Mere Science and Christian Faith

Bridging the Divide with Emerging Adults

by Greg Cootsona

Mere Science and Christian Faith
paperback
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Published: March 2018
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-3814-1
  • Item Code: 3814

Many Christians have been brought up under the assumption that mainstream science is incompatible with genuine Christian faith—so when they see compelling evidence for biological evolution, for example, they feel forced to choose between science and their faith. The devastating effects of this dilemma are plain to see, as emerging adults either leave the faith or shut themselves off to the findings of the scientific community.

But it’s a false dilemma. In this book, Greg Cootsona argues against the idea that science and faith are inherently antagonistic. We don't have to keep them scrupulously separated—instead, we can bring them into dialogue with one another. Cootsona brings this integration to a number of current topics in science and faith conversations, including hermeneutics, the historical Adam and Eve, cognitive science, and the future of technology. His insights are enhanced by his work with Fuller Seminary's STEAM research project.

Emerging adults want to believe that science and faith can coexist peacefully. Mere Science and Christian Faith holds out a vision for how that integration is possible and how it can lead us more deeply into the conversations around science and faith that confront the church today.

"Greg Cootsona has been consistently at the vanguard of interconnections between science, faith, and the arts. Now with Mere Science and Christian Faith, he again proves to be a go-to resource for how science and faith together can offer generative solutions."

Makoto Fujimura, artist and director of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts

"What a great book. This sentence alone should be mandatory church wisdom: 'Let’s not fool around with science that can't be supported by scientists.' Greg reflects on science, technology, faith, and emerging adults with learning, urgency, clarity, and grace."

John Ortberg, senior pastor of Menlo Church, author of I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me

"In this book you’ll find the usual suspects in books on science and religion: age of the earth, creation ex nihilo, Adam and Eve, and so on. But here you’ll also find thoughtful discussions of technology, climate change, and sexuality. These latter are the topics emerging adults are more interested in, and Cootsona has been listening to them. His book is no ivory tower treatment of ideas in the abstract, but it is filled with on-the-ground insights gleaned from his extensive interaction with eighteen- to thirty-year-olds. All of us engaged in the science and religion dialogue would do well to read this book to see where our field is going. Others who have been turned off by acrimonious science and faith arguments will find a much more attractive way into the topics—and perhaps into faith itself. See that a copy of this book gets into their hands!"

Jim Stump, senior editor at BioLogos

"When considering how the findings of contemporary science may be fused with Christianity (or not), it is easy to assume that progress will emerge from reasoned arguments or more science, when what we need is more sensitivity to how beliefs concerning faith and science may be wrapped up in our social and personal identities. Without neglecting genuine intellectual hurdles, Cootsona brings a valuable pastoral dimension to the faith-science space resulting in a book that would be useful to young adults as they navigate how to be thinking, science-affirming Christ-followers."

Justin L. Barrett, chief project developer, Fuller Seminary Office for Science, Theology, and Religion Initiatives

"Anyone who cares about why young adults are leaving churches should read Mere Science and Christian Faith. Cootsona presents up-to-date research with the sensibility and compassion of a pastor. It’s an incredibly accessible and useful volume."

Elaine Howard Ecklund, Herbert S. Autrey Chair in social sciences at Rice University, author of Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think

"I’ve been longing for someone to write this book. Drawing from both his extensive experience in ministry with young adults and his theological expertise, Greg Cootsona delivers a compelling book on how ‘faith and science are not in a wrestling match where one will be the victor.’ For pastors and emerging adult ministry leaders like myself, Mere Science and Christian Faith provides us with an indispensable field guide that both identifies challenges, but also shows the creative ways faith can integrate and collaborate with science—rather than only seeing conflict. Here is a book I would like to put in the hands of all eighteen- to thirty-year-olds who take science and faith seriously."

Craig Gartland, pastor of spiritual formation at Blackhawk Church, Madison, WI
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CONTENTS

1. Creation, Beauty, and Science
2. Emerging Adult Faith: Not an LP, but a Digital Download
Case Study: Addressing “New Atheism”
3. Emerging Adults: Are They None and Done?
Case Study: Cognitive Science and Reasons Not to Believe
4. On a Crash Course with Hermeneutics
Two Case Studies: Making Too Much of a Good Thing: Big Bang and Fine-Tuning
5. Adam, Eve, and History
Case Study: What About Intelligent Design? Where’s Your ID?
6. Calling Out the Good in Technology
7. Give Technology a Brake
Two Case Studies: On Global Climate Change and Sexuality (Where We’re Tempted to Ask Science for Things It Can’t Deliver)
8. Moving Forward
Further Reading
Notes

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Greg Cootsona (PhD, Graduate Theological Union) is a writer, researcher, and speaker. He directs Science and Theology for Emerging Adult Ministries (or STEAM) at Fuller Theological Seminary, and teaches religious studies and humanities at California State University at Chico.

Cootsona studied comparative literature at U. C. Berkeley and theology at Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv), the Universities of Tübingen and Heidelberg, and Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union, where he received his PhD. He recently finished eighteen years as associate pastor for adult discipleship at Bidwell Presbyterian Church in Chico and Fifth Avenue Presbyterian in New York City. He has been interviewed by CNN, the BBC, the New York Times, and the Today Show.

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