Petition 80050

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Science and Technology (80050-C1-¶160.E)

Amend ¶160 E) Science and Technology as follows:
We recognize science as a legitimate interpretation of God’s natural world.  We affirm the validity of the claims of science in describing the natural world and in determining what is scientific.  We   , although  we preclude science from making authoritative claims about theological issues, and theology from making authoritative claims about scientific issues.  We find that science’s descriptions of cosmological, geological, and biological evolution are not in conflict with theology. We recognize technology as a legitimate use  medical, technical, and scientific technologies as legitimate uses of God’s natural world when such use enhances human life and enables all of God’s children to develop their God-given creative potential without violating our ethical convictions about the relationship of humanity to the natural world.  We reexamine our ethical convictions as our understanding of the natural world increases.

We believe that many apparent scientific references in our Bible and creeds are intended to be metaphorical in nature and should be considered as such.  We accept that apparent scientific references were included to help understand the religious principles, but not to teach science.
We find that as science expands human understanding of the natural world, our understanding of the mysteries that God has wrought is enhanced.db

In acknowledging the important roles of science and technology, however, we also believe that theological understandings of human experience are crucial to a full understanding of the place of humanity in the universe.  Science and theology are complementary rather than mutually incompatible.  We therefore encourage dialogue between the scientific and theological communities and seek the kind of participation that will enable humanity to sustain life on earth and, by God’s grace, increase the quality of our common lives together.

Rationale

This petition removes ambiguities that Christians face while wrestling with differences between literal Biblical interpretations and current scientific understandings.  Our concern is that Methodism articulate a position that avoids historical blunders, embraces the scientific knowledge of today, and does so without negating the beauty of our sacred textual metaphors.

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