode explores the latest research done in psychology and neuroscience about where the origins of human belief in the supernatural may have come from.

 

This episode poses interesting questions, such as:

  • Does God only exist in our minds?
  • Is a belief in God “hardwired” within us?
  • What is required to believe in a God or supernatural entity? Can animals believe or sense the divine? (i.e. at the bare minimum you need a theory of mind as far as we can tell.)
  • Is belief in God just a remnant from our evolutionary past to explain what’s going on in our world?
  • Is it just childish superstition that we haven’t outgrown?
  • Did God create us? Or did we create God?