List of Resources on Science and Religion
For the Alabama - West Florida United Methodist 2014 Annual Conference
A Joint Project of the AWF Conference Board of Church and Society
Faculty from Religion and Science at Huntingdon College
The Alabama - West Florida United Methodist 2013 Annual Conference requested that the Conference Board of Church and Society partner with members of the religion and science faculty at Huntingdon College to produce a list of resources that could be helpful to individuals and churches in exploring the relationship between faith and science. The group (see a list at the bottom) that formed to carry out this Conference request produced this list and a document on current United Methodist doctrine on religion and science (see the document in the Board of Church and Society Report in the 2014 Brochure of Reports). Both products can also be viewed, printed, and downloaded at the Huntingdon College Library website, along with a more expansive bibliography.
The website link is http://libguides.huntingdon.edu/ReligionandScience.
Huntingdon College and its library have graciously made this available to all United Methodists in the Conference.
There are comments about the works in the list below. These were made by the reviewers to give readers ideas about the type and scope of these suggestions. The works are listed in the order of preference given to each by the reviewers – works listed by multiple reviewers are first.
1. Bryan, R. Lawson. Pursuing Science, Finding Faith. Montgomery, AL: First United Methodist Church, 2012. Dr. Lawson Bryan offers an accessible introduction to the topic, from the perspective of a pastor. It is recommended for the beginning student on the subject.
2. Collins, Francis S. The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence For Belief. New York: Free Press, 2006.
Collins heads up the human genome project. From the perspective of science, Francis Collins offers an introduction to the manner in which scientists (or the scientifically minded) may consider and participate in the life of faith. Formerly an atheist, he now writes convincingly of the interface of faith and scientific research.
Does science necessarily undermine faith in God? Or could it actually support faith? Beyond the flashpoint debates over the teaching of evolution, or stem-cell research, most of us struggle with contradictions concerning life's ultimate question. We know that accidents happen, but we believe we are on earth for a reason. Until now, most scientists have argued that science and faith occupy distinct arenas. Francis Collins, a former atheist as a science student who converted to faith as he became a doctor, is about to change that. Collins's faith in God has been confirmed and enhanced by the revolutionary discoveries in biology that he has helped to oversee. He has absorbed the arguments for atheism of many scientists and pundits, and he can refute them. Darwinian evolution occurs, yet, as he explains, it cannot fully explain human nature -- evolution can and must be directed by God. He offers an inspiring tour of the human genome to show the miraculous nature of God's instruction book. Sure to be compared with C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity, this is a stunning document, whether you are a believer, a seeker, or an atheist.
From the perspective of science, Francis Collins offers an introduction to the manner in which scientists (or the scientifically minded) may consider and participate in the life of faith.
3. Hamilton, Adam. Several short articles by Rev. Adam Hamilton provide accessible points of entry to the topic of faith and science. Hamilton’s work is perhaps best read as an invitation to a conversation, written informally and from the perspective of a pastor. For the beginning student, further study beyond Hamilton may be necessary to tease out some of the more complex scriptural/theological issues alluded to in his work.
a. Adam Hamilton, “The Galileo Affair,” in Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White: Thoughts on Religion, Morality, and Politics (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008), 73-78.
b. Adam Hamilton, “Apes, Evolution, Adam and Eve,” in Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White: Thoughts on Religion, Morality, and Politics (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008), 79-88.
c. Adam Hamilton, “Creation and Evolution in the Public Schools”, in Confronting the Controversies: Biblical Perspectives on Tough Issues (Rev. ed.; Nashville: Abingdon, 2005), 39-56.
d. Adam Hamilton, “Christians, Science, and Politics” in When Christians Get It Wrong (Rev. ed.; Nashville: Abingdon, 2013), 21-36.
4. Barbour, Ian. Ethics in an Age of Technology. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993. Barbour is working to address a range of serious issues that might not have obvious answers. Fundamentally, science, a way of interpreting the world, does not provide us with ethical guidelines. However, we have a desperate need for such guidelines. The question becomes one of how to find them.
5. Barbour, Ian G. When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers or Partners. San Francisco: Harper, 2000. An excellent book, illustrating different ways science and faith can interact with each other in a series of case studies, generally considering interactions of conflict, independence, dialog, and integration. Barbour is in many ways the “dean” of those who write on issues of science and faith. For years his book, Issues in Science and Religion could be found in numerous college classrooms. In the book cited here, Barbour proposes a paradigm of ways in which science and religious faith meet and converse. The focus of the book is largely on the conversation between science and Christian tradition.
6. Barbour, Ian. Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues. New York: HarperCollins, 1997. Taking a scholarly approach to the issue of faith and science, Ian Barbour’s work is among the best on the topic. Barbour’s work is broad in scope yet highly detailed. The serious student will find this book intellectually rigorous.
7. Polkinghorne, John. Belief in God in an Age of Science. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. Polkinghorne is a theoretical physicist who answered the call to ministry and became a priest in the Church of England. He is as a good a theologian as he is a physicist. This book has two things going for it: 1) it is accessible, 2) it is short.
8. Polkinghorne, John. The Polkinghorne Reader. West Conshohocken, Pa.: SPCK/Templeton Press, 2010. The reader serves as a nice sampler of materials from Polkinghorne.
9. McGrath, Alister E. Surprised by Meaning: Science, Faith, and How We Make Sense of Things. Louisville, KY: WJK Press, 2011. A wonderful overview of the issues surrounding science and religion in a general and historic sense without evolution/creationism quite so central to the conversation.
McGrath follows here in the footsteps of C. S. Lewis. His work offers an apology for Christian faith, especially in response to the “new atheism.”Like Lewis, McGrath writes clearly and is accessible to large audiences.
10. Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Creation and Fall. New York: Macmillan, 1959. A theologically responsible resource on the doctrine of creation.
11. Crysdale, Cynthia and Neil Ormerod. Creator God, Evolving World. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013. Crysdale was the Stallworth Lecturer at Huntingdon College in 2013. Her book, written along with the Australian Neil Ormerod, presents sustained argument for incorporating the insights of Bernard Lonergan into thinking about creation and our place in the universe. The authors suggest that Lonergan’s notion of “emergent probability” provides a good response to those who argue that evolution is based on random mutations that display no obvious purpose.
12. de Chardin, Pierre Teilhard. The Phenomenon of Man. San Francisco: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2008. A Jesuit priest, de Chardin also worked as a paleontologist who embraced evolutionary theory and sought religious inspiration from its insights. His theological insights come across as too speculative for many, but to others he offers a vision of hope in the face of impending annihilation through atomic holocaust or ecological catastrophe.
13. Dixon, Thomas Dixon. Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. From a scholarly perspective, Thomas Dixon’s work is to be recommended. Accessibly short, this Very Short Introduction by Oxford University Press gives the serious student a beginning foothold into the complexities on both sides of the topic.
14. Haught, John F. God and the New Atheism. Louisville, KY: WJK Press. 2008. Haught is a Roman Catholic theologian who seeks to respond to the champions of the “new atheism” such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchins. His writing is clear, and concise. This particular book has a distinct advantage in its brevity. It can be read in an afternoon, but digesting its contents will take a longer time.
15. Peacocke, A. R. Creation and the World of Science 2nd. ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. This book comprises Peacocke’s Brampton Lectures given in 1978. It is difficult reading, but it makes a sustained case that Christian theology is compatible with modern biology. Peacocke's book won the 2001 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.
16. Peterson, Eugene. “Christ Plays in Creation”, in Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. Grand Rapids, Mich.:Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005.
17. Raymo, Chet. Skeptics and True Believers: The Exhilarating Connection Between Science and Religion. New York: Walker and Company, 1998. Raymo does a very creditable job of explaining some of the differences in the ways in which we see and understand the world, finding distinctions in patterns of understanding. The book is subtitled “The exhilarating connection…”, at which it falls miserably short. Raymo wraps up the book with a discussion of mysticism, and how it can serve as a connection between science and religion.
The Workgroup for the List of Resources on Science and Religion:
From Huntingdon College, Jason Borders, R. Lawson Bryan, Frank Buckner, Erastus C. Dudley, and Eric A. Kidwell.
From the Board of Church and Society: Nathan Attwood, Brenda Boman, Sonny Dawsey, Harry Hodges, Susan Hunt, and Barbara Webber.
Attwood, Borders, Buckner, and Dudley submitted bibliographies; Hodges compiled the list and edited it from these four lists. Prof. Kidwell created the Huntingdon Library website.
The other members of the Board who reviewed and approved the document on doctrine and the list of resources: Khristen Carlson, Charlotte Hobson, Zan Jones, Patricia Luna, Jerry Maygarden, and Cheryl Mothershed.