What I Wrote This Week @UrbanFaith: August 27-September 7

Hitchhiker, NYC

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Religion + Life with Elaine H. Ecklund, Part 6: Putting It All Together @TheHighCalling

Retreat, Mt. Bethel, Pa

Our five-part series on the work of Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow Elaine Howard Ecklund focused on her research into what scientists really think about religion. It’s been a compelling and fascinating series.

In part one of the series, we introduced Ecklund and her work on this topic. We learned that she has also investigated women’s presence in physics, feminist women in the Catholic church, how pediatricians and pediatric oncologists grapple with religion, how new immigrants bring change to Christian churches in America, and how religion shapes the political engagement of immigrant communities.  …

Read the whole summary at The High Calling.

Religion + Life with Elaine H. Ecklund, Part 5: International Attitudes @TheHighCalling

Retreat, Mt. Bethel, Pa

In her book Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think, Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow Elaine Howard Ecklund focused exclusively on the views of American scientists at elite universities.  Now, with a grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation, Ecklund will spend the next three years exploring how scientists view religion and how religion influences scientists in different national and cultural contexts. She says her Religion Among Scientists in International Context study is the first of its kind, and she’ll work on it in conjunction with two colleagues, Kirstin Matthews and Steven Lewis.

“With seemingly constant developments in the areas of science and religion, these two subjects have taken an important role on the global stage,” Ecklund said. “Our team can think of no better way to discover how the international science community negotiates religion than to go straight to the source and study scientists themselves.”

The notion that science is incompatible with religion and culpable for secularization is a common one, Ecklund explained. It causes tension “on a global scale as scholars argue that religion hinders the progress and acceptance of science in the United States, Europe, and parts of Asia.” …

Read the whole article at The High Calling.

Religion + Life with Elaine H. Ecklund, Part 4: Worshiping Science @TheHighCalling

Retreat, Mt. Bethel, Pa

“There are generally two sides to every lovers’ quarrel and this is true in the argument between theology, once known as the “Queen of the Sciences,” and modern science, now the undisputed king. In two previous articles about Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow Elaine Howard Ecklund’s book Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think, we looked at what people of faith sometimes contribute to the impasse. In this article, we’ll briefly consider what role scientists play. The scientists themselves provide clues.

Whether they were Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu, believing scientists told Ecklund that they disapproved of an ‘extreme form of scientism that sees science as the only way of gaining access to truth or reality in the world.’

Science, for example, doesn’t provide a rational reason to care for students, they told her, and it doesn’t provide a framework for knowing what to do with their science or how to evaluate its ethics and impact on the world. …”

Read the whole introduction at The High Calling.

Religion + Life with Elaine H. Ecklund, Part 3: Myth Busting @TheHighCalling

Retreat, Mt. Bethel, Pa

Would it surprise you to learn that only two percent of scientists are evangelical, or are willing to identify as such?

This is what Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow Elaine Howard Ecklund found when she surveyed approximately 1700 natural and social scientists at top U.S. research universities and then conducted in-depth interviews with 275 of the survey respondents.

“In the interview portion, it would sometimes come out that folks had beliefs that would be considered evangelical, such as belief in the efficacy of the resurrection and the authority of scripture, but on the survey they would not identify as evangelical when I asked if they identify with a specific religious label,” Ecklund told The High Calling.

She attributes their hesitancy to the “fraught relationship” evangelicalism has had with politics and science in the public sphere.

“It’s very difficult for scientists to align with a specific faith community when they feel it takes a negative stance towards scientific research,” she said. “Those who are not people of faith often have never seen a person of faith who is a committed Christian and an evolutionist, for example. I don’t think that position is very widely talked about, and so it is difficult for scientists to see how it could be a possibility.” …

Read the rest at The High Calling.