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Embracing Science with Daniel Harrell

Embracing Science
Conversation with: Daniel Harrell

In this video, Pastor Daniel Harrell encourages the Christian community to embrace science as an element which can harmonize and strengthen, rather than attack and undermine their understanding of theology.

To discuss this video, see the post "Daniel Harrell on Embracing Science" on our blog Science and the Sacred.

Video Transcription

Science just pervades so much of our life as humans. It undergirds so much of the way in which we just go through the normal aspects of the day and in as much as its descriptive properties are continually seeking to tell us who we are as biological organic beings. I think it's imperative upon us to be aware of that. And in fact we are.

Whether it's through advertising for medicines, as we age and need to go to our doctors, there's so many ways that we interact with it constantly. We just never stop and pause and think about how, perhaps the philosophical aspects of science might impinge upon our lives as believers because we've done a good job of cordoning it off from everyday life.

But you also begin to discover how, despite its persuasive as a scientific explanation for life, it is not persuasive as an explanation for theological reality or psychological behavior. There are just so many variables that play out there. So, the more you study, the less fearful I became.

I became convinced by virtue of that to both help folks not be scared any longer but also to see how in as much as this is the handiwork of God, too, that it can be accounted for or understood or at least woven into the narrative that we already had in possession. That, in fact, we need not worry about a battle. That, in fact, we could have a convergence that would really strengthen our faith in ways that is helpful.

If science is limited in its ability to describe the world, certainly we are limited as pastors and theologians and believers in our ability to understand and describe God. And that's why we put such a primacy, of course, on faith, but I think the beauty of Christian faith is because of its belief that the material world is made by God and that the material world is redeemed by God and that we believe in a resurrection of the body. We have a natural theological end road to science that allows us to benefit from what science teaches if it can be sort of transported in a way that we can just see that.

Are there problems? Sure, there are problems. But there are problems in theology even without science being involved. And sometimes, I think just a deep breath and a little more willingness to ask some second level, third level questions and pastors that would take time, perhaps, just to read a little more and understand a little better because there are scientists out there who I think are eager for their discipline to be better understood because I don't think that many scientists like the way in which their work is being used for purposes for which they would have never intended that work to be used.