SCIENCE can’t , but SCIENTISTS can

More thoughts on “We scientists don’t know how to do that” quote (see )

Many are sharing this and commenting on its profundity.

I agree that it is a profound statement. I have also seen it pressed into service of lobbying against actual efforts to address Climate Change. I first noticed this at the 2016 General Conference, where this graphic quote was shown on a screen. I heard applause. I was immediately hit with the feeling that many of those applauding may well have “recognized” this , and heard this, as saying :Our efforts to respond to Climate Change at the systemic level are doomed to failure, since no “real change” can happen unless we bring people to Jesus. And so begins the effort to collar “social justice” as a “Liberal” or “Progressive” project that is suspect (mainly because it “sounds” “LIberal”).

There is no doubt that our Ecological Crisis is an outcome of human sin and pride and denial of limits. It has come about because humankind wanted to play God and understand “Dominion” in the Empire sense, which is to dominate and plunder and reserve for the powerful. It is, indeed, due to “sin”. But systemic sin is not on the radar of the Religious Right. It “prefers” to talk of “sin” at the individual level, and shoo us away from confrontation of the larger, collective, all-to-often invisible in the teachings of the church about “sin”. This is a common malady of the Post-Constantinian church. And so, whenever we can limit our thinking about “spiritual maladies” to private piety and individual morality, we succeed in advancing the moral crisis precipitated by Constantine: an acquiescence to a worldview that places “Human Power” at the helm and worships at that altar. We nod our heads because this has enabled us to enjoy those “comforts” and “safety” (those of us who have this privilege, that is). And we can go on pushing out of view those systems in which we are intertwined, and , when we look at it, are “trapped”. It’s something that seems like an overwhelming task to escape. And so this is deemed “unacceptable” consideration for theological dialogue. But if the church is not a place where we can face this and face our “addictions” to this life, where would that be?

It may well be that a btter way to say that would have been to say :

SCIENCE can’t do that, but SCIENTISTS can participate in acting on the information to address and respond to the problems found.


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