- This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Science and Religion, part 2
- The April-May Peaceable Table Is
1. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Do Religious Leaders Really Believe in the Works of God?
2. On Science and Religion, part 2
regard science and religion as involving distinct spheres, but I am
doubtful. People of faith routinely use scientific reasoning to defend
their religions. To believe something solely on the basis of faith is,
thankfully, fully legal in the United States, but it is not
reasonable. Why not believe in the Tooth Fairy, if faith alone
When religious people try to defend their faith,
they tend to use similar approaches to those of scientists. For
example, they often use case reports, such as reports of miracles.
Then, they often defend the validity of the source of those reports.
For example, in The Case for Christ, Lee Sobel argues that there are
good reasons to conclude that the Gospel accounts are accurate. While
some might dispute Sobel’s arguments, their form is scientific.
Another scientific defense of religious beliefs is to argue that the
religion’s sacred text(s) have accurately predicted future events,
just as scientific theories aim to predict the outcome of future
experiments. Consistency with observations is another feature of
scientific proof, and many defenders of religion often maintain that
their sacred stories and texts accurately reflect archaeological,
geological, or other evidence.
It seems to me that,
frequently, science and religion often differ not in method but in
community. The scientific community tends to be skeptical, and there
is a premium on making novel observations that often conflict with
popular theories or prior observations. In contrast, religious
communities tend to reinforce each other’s belief, and many religious
communities discourage challenges to core tenets and creeds. This can
make it difficult to challenge views about humanity’s relationship to
nonhumans, and indeed many animal advocates have had difficulty
finding churches that will let them voice concerns about animal
issues, much less embrace nonviolence towards nonhumans.
religion’s scientific underpinnings be a means by which we can
encourage our churches to address animal issues? I’ll explore this
question next week.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
The April-May Peaceable Table Is Now Online
* We get a Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom by watching this
video of rollicking fun among two good friends--a Labrador dog and an
* How does it sound to have a meal featuring garlic
mashed potatoes, with chocolate mousse for dessert? Check out these
* Do you remember the review
of Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer Holland, describing pairs of
animals from different species who become close friends? Here is a
Review of a new book by Holland of the same sort, entitled Unlikely
Loves. You will want to read and savor the photos and narratives in
this beautiful volume.
* Our April-May Pilgrimage column
features the well-known pediatrician Benjamin Spock, whose sensitive
manual Baby and Child Care has been guiding generations of parents
since it first appeared in 1946. At age 88 Spock became a vegan, and
he incorporated his vegan principles into the seventh edition of his
famous child-care manual.
To see this issue, go to http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue103.html.
Recently Quaker Animal Kinship advertised on Google for two
weeks, and we were gratified to get a high volume of clicks to
Peaceable Table. But our funds are limited. We hope you will help with
a donation, either via PayPal or by check. For the latter method, see
the short section at the end of the issue.
refreshment to all beings,
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor