Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Science and Religion: Siblings, Not Enemies

Growing up, I loved Weird Al Yankovic. You know him — the accordion-playing satirist with the long curly hair and mustache who unabashedly turned Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” into “Eat It,” Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” into “Amish Paradise,” and as of Tuesday, Robin Thicke’s horrendous “Blurred Lines” into “Word Crimes.” This week, he’s been debuting a new song every day, and will for a total of eight, to finish up his thirty-two year recording contract with a bang. And hearing that sentence, I like all people who find him ridiculous and wonderful all at once thought, is he retiring?

No. He’s in process, changing and growing to meet where the world is today. When he began doing his parody work, he had a monopoly on ridiculous song covers. His “Like a Surgeon” or “Fat” would play on MTV with some regularity; he made money from the sale of albums, then touring, then plays on MTV. Now the Internet has happened. Now, when a song comes out, within days there may be thousands of parodies — some awful, some not horribly awful — all out there as clickable and accessible as what Weird Al does. So he’s changing how he produces and puts out music, but not the core of producing and putting out music. Not the why.

Let’s pretend it’s easy enough, just for a second, to treat science and religion as entirely mutually exclusive  —that there is no overlap, interplay or symbiosis between the two fields. If we did that, we could say science and religion answer two distinct questions: science asks How, and religion asks Why. But the How has to inform the Why, and arguably, vice versa. As scientific advances continue — and again, radio signals from nine billion light years away were picked up last week, which is INSANELY COOL — the way we ask Why will change, but not the reason for asking Why. And being willing to be challenged and informed by the hows and whats and whens of an ever-changing, newly-discoverable, amazing and intricate world around us gives us an opportunity to seek God fully in this world and the next.

At least, that’s where I’m at right now. I won’t even get into the fun of asking “Why not?” Not yet, at least. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

Shalom y’all,


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