It seems in the science/faith or science/spirituality discussion there are plenty of people who can talk knowledgably about one of the two extremes: science or faith, but not so many who want to discuss that ground in the middle. We listened to a talk by a leading Christian geneticist who really knew his stuff about the history of evolution as recorded in our genes. He was also pretty good at standard Christian doctrine, clearly having read his Bible well, no doubt along with numerous commentaries and associated texts. The interesting part of the talk was when everyone in the audience landed their questions right in the middle of these two fields. It was clear that our speaker felt less comfortable there, but in a room full of experts in either of the two fields of science and theology, so did everyone else.
So who is trying to help us map out this middle ground? Who is brave enough to spend their time on the fringes? Is it a dangerous place to be, a mere slip and slide into heresy or is it the new frontier, with scores of interested souls waiting to be engaged?
We recently had the opportunity to give some science talks to an audience not trained in either science or faith. The talks were predominantly about science but they also covered where science borders philosophy by looking at the limits of what we know. It was a fascinating experience and one where the audience showed through their questions that they did not fully accept the standard line coming out of the two extremes. It has encouraged us to continue our search for a broad discussion in the middle ground between science and spirituality. Sometimes this may put us at odds with those who hold fast to mainstream science or mainstream religion, but there are lots of souls out there searching for answers and I don’t think it is a good idea to just sit in our bunkers.
What we did learn from delivering our talks was that the questions were genuine and heartfelt, and the questioners sincere in their enquiry. And I don’t think we had to trade any of our hard-won beliefs, we just had to listen and to learn from each other.