Particles Physicist Priest on science and religion

Sat 08 Apr 2017
By Premier Journalist

A leading theologian has been telling Premier of his work as a particles physicist and how faith and science can co-exist.

Andrew Pinsent is Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at Oxford University, a Research Fellow of Harris Manchester College and a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at Oxford.

He is also a priest of the diocese of Arundel and Brighton in England.

He told Premier that the two can live side by side.

"I am interested in joint attention in psychology. For instance, when a baby points at something and asks "What is that?" it draws the attention of its that's joint attention.

"People with Autism do not have it.

"In prayer, we should be in joint attention, with God.

"It is a new area of science informing ancient theological ideas."

Fr Pinsent went on to say: "One can be a person of faith and of science, understanding what is the world made of at a very deep level."

Referring to his work at the Cern Laboratory in Geneva and the Hadron Collider, Fr Pinsent continued:

"It's like smashing a piano and listening to the sounds it makes. The collider is looking at the basement of reality, pattern and order. It doesn't lead to the proof of God but it ties in with the use of theological language."

Fr Pinsent acknowledged that there is a hostility in media and in schools to Faith and very young children have picked it up.

But, he says people need to know their history. "A lot of that hostility was a 19th Century creation and even goes back to the French Revolution when people were trying to distance themselves from Christianity."

"To people who say faith is being disproved by science, I say you should turn the question around: What do you mean about faith? What do you mean about science?

"It's important for Christians to study faith, science and is about measurement....but how things are measured doesn't get to what a thing is.

"Faith, essentially, is about a person's relation with God."

He added: "Day to day, Christians should find out about and understand evolution, but not be afraid of it and don't be hung up on literals."

He also said that science and the Big Bang theory can give credence to the Creation story.

"A sense of order in the Cosmos created by a loving God has helped form the way we see nature."

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