One of the places where the prevailing culture intersects with religion is within the college or university experience.
I have heard any number of people claim that they were religious or went to church or synagogue until they went away to school. There, according to what I am told, they confronted doubt when they took the hard sciences and asked questions about the natural world.
Recently, R. R. Reno and Barbara McClay edited conversations with Robert Bellah and Christian Smith who are both eminent sociologists that they had with leading scholars in a book entitled, Religion and the Social Sciences.
Their point is that more often than not it is a class in the social sciences that challenges students’ faiths, not a class in biology.
The question arises in this context is, can a modern social scientific approach actually deepen faith rather than detract from faith? Is it realistic to hope that a deepened faith might make people more full participants in modern intellectual culture?
I have not read the boo, (yet), but the question has been fermenting in my head for a few days. Why can’t the faithful interact with modern social sciences s well as the so-called “hard” sciences?
Does today’s intellectual culture exclude religious people? I submit that it does not. The problem has not been that religious people necessarily reject any of the sciences, but that they do not really understand religion.
Faith dies not exclude reason, it can focus reason to a sharp point if we don’t try to limit G_d. If we limit G_d to the depth and breadth of our own limited interpretation of the natural world, then we might truly reject science and intellectual inquiry. But, if we let G_d be G_d, we open our eyes to limitless potential for religion’s intersection with the natural and the social sciences.
But, what do you think?