In his brilliant book, Morals Not Knowledge, John Evans has argued that
“Religion and science are the two great ways of understanding the world, but by understanding I mean the relationships between humans in the world and the relationship between humans and nature. These are stuff of morality….” John Evans
“Many Buddhists see no inherent conflict between their religious teachings and evolutionary theory. Indeed, according to some Buddhist thinkers, certain aspects of Darwin’s theory are consistent with some of the religion’s core teachings, such as the notion that all life is impermanent.” Pew ReportI mention this because if one begins with the connection of all sentient life, like Buddhism does, then it’s not hard to links to evolutionary thought. In fact, the Buddhist scholar Inoue Enryo argued that Buddhism can embrace evolutionary thought because it holds to “no sharp distinction between humans and animals as Christians claim….”
Christian ethics and science
Recently, when I was talking with a pastor who heads a Hispanic Christian ministry, he told me this, “Many Latinos drive trucks. And, in the next ten years, those jobs will be lost to Artificial Intelligence. I want to encourage my flock to be creating AI.” The effects of technology and science often displace jobs, and so we arrive at justice, one of the ethical foundations of Christianity (which it, of course, adapts from its Jewish roots).
Many believers see Christianity, like many other religions do, as a way of life, not ultimately intellectual content. Again to draw from Evans, “Evolution versus creation,” for example, isn’t ultimately about doctrine, in this view, but about the implications for ethics. Does the theory of natural selection lead us to see all people as simply the products of blind, undirected processes? Not really, as I've posted before, but that's where the conflict starts.
Among other insights from her social scientific research, Ecklund has similarly highlighted that Christians are particularly drawn to sciences that involve healing—i.e., ethical action in the world that reduces suffering. In her book Why Science and Faith Need Each Other, Ecklund observes that Christians and non-Christians both express “a great deal of confidence in medicine.” This correlates with a focus on Jesus, who is reported in the Gospels to be a healer. As Ecklund observes,
"Jesus’s ministry on earth involved touching those whom others would not touch, healing those whom others thought were beyond healing. Christians holding this theological view can see medical technologies as created by God for us to use to relieve our suffering and the suffering of others." Elaine Howard EcklundPhilip Clayton has highlighted stem cell research, warfare technology, CRISPR gene editing, and he reserves his attention for global climate and sets Christianity within the “three Abrahamic faiths [which] go back… to the Book of Genesis, which calls believers to cultivate care for the earth.” Nature for them is “a creation of God and therefore a thing of great value.” This indeed leads to ethical action not simply for other humans, but for the Earth.