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In Awesome Wonder: Bridging science and faith by Daniel Ruy Pereira and Luiz F. Cardosa

26 August 2022

A false dichotomy tackled here, says Adam Ford

AN INTRIGUING revelation, appearing in this slim paperback, concerns the widespread belief that there is conflict between science and religious faith. Apparently, according to research, the seeds of disharmony are sown in early childhood. Children reaching the end of their primary-school days have already absorbed a false “either/or” view of the world, that a scientist cannot be a person with a religious faith and vice versa. Poor teaching is the cause, whether deliberate or unthinking, often fuelled by a “lazy scientism” or “unquestioning creationism”.

The authors are passionate and evangelical about putting put the record straight, pointing out that many of the great Western scientists from Copernicus and Galileo onwards were inspired by their religious faith, working to comprehend God’s handiwork, seeking to understand the mind of the creator. The scientific study of all that is around us, whether it be the immensity of the universe itself or the fine details of biological evolution (“the beauty and subtlety of life”), is itself a profound source of spirituality

Pereira (a science teacher in Oldham) and Cardoso (a Portuguese theologian) draw on the best and most respected science and religious writing of our day to explore their theme: Alister McGrath, John Polkinghorne, Sir Martin Rees, C. S. Lewis. et al. Their thinking is solidly based in scripture. quoting both St Paul and the psalmist. That “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19) is a theme that runs throughout their writing.

Not content with simply writing about this sad estrangement between science and spirituality, the authors chose to do something about it in their pastoral work, offering an example of good practice which can be followed by others fruitfully. They worked together through discussion groups at Connect Methodist Church, Stockport, to raise awareness of the issue. The result was a series of services, sermons, acts of worship, and Sunday-school events in which science-orientated themes were explored while being seen from a biblical world-view. It all sounds like a richly rewarding experience, encouraging a mature spirituality in a glorious world.

The Revd Adam Ford is a former Chaplain of St Paul’s School for Girls.


In Awesome Wonder: Bridging science and faith
Daniel Ruy Pereira and Luiz F. Cardosa
Sacristy Press £9.99
Church Times Bookshop £8.99

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