You Don't Have to Check Your Brain in at the Door

Published in the Orange County Register on September 5, 2013

There is a misconception out there (which probably comes from all of the publicity that certain segments of the church get) that science and religion don’t mix. It seems that parts of the Christian church are caught up in a conflict with science that began back in the 17th century. It was in the early 1600’s that Nicholas Copernicus and Galileo Galilei published books in which they stated their theory that the Earth revolved around the sun rather than the other way around. The church disapproved of this theory because the Bible implies that the Earth is at the center of the universe and not the sun. Thus the church condemned both men as heretics and sinners. Although Copernicus died shortly after the publication of his book, Galileo was subjected to the Inquisition and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

Similarly in our day, there are Christians who resist some information that science offers us because the Bible is not in agreement with the scientific facts. They insist on a literal interpretation of the scriptures. One of the issues that comes up regularly is that of evolution. Though science has found a great deal of evidence to support the theory of evolution, literalists point to the biblical story that creation occurred over the course of seven days.

These very public disagreements may lead some people to think that there is no place in the Christian church for people who are open to the discoveries of the scientific world. This has resulted in certain segments of the population either leaving the church or never darkening the doors of the church. In a recent article on the CNN Belief Blog, author Rachel Held Evan addressed the issue of millenials (people born from the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s) leaving the church.  Pointing to research done through the Brookings Institute, she states that millenials are not leaving the church because they want edgier music, more casual services, or a coffee shop in the fellowship hall. A great number of them are leaving the church in part she says, because “We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith.”

Anglicanism, of which the Episcopal Church is a part, offers just such a truce. Anglican faith is based on the authority of scripture, informed by reason (the intellect and the experience of God) and tradition (the practices and beliefs of the historical church). Anglicans then, do not resist the information that the scientific world provides. What a relief to discover that you can attend church and as Anglicans are proud to say “You don’t have to check your brain in at the door.” Emmanuel Episcopal Church is one such  place of worship. The clergy not only rely on their knowledge of scripture and the traditions of the church, but delve as well into the world of science, where discoveries about quantum physics and quantum entrainment might just as likely inform their preaching and teaching. If you are looking for a church in which questions and wondering about God are encouraged, where the facts about science are held in balance with scripture and tradition, then we invite you to try Emmanuel Episcopal Church.

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