May 16, 2014 | 10:07 a.m.
By Tricia Theurer, Communications Specialist
Bethel’s “Faithful Science” convocation series concluded in early May as Krista Tippett, host of American Public Media’s national radio program “On Being,” shared the perspectives of several leading experts—in fields such as science, medicine, theology, and philosophy—on the relationship between science and faith explored in her book, Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit. She asserted that we can all “make more space in our lives for spiritual perspectives informed by science.”
Tippett writes that while Albert Einstein, developer of the general theory of relativity, “did not believe in a personal God, he did leave a fascinating, largely forgotten legacy of musings and writings—some serious, some whimsical—about the relationship between science and religion and his own inquisitive reverence for the ‘order deeply hidden behind everything.’" She asserts that “Einstein's self-described ‘cosmic religious sense’ is intriguingly compatible with twenty-first-century sensibilities.”
In her chapel presentation, she shared some little-known facts about Einstein. For example, the famous theoretical physicist became more philosophical as he got older, pursuing the question “What was God thinking?” One example of this inquiry is a passage from the self-described agnostic’s 1949 book The World as I See It: "A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms—it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.”
Regarding Charles Darwin, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory, Tippett pointed out that his landmark book The Origins of the Species includes the word “creation” many times. She said that Darwin “referred to creation as an unfolding reality” and that he “liberated humanity from thinking of God” as the one who created cancer and social and political injustices. She continued, “Evolution and faith are in a creative tension, if in any tension at all.”
As for as the objectives of faith and science, she maintained that “faith and science ask different questions altogether. Science looks at what is; not necessarily at what should be,” whereas faith asks such questions as “What’s our real purpose?” “Where are we going?” “What matters in a life?” and “How do we love?” She also pointed out that, given all the technology surrounding us today, “Even the most religious of us are steeped in science every day.”
In 2003, Tippett created the show “On Being”—originally called “Speaking of Faith”—at Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media. “On Being” is a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast and a Webby Award-winning website.