Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Importance of Science to Unitarian Universalism

This coming Sunday, I am working with D. to offer a service about how Science is foundational to Unitarian Universalism, another potential Source. He and I have traded ideas back and forth and I will publish at least part of that sermon here on Sunday.

But it's been an interesting journey, mind-stretching for me as I consider the effect Science has had on my thinking patterns and, therefore, on my spiritual journey. D. has put together a visual aid contrasting the methodology of Science with the methodologies of Unitarian Universalism and of traditional western religion, i.e., traditional Christianity, and he will do this part of the sermon.

My part of the sermon will consider what we UUs do with what we know about science as we seek to live out our individual spiritual journeys and the mission of our congregation.

Here's my introduction to the sermon:

During the past church year, here at UUCWI, we’ve been exploring the several Sources of Unitarian Universalism. As a pluralistic, or multi-faith religious tradition, we have several Sources from which we draw wisdom. If you are new to UUism, you’ll find these Sources listed on the back of your O/S. The ones you see there are the official, in-the-bylaws Sources.

But, being the freethinkers that we are, we here on Whidbey Island have added a couple more that we think are foundational to UUism. We have agreed that the Creative Arts are certainly one of our Sources and we considered their importance a couple of weeks ago.

Today we will consider the importance of Science’s influence on UUism. Some might say that our Fifth Source, Humanism, takes care of that little matter, because it mentions Science in its wording.

But D. and I think Science offers more than what the Fifth Source includes, that it is foundational to our thinking patterns, the very patterns that have led us to question supernaturalism and legends that are perhaps true, in a sense, but not factual, not reproducible.

We’re choosing today to offer our thoughts as if we are in a Science classroom of sorts. D. will be the Educator, presenting his thinking and experience as a skilled scientist; he even has a visual aid for you! And I will be the Counselor, the one to whom the student might go as he or she sorts out why it’s important that we study Science and understand how the world works.

So, if you will, Dr. C, we’re listening!

Stay tuned for the rest of the story!


Steve Caldwell said...

Ms. Kitty,

One often overlooked aspect of science is that what we've learned from science indicates that human imagination is really limited when compared to the astonishing things we've discovered about the natural world.

One of my favorite bloggers, Greta Christina, wrote about this recently:

"The things we've discovered about the world through science... they're mind-blowing. They completely eclipse anything our puny human imagination could have come up with on its own.

For just one example: Take atomic physics. Take the fact that everything around us, all the material world, is mostly empty space, a huge yawning gap between the nucleus of the atoms and the electrons whizzing around it. Everything -- not just air, but iron, wood, flesh, bone, the very Earth under our feet -- it's overwhelmingly empty space. This is an idea that we would never in our wildest imaginings have come up with just with our brains. We needed to take a close look at reality to even consider the possibility."

The rest of her blog post can be read here:

ms. kitty said...

I know, ain't it great?

Thanks, Steve.

Mile High Pixie said...

Steve's comments remind me of something I've always felt: understanding science makes it even easier (and, dare I say, funner)to enjoy God's creation. The fact that atoms are mostly space? The next sound you hear is my mind being blown.

Masasa said...

Nicely put Mile High Pixie, and this totally made me smile:
"The fact that atoms are mostly space? The next sound you hear is my mind being blown."

Thanks for posting on this Ms. Kitty, and thanks for both your responses Steve and Mile High.

ms. kitty said...

Yes, the Pixie definitely has a way with words!

Thanks, Masasa.