• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.

Science & the general person - Spirituality & the general person

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Sink' started by Resha Caner, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

    +1,009
    Lutheran
    Married
    Sociologist Robert Wuthnow has suggested that the general public doesn't find either science or theology provides satisfactory answers for life. Either they don't understand the talking heads, don't trust them, or anecdotal experience leaves them thinking the proffered solutions don't work.

    The result is to resort to pop forms of these things. People turn either to pop science (e.g. Richard Dawkins or William Dembski, pick your poison) or self-help gurus.

    Aside from the fact that people are going to show signs of rabies when commenting on either Dawkins or Dembski, Wuthnow goes deeper to claim part of the reason for this is that many people connect better to artistic expressions of an idea that is centered in experience than to rigorous academic approaches. For example, they are more likely to listen to a song about struggles with death by a musician who has struggled with death than listen to the advice of a psychiatrist.

    Think about it. Is someone more likely to reference a song about spirituality or a theologian? Are they more likely to talk about Tony Stark's amazing scientific accomplishments or Stephen Hawking's?

    What say you?
     
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. essentialsaltes

    essentialsaltes Stranger in a Strange Land

    +8,416
    Atheist
    Legal Union (Other)
    In the sense you seem to be using, science does not propose to answer those questions about people's lives.

    What should I do with my life?

    Living things metabolize, maintain homeostasis, grow, and reproduce!

    How do I handle the death of a loved one?

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the total entropy of an isolated system can never decrease over time!

    What do I owe my fellow humans?

    Birds evolved from dinosaurs!

    Neither one is going to help them with that painful discussion with their estranged sibling.

    That theology has also proven unsatisfactory is a separate problem.
     
  3. jacks

    jacks Er Victus Supporter

    +938
    Christian
    Married
    US-Others
    I think this is true and not necessarily a bad thing. I know I learned more about human nature from Dostoevsky's book The Brothers Karamazov, than all the college classes I took in psychology combined.
     
  4. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

    +1,009
    Lutheran
    Married
    I agree.

    Love that book! I have often listed it as the #1 best book I've ever read.
     
  5. jacks

    jacks Er Victus Supporter

    +938
    Christian
    Married
    US-Others
    Yes, it is one of my favorites too, though I'm a fan of all his novels. Also "The Grand Inquisitor" chapter within The Brothers is more enlightening than many theological discussions.
     
  6. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

    +1,009
    Lutheran
    Married
    I'll admit my examples might imply a direction, but they were not meant to. Many examples could be listed, and they are sometimes subtle. Just as I didn't intend the conclusions you're drawing, scientists sometimes imply things they didn't intend.

    A scientist is excited about a new discovery that will increase rice yields. He speaks that he was motivated to research that area because of the hunger that pervades his homeland. He thereby inspires hope that starvation can be ended … yet greedy warlords destroy the crops and prevent distribution to their enemies. The scientist never claimed he could solve those problems, but people become discouraged - are less excited the next time a scientist announces he can increase grain yields. They don't listen and look elsewhere … maybe to Tony Stark who destroys all those greedy warlords.

    A scientist announces a new cure for cancer … that will be ready in maybe 20 years after a long, excruciating approval process. In the meantime my loved one dies. The scientist never claimed he could fix governmental red tape, or even that he could cure all cancer. But there it is. His triumphal call. It starts to sound as if he's crying wolf (in reverse).

    Just a few more examples. Maybe you can see what I'm saying. Maybe you can't. I'm not blaming scientists. I'm explaining why people stop listening to them and look elsewhere. I'm also intrigued by what they turn to.
     
  7. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

    +1,009
    Lutheran
    Married
    I wasn't as impressed by Brothers. I did enjoy The Idiot & Notes from Underground.
     
  8. jacks

    jacks Er Victus Supporter

    +938
    Christian
    Married
    US-Others
    Sounds like you enjoy a good bildungsroman. (I've always wanted to use that word ;))
     
  9. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

    +1,088
    United States
    Catholic
    Single
    Science and theology influence people indirectly by exerting an influence on things like the arts. It has always been this way to one extent or another, and it probably always will be this way. Highly speculative sciences are always mediated by more concrete, earthy, and practical disciplines. It was never academia's job to directly influence the practical lives of common men and women.
     
  10. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

    +1,009
    Lutheran
    Married
    Kinda. Wuthnow's conclusions are admittedly qualitative. But he provides interesting statistics on artists & religion. They are less acquainted with formal theology than the general public; less involved in institutional religion. What they do know about, they are more likely to pick & choose as their tastes suit them - more likely to mix together diverse - even clashing - religious symbols and think it a proper expression of spirituality.

    If you've heard of Andres Serrano, Wuthnow interviewed him. According to Wuthnow he was confused by the reaction to his work. He more or less arbitrarily assigned meaning to the symbols in his art that had nothing to with their original religious meaning, largely unaware they had that meaning. Wuthnow had to explain that meaning and why people were offended before Serrano got it. Or at least that's the claim.

    Regardless, the legacy endures. Serrano impacted religious discourse.

    Sure about that? Shrug. You're entitled to your opinion.
     
Loading...