One of the most controversial social topics of today is the idea of science and religion. As I was brought up in the Catholic faith so I know where I stand with God. I do not believe that God is upset with me because I study evolution in my science classes or even that I think about other ways the world could have come into existence. Personally I think He wants you to encounter opposition to faith, opposition to one’s beliefs I have found, strengthens your understanding and views.
Last night we attended a celebration of the Alliance of the Chesapeake Bay and listened to a talk from a Keynote Speaker, Reverend Kelly Wilkins, who is a leader at a baptist church in the heart of Washington D.C. I am not sure if this is my own perception of the speech but it seemed to me that not only was the audience much smaller than it had been but that people, grown adults were doodling, knitting, reading finding any kind of distraction they could to “endure” this hour long speech. There is nothing that makes me more disappointed in the direction of our society than seeing absence of considerations like openmindedness.
I am going to generalize here but people do not like change. Sure Obama campaigned on “Change” and people voted for him but that kind of change is different. There is a wide range of ages at this forum but many people have alot in common. These are scientists that have studied the innerworkings of the physical, biological and chemical elements of our universe. They know that there is an issue with the state of the Chesapeake Bay and if something does not change the levels of pollution will only increase. They are all here united discussing the issues of the bay; just as a congregation gathers in a church, mosque or synagogue every week and discusses the issues of society.
My point here is that aren’t the two more similar than different? There are many different types of religion, just as there are many professions in the environmental field. You go to a conference to become more educated and network just as people do in a church. So why would some people be opposed to a religious speaker at a scientific conference?
It can all be explained in a few words. People who have grown up doing the same things their whole life do not want to be told they are wrong. Just as the farming community meets the EPA officials with opposition saying they have been using these practices for centuries and that they do not know any different. People who have been brought up in a religious setting do not want to be told there is no God, just as people who believe in science don’t want the idea of a Divine Being, shoved down their throats. Its all about what we are comfortable with and our cultural differences within our societies.
Education is crucial, just as for the farmers, the scientists and religious figures also need be informed of other beliefs. Today we heard from Dottie Yunger, a representative of the Interfaith Partnerships for the Chesapeake. Reverend Yunger told us about her projects with three churches in Baltimore, after she split us into two groups I talked to her seperately about my church back home. I told her about the Chesapeake Semester Program and Washington College in Chestertown. The director of the Program came over and told me that they are having a big program on October 14th of this year on the eastern shore near Chestertown. We exchanged business cards and she is going to email me a flyer. I am sure we will be in class but hopefully I can stop by for a little to network.
This weekend was a great opportunity to get out of our comfort zones and get to know more about some of the industries in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. I look forward to keeping in touch with some of the people I have meet and exploring some of the topics introduced.