In the beginning…

God created the heavens and the earth. So says the beginning of the book of Genesis. As most people with half an ear open will be aware, though, not everyone believes this to be true. In fact, the large majority of the credible scientific community (and a fair chunk of the theological community) would disagree with a literal reading of the Genesis 1 story. When combined with the roughly 40% of Americans who deny the theory of evolution, we have the makings of a deeply contentious relationship between science and religion.

It is this contention that sparked the idea for this project. In conversations with some of my atheistic friends, I have been told that religion and science– most specifically, evolution and creationism– are irreconcilable. The ideas are too disparate, the methods are too opposite, I am told. They are different in every possible way. They may be right, but I am not willing to concede the point without examining the ideas further.

I am a progressive Christian, a United Methodist, and a longtime student of the humanities. Unlike many of the people whose books I will be reading, I do not have any formal training in science or theology; however, I have a deep appreciation for both, and I want to know more. I want to develop my own ideas by reading what others have said. To do this, I will be reading and responding to books by people from all sides– evolutionary biologists and theologians, atheists and evangelicals and everywhere in between.

I believe common ground can be found. I believe that an intrinsic sense of wonder is shared by both scientists and people of faith, and that this commonality means that science and religion need not be permanently at odds. I could be wrong. This is my quest to find out.

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