I am a science geek, and I love the Bible.
If you have a geeky spirituality that involves a set of sacred texts (Bible, Quran, Torah, Sutras, Vedas, or whatever), you know how hard this can be. We’ve all been taught that Science and Religion are mortal enemies, and anyone who embraces both is just confused.
How to manage this? I’ve been wrestling with this issue since like the 5th grade, and here’s what I’ve learned to keep in mind:
1. In Theology, I am studying God, not the texts that talk about God.
Now and then, people run into God. Or at least we think we do. It makes sense for us to compare notes. Sometimes a collector-type geek will organize the best notes into books, and these books become the sacred texts of their particular God-encountering tradition.
Reading these texts is like listening to a Jedi Master. The masters are always worth listening to, but they are not the Force. Their whole desire is to point you away from themselves to the Force itself, so that you can more and more learn to study the Force for yourself, firsthand.
So for example, if my ancient master from the 1500’s BC happens to have a scientifically outdated view of how the world was formed, it is not terribly troubling to me, because I really don’t need Obi-Wan Kenobi to be a geologically-inerrant god for me. What I need is a friend who is wise and knows the ways of the Force. That is exactly what I get in my sacred text.
2. In Science, I am studying a universe still under construction.
I believe my senses give me more-or-less reliable information about what the universe is doing. I believe the universe, in its day-to-day operations, has a certain degree of consistency which can be detected as patterns in data (Most smart people of human history would find this laughably naive, but I believe it anyway).
But the fact that I see some patterns doesn’t mean I see the whole pattern. Being a scientist in the middle of a still-in-process universe means admitting that I don’t have the whole story yet. It means being ready to be surprised.
You know how Doctor Who is always looking at something right in front of him and saying “But that’s impossible!”? It’s kind of like that. “Possible” changes as knowledge expands, which is, after all, what science is all about.
My sacred texts are my hints of the Possible.
My own God-encountering tradition has experienced things which have led us to believe that we might be part of a Really Big Song, a song which has a great beat but has barely begun. The first beat was the Big Bang. The second beat was Easter.