Where do you live, Casey?
That is true. The Roman Catholic church tends to be very pro-science. Just look at the Jesuits! But they don’t allow non-Catholics to receive Holy Communion, while the Episcopal church allows all baptized believers to participate.
Do you live near any universities or colleges? Sometimes if you can find a church where “academics” attend and form part of the leadership, you are more likely to find open mindedness (or at least people who are more well-informed) on some of the more nuanced aspects of Bible interpretation. Or if you live near a city, urban churches can tend to be more diverse and progressive on some of the science issues than suburban or rural churches. I think the flavor of a church depends more on the direction the pastoral staff or other leadership is pushing more than the denominational affiliation. Denominations often have a fairly wide range of views within the tent and at this particular moment in history there are some pretty significant divisions brewing or erupting in many major denominations.
I feel like at least in the US we are at a bit of a crisis point and churches are in the process of aligning and resorting. There are a lot of people asking “where are my people?” on a growing number of issues, not just science and Bible interpretation, but on race, gender, and sexuality/sexual ethics, and it’s not clear how things are going to shake out.
I think a big clue right now about how hospitable a place is to thinking through science and faith is how they are handling the COVID issue. I visited a church last Sunday that required masks, registration for contact tracing, and sitting in socially distanced family groups, and go figure, I felt pretty at home on other things too. If a church is actively protesting mask mandates and has decided the pandemic is over, I can pretty much guarantee we don’t see eye to eye on quite a few other issues either.
this might be true; and it’s a bit scary. I wonder if there is an antidote to this.
Where I live, it is the Anglican Church that is known to have a good relationship between faith and science.
Look what the Atlantic published today:
It’s not my imagination.
That is pretty frightening. So Trump is out-polling Jesus in many Evangelical churches. But of course as a known social justice warrior Jesus’ reputation would have to suffer. Apparently they like their messiah resurrected but not woke. Ghastly.
From the article:
He’s heard of many congregants leaving their church because it didn’t match their politics, he told me, but has never once heard of someone changing their politics because it didn’t match their church’s teaching.
This article nails so much - spot on … I can easily say as one of the cheerleaders for what Wehner is writing.
Here is my challenge: I can also predict how some ‘Trump’ evangelicals might respond to his charge. They would also note his observation that ‘Trump did not appear ex nihilo’, and claim that liberals are and have been doing the same thing. I would not stay in a church that aggressively promoted right-leaning political agendas. And I would further claim that it’s because I can read my bible that I would make such a choice. So am I also prioritizing politics over relationships? I would also claim that my present and long-time church does not aggressively court left-leaning politics as such, but yet any right-leaning critics would beg to differ because our church does pay attention to science and experts, and does check many of the correct boxes and sensitivities that are now written off as “woke”. So they would claim that our church already was merely following after wider popular culture, and had just moved left with it all. I personally don’t find that observation threatening, since I believe truth will still be truth even if it happens to be left or right of where somebody is. And right now I’m finding more epistemic humility and openness to Spiritual and biblical guidance among “my people” where I am than I am seeing among those who have tribalized themselves on the right.
[added edit… I put “my people” in scare quotes for a reason … and would even now strengthen that reason here, to the point of repenting of putting it that way. It wasn’t a fair comparison in many ways as I end up comparing the best of a favored side with the worst of the unfavored side … I do know many strong critics of left agendas who have much more humility to learn than many dogmatists on the left. I do not wish to characterize only one side of that as “my people” but wish to identify with people of Christ everywhere and sit with them at Christ’s feet to learn.]
It is a huge prayer concern for religious community (both school and church) everywhere. We are learning to live with the constant fear.
One more great line from the article:
“Fear and anger should presumably function as alarm systems—and an alarm is not supposed to stay perpetually on,” Harder said.
Yes. And as you probably know, the Anglican church is the U.S. is called the Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Church has a Catechism of Creation it created in 2005, all about the relationship of science and faith. You might find it interesting! It has three main parts:
- Theology of Creation
- Creation and Science
- Caring for Creation
Also, some Anglican/Episcopal clergy are also scientists. The best example is the late John Polkinghorne, but there are others. Check out this article about The Reverend Pamela Conrad, who is the rector of an Episcopal church, and also works for NASA on the Mars Rover Mission!
“ He has not been the target of outward hostility, but he can feel the ground shifting beneath his feet. ”
Thanks for this article. I have a number of gut reactions:
Creeped out — how could this author know about all the conversations we have been having at our house? Have we been bugged?!
Affirmed — well,at least we aren’t alone in this. Other people know what we’re talking about.
Profoundly sad—We aren’t alone in this. it seems to have spread everywhere.
I have felt for a long time that my church of 21 years and the other churches of our family members have just been shifting right out from under our feet.
I value the insights in the article.
Actually… I’ve had several friends point out there are important differences. Churches in the US that still use the “Episcopal” label are markedly different from ACNA churches. At least, this is what I’ve been told. When I search for “Episcopal” churches in my area vs. the ACNA search, it’s a completely different list… and their stated beliefs and ideologies etc are indeed markedly different. Just thought I’d point that out. But yes, again I see a theme of Episcopal and Anglican emerging in this thread, which aligns with some of the things I was hearing already. Very helpful, thanks!
Atlanta area. NE, so not the typical “I have a [white] friend/relative in/from Atlanta!” area. lol sorry I had to say it… when you live here every white person you’ve known has someone in Atlanta, and they’re always in NW (usually Marietta)
Seriously though, as some others have noted, a big factor is being in an urban area. If I lived in rural America, I wouldn’t even be trying to ask this question. But the diversity of views, ethnicities, denominations, etc in my area means I am privileged to actually be able to search and have something of a choice in the matter of where my family fellowships and worships.
To clarify why I’m searching, too… I have two children. They’re at that age where they’re developing into their own people and have their own preferences - and they’re both brilliant. They’re asking the good (tough) questions. I have come to the conclusion that they CANNOT grow up any longer in the SBC/traditional white evangelicalism environment where the more they learn, the more they’re told by Sunday school teachers that learning is dangerous and questions are an indication of ‘liberal drift’. And they expect kids once they’re middle school aged to sit through the dull, watery, lacking-in-depth-or-inquisitiveness sermon every Sunday. My kids will not grow up being talked at for 50 minutes by an old white dude every Sunday. That will not be their primary concept of church. By the way, SBC isn’t the only denom we’re attended, that’s just the most recent attempt.
Anyway, hopefully that helps you understand why I’m at this juncture. Guys, if it were just about “find a place with nice people who love Jesus, and learn to be at peace with it” personally, I would have zero problem. But what environment do I want my kids growing up in? When they hear “church” or “Jesus”, what images and emotions and experiences do I want those words to connote? Where I’m at and where I’ve been, I haven’t found an answer to that yet that makes me confident they’ll want to consider themselves a member of ANY church by the time they’re 20. I put myself in their shoes - and I know I wouldn’t want to. This is what I meant in my original post by “ready to give up”.
Casey, what are the chances this is random — as I live in Alpharetta and went to high school in Marietta.
Try North Point Community Church or its partner church in Gwinnett. It is not traditional, yet it a place where people are inspired to follow Jesus.
The children’s ministry is wonderful, and the preaching and teaching is excellent. The small group focus helps make a big church small.
One of the things mentioned often is the importance of asking questions, and there is a group just for that called Starting Point. Another thing mentioned often is the importance of the next generation.
Athens Church is in Athens, Gwinett Church is in Sugar Hill, Browns Bridge is in Cumming, and Northpoint is in Alpharetta. There maybe another in your area.
Here is a list:
Hi Casey: as others have commented, totally understandable that you feel that way. I’ve just sort of accepted that my differences with the average churches when it comes to evolution and science are less important than the focus on God, loving others, etc. I go to churches where probably 95% of the people are anti-evolution, even if not vocally so, but they’re great communities that are there to lift each other up. When the occasional comment about evolution or something else science related is brought up during a sermon, I just ignore it and move past.
Think of it this way: there are thousands of church denominations because nobody could agree on everything. Finding a church that matches you perfectly is unlikely. But you can probably still find one that satisfies most of your other needs! And who knows? You might run into another likeminded individual. I did at my last church and my good friend who is more like me theologically joined me at my current church.
Good point, Christopher. Ultimately, I think what separates us in church is not views on evolution and science, but rather views on what it means to be a Christian and follow Christ. Unfortunately, it seems the political and social issues have done that in ways that makes the science division a minor issue. Certainly, science is involved peripherally with vaccination, masking and the like, but the real issues are along the lines Haidt suggested with the care/harm and liberty/oppression values being prominent.
1) Care/harm : This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/cheating : This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”
4) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
5) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions)…
6) Liberty/oppression : This foundation is about the feelings of reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. Its intuitions are often in tension with those of the authority foundation…
Oh, and by the way, Northpoint doesn’t expect middle school kids to set through the adult sermon. They have their own service and events.
It is called Transit.
And this Friday there is Trick or Transit.
That’s Andy Stanley’s church, yeah? I think I remember you talking about him frequently here.
Is he open to evolutionary creation? (just curious, not a dealbreaker personally)
It has been really telling in this season to see who cares about science/safety, as others have mentioned. It is very hard indeed to find the right spot!
The ACNA is not part of the Anglican communion, despite its name.
Anyway, I was looking around for you. You might want to look at the website for the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta There you can check things out, look for an Episcopal church, etc. And subscribe to the newsletter if you wish.
And do read about the bishop of Atlanta, Rob Wright. (Just scroll down on the home page.) He’s a Black man and his credentials are excellent. (Actually, the presiding bishop of the whole Episcopal is a Black man named Michael Curry. He crossed the pond some years ago to preach at Prince Harry’s wedding!)
@case4christ1 , well put. It’s not so much about us–it’s about the kids. There’s the rub. I hope it goes well for you.
In our discussions about this, we’ve also asked, “but if we stay, confront the friends lovingly, and try to improve the content of the Sunday School and Bible study, is that also teaching our kids loyalty and caring for someone beyond the creed that so many seem to put before people”? It’s more of a draw for us here, as we’ve been in this church for 16 years–before we started having kids. That’s different than for many.
That is something we still struggle over, nearly weekly. How do we save our kids’ faith and minds the best? Great discussion. I am learning.