Purpose, Evolution, And the Meaning of Life, by John F. Haught
2004. 130 pp. ISBN: 9781894710558
"'Science versus religion' is a pressing cultural issue affecting the church and its mission, and needs to be addressed by our colleges, seminaries, and mission agencies. The proceedings of the Goshen Conference are a welcome resource."
- Darrin W. Snyder Belousek in the Conrad Grebel Review
In these proceedings of the fourth annual Goshen Conference on Religion and Science Professor Haught, Healey Professor of Theology at Georgetown University presents the elements of his thinking on cosmic purpose and evolution in three lectures. In the discussion sessions participants explored these ideas through questions or comments. Haught’s thinking is, by his own admission, eclectic. He has blended the thoughts of others as a winemaker blends wines to bring out the nuances and sometimes hidden character of the sources. In the lectures the reader encounters Whitehead, Teilhard, Tillich, Augustine and others. Haught points to what he considers the primary messages of Christianity to help our thinking. What emerges points to a purposeful universe that embodies the restlessness that science teaches us is there and the Christian message of hope. To find purpose in the universe is to blend this hope with the details of the emerging universe that science probes.
Haught proposes that such an understanding results in a layered explanation of what we observe. Scientific abstraction seeks simplicity leaving out many of the nuances we know are part of our understanding of daily life. The answer is not to return to the universe of Aristotle. But if we claim that a full understanding lies in any extreme then we miss what we are seeking. Through the lectures and discussions gathered here, the reader can share in the intellectual and imaginative journey of the conference’s participants.
John F. Haught is a Distinguished Research Professor of Theology at Georgetown University.