Insightful presentations and engaging discussions yielded personal and spiritual growth for all participants in the Naramata Centre program, ʺScience, Religion and an Evolving Faithʺ held September 5-9, 2016. Facilitated by Robert McDonald, who has a diverse background in the topic, together we explored evolutionary Christian spirituality within the context of scientific discovery and our changing world.
We challenged long held dogmas, learned from respected leaders on the topic, discussed implications of new scientific discoveries, and reflected upon our personal beliefs while respecting the past, each other, and our future as a faith community. We all grew as individuals not destroying our beliefs, but instead questioning them and emerging even stronger at the end of the week through the process.
Our fundamental basic values are important, solid and timeless, but should and must not be static. Humanity evolves over time with experience and new knowledge. We started by examining the “big history” of the science and religion stories, comparing spirituality and religion, and the demographics of how our society participates. We also discussed why we should not “fear” continuously questioning and modifying our beliefs and practices.
We continued by examining the concept of process theology, which affirms the reality of human freedom and creativity and spiritual experience. By mid-week, we were well prepared to discuss “The Genesis Stories” and to examine our roles as humans having dominion, or stewardship, or responsibility, over the rest of creation. We then discussed James Fowler’s stages of faith that many people go through as their faith matures. During the Friday concluding session we learned from the video presentations of “Interfaith Explorers” – visionaries who are imaging the future of belief systems and the church.
This course was definitely seen by all as a meaningful week of personal and spiritual growth.
By Terrance Malkinson