We observe "Science Sunday" every year during the worship service nearest to Charles Darwin's birthday (February 12). Darwin’s discoveries of natural selection and evolutionary history have profoundly shaped our understanding of the world. Without question, Darwin’s theory of evolution is one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time. Less well known, however, is his lifelong search for a naturalist understanding of religion. Darwin not only wrestled continuously with the relationship between science and religious faith but found in his own scientific travels and studies cause for new and renewed understanding of religion. Throughout his life Darwin had experiences he would call “silent hosannas” as he witnessed the beauty, tragedy, and mystery of what he called “the sublime powers of life.”
The oft-perceived conflict between science and religion caused him much pain in his lifetime, and he would be appalled at the anti-science fundamentalism of so-called creation scientists as well as the anti-religion scientism of the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins. Between the raging creationists and equally strident atheists is a rich world of wonder and encounter where science and religious belief hold a fascinating conversation and encourage one another.
Our observance of Science Sunday at WPPC have ranged from powerful sermons on the the relationship between science and religious belief, celebrations of creation and a world of wonder, to the introduction of new cosmological hymns and anthems, to prayers for scientists (and the 2017 March for Science) during our current anti-science presidential administration. Always, we thank God for creating us with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.