In this Lent course – apart form having the chance to get excited about science again – I am hoping that we can see how faith has been challenged by science – but also enriched by it, as we are forced to look again at how we understand our faith and particularly the bible.
For me, this means accepting that both science and faith are trying to find out the truth, and that both do this by suggesting ideas and theories which are tested against observations, experiences, experiments. The models – scientific or theological are not the truth – they are the nearest we can get to the truth at the moment.
I would just like to say that the way we understand scientific truth, and scientific writing – which is very literal – is quite a modern idea – 3-400 years old. Before that – right back to the writers of the bible – people used story, metaphor, allegory to edge towards the truth.
I offer these evenings not so much for us to debate whether we should read the bible literally or not. For me – we are freed from that attempt by the science I am sharing. I hope we might look instead for truths we recognise in these bible passages – because they chime with our experiences.
I would like to share some words of Alan Bennett – written about reading in general – but I think very apt.
“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”