Science and Faith in Latin America
In Latin America, issues of science and faith are growing in prominence among scholars, in Protestant and Catholic churches, and in public dialogue. In September, President Deborah Haarsma attended a workshop convening science and faith leaders from all over Latin America to discuss challenges and opportunities in the region. There she shared a bit about BioLogos and joined in discussion with the attendees. “I learned that in Latin America, scholarship on science and religion issues is hampered by lack of resources and challenges to networking,” says Haarsma. “I also heard heartbreaking stories of the export of Young Earth Creationism from the United States to Latin America; creationism is on the rise, particularly in Brazil and Central America.”
Latin American leaders are responding with the message that science and Christianity can work together. At the workshop, Haarsma met Brazilian journalist Marcio Antonio Campos (right) who writes an award winning blog called “Test Tube” and who covered the Oxford event. His thoughts can be found here. She also met Manuel David Morales, one of the editors of the Latin American journal Razón y Pensamiento Cristiano who writes on science and faith topics (here is an example of his work).
International partnerships are also aiding the effort to improve the science and faith dialogue. In Costa Rica, Cesar Navarro leads the Sociedad Educativa Latinoamericana para Fe y Ciencia (Latin America Faith and Science Educational Society), which recently invited the Faraday Institute to co-lead a science and faith workshop. Faraday has also translated their popular Test of Faith course into Portuguese. Two other organizations, Fundación Diálogo entre Ciencia y Religión (DECYR) in La Plata, Argentina, and Centro de Estudias en Ciencia y Religión (CECIR) in Pueblo, Mexico, are also fostering science and religion scholarship in the region, including the journal Quarentibus.
BioLogos is starting to join the international conversation. We’re supporting the Fundación Federico Fliedner in Spain through our Evolution and Christian Faith grant program. Their project, “La evolución de Dios/God’s evolution”, is aimed at engaging Spanish-speaking leaders in science, education, and religion in reflection about evolution and Christian theology and includes translating some BioLogos articles into Spanish.
Christians are not the only ones concerned about the growth of creationism in Latin America, however. In June, the Third World Summit on Evolution was held on the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador. BioLogos was represented at the gathering by evolutionary biologist Steve Roels (left), who describes his experience in his blog series “Evolution and Faith in Latin America.” The conference showcased cutting edge evolutionary science by Latin Americans and addressed issues of education and public views on evolution. Steve presented a poster describing the BioLogos mission to harmonize science (especially evolutionary biology) and the Christian faith. He reports that scientists in Latin America, like scientists in the Anglo world, are concerned about science education and the rise of anti-evolution attitudes. While one scientist at the meeting promoted militant atheist views against religion, many scientists saw the worth of the BioLogos approach in addressing anti-evolution views in religious communities, even if they were not religious themselves.
We’re excited to see the increase in Latin American scholarship on science and religion, and the growing interest in public dialogue on origins and Christianity. Please join us in prayer that God will use these leaders to counter the rising voices of both young earth creationism and militant atheism in Latin America.