If you have school-age children or grandchildren, do you know what they're learning about science and whether that information is in harmony or conflict with your (and their?) faith tradition?
The obvious example: creation stories. But those are far from the only area of science that churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship should be talking about both to youth and adults.
So I was glad to read about a recent conference in Minnesota that addressed this. It bore the obviously whimsical name "Jesus Rode a Dinosaur."
The Religion News Service story to which I've linked you reports this: "More than half (56 percent) of youth surveyed by Science for Youth Ministry said they 'have a lot of questions' about God and science. Meanwhile, the survey of 761 youth leaders, conducted online and in person in 2014, showed 32 percent don’t address science at all in youth group, and just over half teach one to three lessons about it over the course of a year. Nearly 82 percent said when they do talk about science, they have to prepare their own lessons; about 7 percent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the resources that have been published."
In some ways the conference seemed to encourage young people to ask the kind of hard questions that I suggested in my latest book, The Value of Doubt, all of us should ask. As one of the leaders of the Minnesota conference said, God can handle our most difficult questions. And any faith community that doesn't encourage open dialogue about such questions probably has something to hide.
So if you don't know what your kids or grandkids are learning about science in school and/or in their faith communities, it's time to find out. And it's time for you to join the conversation, though you must be willing, in response to questions from kids, to acknowledge that you don't know the answer but are willing to find out.
(The image above today came from here.)
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CURRY LIGHTS UP THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
Did you, too, love the royal wedding sermon over the weekend delivered by Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry? Here is an RNS story unpacking some details about that. And here is the full transcript of his remarks. Finally, here is The New Republic's take on Curry's work at the wedding.