Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but both look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided, neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect. — Freeman Dyson, physics professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, in a speech accepting the 2000 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion
IN TODAY'S SESSION... The children explored our fifth Unitarian Universalist Source, "the use of reason and the discoveries of science." They heard a story about how a 19th-century discovery of dinosaur bones in New Jersey helped prove the earth is older than claimed in the Bible. The group talked about how reason is a way we listen to what others say; pay attention to what we ourselves see, hear, and feel; and combine what we find to try to figure out what is true.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about... theology vs. science. Is there really a conflict between the notions of evolution and Divine Creation? Affirm for your children that Unitarian Universalism affirms science. The wisdom we gain using reason and learning from scientific discoveries is one Sources of Unitarian Universalist faith.
There are wonderful natural history museums around the country. If possible, go as a family (as opposed to a school field trip). Seek out displays that highlight evolution; pay close attention to birds and shells. Look for a timeline to help you show your children that evolution is a slow process that takes a very long time.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER.
Family Discovery. Read about Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow, Unitarian Universalists who travel the country talking about the spirituality of evolution. Explore Michael Dowd and his publications further on his Thank God for Evolution website.
Books about evolution for children include:
The Tree of Life: The Wonders of Evolution by Ellen Jackson, illustrated by Judeanne Winter Wiley (Prometheus Books, 2004), the story children heard in our session today. Jackson's approach to evolution has a spiritual quality, as do the wonderful illustrations.
Life on Earth: The Evolution by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2002).
Born with a Bang: The Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story by Jennifer Morgan (Dawn Publications, 2002).