Here are a few thought-provoking excerpts from the UCC's "Pastoral Letter on Faith, Engaging Science and Technology," released Jan. 29. Read the full text at <ucc.org/not-mutually-exclusive>.
- Science shows us a cosmos that gives birth to stars, galaxies, planets, life, mind and self-consciousness, all emerging one after the other, each stage giving birth to what follows, each playing its part in the interactive dance of cosmic self-generation. Through these discoveries, science reveals a new picture of human beings as tiny creatures in a vast cosmic sea.
- Are we alone? Does the universe have a purpose? What does it mean to be human? Questions like these are as old as scripture and as new as the latest discoveries of physics and biology. For many people today, old answers to these questions are no longer credible.
- Science is sometimes unsettling because it destroys old foundations without providing new ones. Yet because of science, many today are on a new search for meaning. Can our church address the seekers of today?
- Precisely because technology is powerful and so often beneficial, we must speak against policies that deny access to health care or that allow such things as a "digital divide." … If injustice in medicine is any indication of future injustice in the allocation of technology, we can only worry that technology is unwittingly moving us along the wrong path socially and economically.
- The transformations of today's scientific vision enrich our faith, and our church honors our members who answer God's calling with careers in medicine, science and engineering.
- Gone is the old view of a small, static universe, with fixed species dwelling on a fixed earth. Gone is the old view of a small, static God. We believe that God yearns for us to understand nature more fully and to love it more deeply.
- Evolution helps us see our faithful God in a new way. Our creator works patiently, calling forth life through complex processes spanning billions of years and waiting for us to awaken and respond in conscious participation in God's own overarching dream for all living things.
- The changes that lie ahead of us can scarcely be imagined. Science and technology are not about to come to a standstill, and neither should we. … We know that the challenges of science and technology are not easy. We also know they are not optional, as if we could be a faithful church while ignoring our context.