Why all the fighting?

Why All the Fighting? The Science-Religion War from an LDS Perspective

[Presentation to LDS Singles, Oakland, California, 15 May 2011 by David H. Bailey]


I am sure everyone will agree that a broad understanding of modern science is indispensable in today’s society, just to be competitive in today’s high-tech job market if nothing else. From a broader perspective, it is essential that people from all walks of life be well informed on scientific matters, in light of the many challenges that the world now faces.

The methodology of modern science has been remarkably successful in uncovering the workings of the earth and universe about us. Just in the past half-century science has unlocked the code of life, traced the history of the universe, and discovered a set of mathematical laws that explain, at a fundamental level, virtually all known physical phenomena with remarkable precision. It is increasingly clear that any person or any person or movement that opposes the progress of modern science is simply digging a pit for themselves. Indeed, the progress of modern science brings to mind a passage from the LDS Doctrine and Covenants, “As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven.” [D&C 121:33]

On the other hand, it is also clear that religion plays a similarly important function in the lives of the vast majority of people worldwide. Over 92% of Americans affirm some belief in God. This includes, amusingly enough, 21% of persons who describe themselves as atheists and 55% of those who describe themselves as agnostics. What’s more, 39% of Americans (including 37% of atheists and 48% of agnostics – more than the population at large) say that they experience a “deep sense of wonder about the universe” on at least a weekly basis [Pew2008]. One scientific colleague of mine, who hasn’t practiced conventional religion for many years, nonetheless told me that with regards to the magnificence of the universe and the elegance of scientific laws, he is a “devoted worshipper.”

I myself am a scientist, in part, because of my great reverence for the beauty of nature and its laws. I feel truly fortunate to live in an exciting time of scientific discovery. I recall while in junior high school being so enthralled by science that I spent many afternoons reading math and physics books in the local public library. Similarly, I have always been moved by the beauty of nature. I love hiking in the hills of the San Francisco Bay Area and also in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I try to hike to the summit of Half Dome once every year. At my home and office I have posted numerous photos of Yosemite and other national parks, including Arches and Zion in Utah. To me, nature is a religious experience.

There are those who argue that religion is no longer relevant, that religion is just going to fade away. I personally find such claims absurd. For one thing, even speaking from a completely secular point of view, it is indisputable that religion has inspired some of the world’s greatest art and literature. This is abundantly clear from a stroll through any of Europe’s great art galleries. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel paintings are among the most revered works in all the world of art. The works of Shakespeare are filled with religion, particularly well-known plays such as Macbeth and Hamlet. Johann Sebastian Bach, who is widely regarded as the greatest composer of history, composed over 1000 pieces of religious music, including the Mass in B-Minor, arguably the single greatest work of classical music. I have the works of Bach stored on my iPhone, and I have listened to the entire collection at least twice.

Even in our own time, religion continues to inspire great art and music. As a single example, the modern musical Les Miserables is chock-full of religious messages. One of the most memorable songs from Les Miserables is, quite literally, a prayer by the lead character Jean Valjean, which begins, “God on high, hear my prayer; in my need, you have always been there.” Another memorable number, just before the grand finale, includes the words, “Take my hand and lead me to salvation. Take my love, for love is everlasting. And remember the truth that once was spoken: To love another person is to see the face of God!” When Les Miserables first opened in London, the initial press reviews, on the morning after the opening night, panned the show. Producer Cameron Mackintosh, fearing the worst, called the ticket office. When he finally reached someone, he was told that they were surprised he could get through their phones lines at all – they had never seen such a response from the public. That was more than 25 years ago, and the show is still running, the longest-running musical theater production in history, having been seen by 60 million persons worldwide. Recently some of you may have seen the PBS telecast of a special 25th anniversary concern of Les Miserables. Even though my wife and I have seen the show before, we were so enthralled with the broadcast that we ordered the Blu-Ray version and have seen it several more times at home. It is undeniably a powerfully work of music, and there is no question that its highly spiritual message is the key to its success, even in this secular age.

Finally, religion has played an enormous role throughout history as a governor of moral conduct. As historians Will and Ariel Durant explained, “Even the skeptical historian develops a humble respect for religion, since he sees it functioning, and seemingly indispensable, in every land and age. … There is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion.” [Durant1968, pg. 43, 51].

The “war” between science and religion

Unfortunately, beginning several decades ago, but with greater intensity in the past few years, a “war” is being waged between certain religious figures on one hand and certain atheist scholars on the other. One of very few points of agreement between these two camps is that you must accept one and utterly reject the other – there is no middle ground. Battles simmer over the teaching of certain topics in public schools. Some scientists with religious faith feel they must live double lives, not mentioning their religious beliefs to their colleagues. Some families fear that if their son or daughter goes to college in a scientific field, that the youngster will lose his or her religious faith. And many college students do experience crises of faith, in part because they have only heard this all-or-nothing rhetoric.

One camp in this “war” consists mostly, although not exclusively, of Protestant fundamentalists. In keeping with their inflexible belief that the Bible is complete and without error, many of these people insist that God created not only the earth but also the entire universe a few thousand years ago, either instantaneously or in six 24-hour days. Others in this camp are more accepting of modern scientific findings, but still hold that science is the “enemy,” utterly incompatible with religion, and therefore one must choose religion or science, but definitely not both [Truck2010]. They even go so far as to criticize by name some of those scientists and religious figures who have taken a more moderate position. They blame scientists for the moral decline of society and accuse scientists of deliberately hiding the “truth.” One of these writers, in a single breathtaking sentence, blamed science for “racism, fascism, Marxism, imperialism, … Freudianism, promiscuity, abortion, homosexuality [and] drug use” (did he leave anything out?) [Morris1997].

The other camp in this war consists a group of atheist scholars. In a series of recent books and articles, they attack not only religious fundamentalists, such as those mentioned above, but also anyone who takes religion seriously, which would include, presumably, most people in this audience. Amusingly enough, these atheist authors often criticize some of the same moderates who have been criticized by the religious writers. One of these atheists, again in a single breathtaking sentence, decried religion as “violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children.” (did he leave anything out?) [Hitchens2007, pg. 56]. Along this same line, a prominent biologist, whom I otherwise admire, recently asked us to imagine “a world with no religion … no suicide bombers, no 9/11, … no persecution of Jews as ‘Christ killers,’ … no shiny-suited bouffant-haired televangelists fleecing gullible people of their money.” [Dawkins2006, pg. 23-24].

So what are we to make of this “war”? Are all religious believers ignorant of modern science? Are all scientists atheists? Is it necessary to “check [your] brains at the church-house door,” as someone once claimed? I truly believe there is a solid basis for harmony between science and religion. Furthermore, I see no reason for this “war,” either from a scientific or a religious perspective. Let me explain.

Leading scientists on the war

First of all, it is important to recognize that there are many leading scientists, including quite a few LDS scientists, who have publicly declared their religious faith. The following is from Francis Collins, Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the former Director of the Human Genome Project, as well as an evangelical Protestant: “In my view, there is no conflict in being a rigorous scientist and a person who believes in a God who takes a personal interest in each one of us. Science’s domain is to explore nature. God’s domain is in the spiritual world, a realm not possible to explore with the tools and language of science.” [Collins2006, pg. 6].

A second example is by Kenneth Miller, a prominent biologist and author of a widely used biology textbook, who is also a Roman Catholic. He wrote the following: “I think by revealing a world that is infinitely more complex and infinitely more varied and creative than we had ever believed before, in a way [science] deepens our faith and our appreciation for the author of that nature, the author of that physical universe. And to people of faith, that author is God.” [Miller2007].

I myself grew up in Provo, Utah and attended Brigham Young University as an undergraduate. I studied biology, evolution, physics and mathematics, among other courses, and I worked as a research assistant with some of the faculty. In the process I became acquainted with quite a few of these scientists, and some are friends to this day. In all my conversations with them, I never once sensed any need for “war” between science and religion. I was not even aware of a “war” until after I left BYU.

Creationism and intelligent design

I mentioned groups who are opposed to modern science. They are often known as “creationists” and “intelligent design” advocates, although these terms are somewhat unfortunate, because otherwise they would describe many people like me. While some these writers may have some useful insights, I personally am not a fan of them. I won’t go into the technical reasons here. For me, the basic issue is that I can’t accept their fundamental premise that science and religion must be at war.

Why would God create a world governed by elegant natural laws, and yet be displeased if we discover some of these laws? Why would God bless us with an astonishingly high level of intelligence, if he doesn’t intend for us to use that intelligence to understand the natural world around us? Why say “God did it,” but then place all the grand questions of our existence off-limits to human inquiry? Do these groups really prefer a deity of caprice and mystery? Would such a being even be worthy of our reverence or obedience?

The last straw for me is the notion, taught by some of these writers, that the world may appear to be very old and governed by natural laws, but this is merely because God created the world to look this way. In other words, when we analyze a rock, using the latest state-of-the-art equipment, it may appear to be millions of years old, but it really isn’t. Or when we view a distant galaxy in a telescope, those photons may look like they came from a galaxy millions of light-years away, but they really aren’t. In short, these groups teach, in effect, that God is a Great Deceiver. This goes against everything I believe, including “the glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words light and truth.” [D&C 93:36].

A few years ago, while discussing some of these issues in an online forum, one of the participants, who had read some material on a creationist website, criticized the scientific methods used to measure the dates of rocks and geological eras. I responded, tongue-in-cheek, that he should immediately write up his material and submit it to a leading scientific journal – there is not a moment to lose – because he would then become world-famous for overturning major scientific theories. Everyone had a good laugh. But the message is clear: Technical issues such as the age of rock layers and the nature of biological species have been studied in detail by thousands of scientists in hundreds of thousands of scientific articles. So whether or not one fully agrees with these findings, it is both futile and presumptuous to think that one can, in a few sentences or paragraphs, overturn the consensus of a community of scientists, particularly if one lacks research credentials in these fields. Jesus praised peacemakers and taught us to be humble. So let’s leave science to scientists, and not join the “war.”

Along this line, some have suggested that there is a “conspiracy” among scientists to keep the “truth” from the public. I have always been amused by such claims. A few years ago, I became involved in a discussion over some proposed legislation on high school science material. One Utah legislator suggested to me, by email, that there was a conspiracy among leading scientists on the topic of evolution. I responded, tongue-in-cheek, “You have no idea how humiliating this is to me – there is a conspiracy among leading scientists, but no one considered me important enough to be included.”

Even philosophers have a hard time understanding why there should be a “war” between science and religion. To search for phenomena that cannot be explained by natural laws, in an attempt to “prove” the hand of God, is almost a contradiction in terms. Science is the search for natural laws underlying the natural world, so science cannot comment one way or the other on the existence of a supernatural being.

From a theological point of view, attempting to “prove” the hand of God is equivalent to claiming that faith is not essential. Jesus himself condemned those who seek signs [Matt. 16:4; Luke 11:29]. In a similar vein, the scriptures were never intended to be read as scientific treatises. I recently searched the scriptures looking for passages that had solid scientific content. While there are a few passages, mostly these are highly poetic verses only intended to convey the greatness of God. I was unable to find a single passage that contains quantitative data or analysis typical of a modern scientific journal paper.

The “new atheists”

As mentioned above, recently several prominent scientists and scholars have attacked a broad range of religious beliefs as being incoherent and even harmful. A while back I decided that I should at least understand what these writers have to say, so I read some of this material. I was not impressed. Just as many of the religious fundamentalists are clearly amateurish in their attacks on science, so these atheist scholars are clearly amateurish in their attacks on religion.

Some of their criticisms must be acknowledged: there are some internal contradictions, translation errors and historical difficulties in the Bible (these were acknowledged even by early LDS leaders such as Joseph Smith). Also, it is true that numerous wars have been fought in the name of religion. But the writings of these atheist authors do not provide any new insights on these topics. No one who has studied the history of religion will be impressed by this superficial and polemic material.

It is worth pointing out that numerous scholars, including scientists, historians and theologians, have published highly critical reviews of these books. One key weakness they have noted is that the atheist scholars presume that the empirical world studied by modern science comprises all of truth and reality. It may be easy to dismiss religion from this worldview, but it is just as easy to dismiss art, literature, music, philosophy, ethics and many other fields. For that matter, these writers’ own worldview would itself have to be rejected, since it cannot be derived from experimental science, and thus must be accepted on faith. If nothing else, the abrasive style of these atheist writers is quite unbecoming of serious scholars — if they were to use this rhetoric in a scientific paper, it would be immediately rejected.

Modern physics, astronomy and cosmology

It is amusing that while atheists and fundamentalists have been battling over issues such as the age of the earth and evolution, some far more interesting developments have been emerging in the fields of physics and astronomy. In particular, scientific researchers have noted various “cosmic coincidences,” suggesting that our earth and universe have been exceedingly finely tuned to permit the emergence of intelligent life. Some scientists have tried to explain these facts by proposing a huge set of outside universes, saying that the reason our particular earth and universe is so finely tuned for life is because if they were not, we would not exist to be here to discuss the issue. But even these explanations, which many scientists regard as highly unsatisfactory, still fall short of answering the question “Why does the universe harbor intelligent life?” As Paul Davies, a prominent physicist, recently explained: “In order to explain a bio-friendly universe, [this theory] merely requires observers to observe. It is not necessary for observers to understand. Yet humans do. Why?” [Davies2007, pg. 231].

As intriguing as these discussions are, however, they still leave a religious-minded person with some emptiness. Does the “God of the big bang” truly coincide with the compassionate, weeping God described in Psalms, the Gospel of John, or in the Book of Moses? Is this the God that inspired Albert Schweitzer and Mother Theresa, not to mention thousands of LDS missionaries around the world, to serve the poor and unfortunate? Probably not. Also, we must keep in mind that attempts to “prove” God via arguments based on science are likely to disappoint in the long run.

An LDS perspective

Most of the above discussion applies to persons from a broad range of Jewish or Christian backgrounds. Let us now examine these issues from an LDS perspective. LDS leaders through the years have expressed various opinions on scientific questions, but they are unanimous in saying that science and religion are not at war, but instead are part of a great system of eternal truth. In particular, they have always seen God as working in accord with, not in violation of, natural law. Here are three examples:

“Yet I will say with regard to miracles, there is no such thing save to the ignorant.” (Brigham Young) [Young1869].

“Among the popular errors of modern times, an opinion prevails that miracles are events which transpire contrary to the laws of nature, that they are effects without a cause. If such is the fact, then, there never has been a miracle, and there never will be one. … A law of nature never has been broken.” (Parley P. Pratt) [Pratt1891, pg. 102].

“Miracles are commonly regarded as occurrences in opposition to the laws of nature. Such a conception is plainly erroneous, for the laws of nature are inviolable.” (James E. Talmage) [Talmage1966, pg. 220].

Recall the fundamental premise of those groups waging war against science, namely that God is utterly beyond from the realm of the natural universe and natural law. This approach, in effect, forces religion into the holes of present-day scientific ignorance – a “God of the gaps” theology – which is hardly a viable philosophy as science continues to advance. In contrast, the LDS notion of a God who works within the bounds of eternal law completely removes any need for a war between science and religion. It is a pity that more LDS people aren’t aware of the advantages of this fundamental worldview.

Two topics that always come up in these discussions are the age of the earth and evolution. Some LDS leaders have questioned these scientific theories, but others have been quite accepting. Elder B. H. Roberts had this to say:

“On the other hand, to limit and insist upon the whole of life and death to this side of Adam’s advent to the earth, some six or eight thousand years ago, as proposed by some, is to fly in the face of the facts so indisputably brought to light by the researcher of science in modern times. … To pay attention to and give reasonable credence to their research and findings is to link the church of God with the highest increase of human thought and effort. On that side lies development, on the other lies contraction. It is on the former side that research work is going on and will continue to go on, future investigation and discoveries will continue on that side, nothing will retard them, and nothing will develop on the other side. One leads to narrow sectarianism, the other keeps the open spirit of a world movement with which our New Dispensation began. As between them which is to be our choice? [Roberts1931, pg. 364].

Elder James E. Talmage, the author of Jesus the Christ, wrote the following:

“According to the conception of geologists the earth passed through ages of preparation, to us unmeasured and immeasurable, during which countless generations of plants and animals existed in great variety and profusion and gave in part the very substance of their bodies to help form certain strata which are still existent as such. … What a fascinating story is inscribed upon the stony pages of the earth’s crust! … The opening chapters of Genesis, and scriptures related thereto, were never intended as a textbook of geology, archaeology, earth-science or man-science. … We do not show reverence for the scriptures when we misapply them through faulty interpretation.” [Talmage1931].

One final quote here from former LDS Pres. Ezra Taft Benson should suffice to settle any question as whether the LDS Church endorses a war between science and religion:

“Religion and science have sometimes been in apparent conflict. Yet the conflict should only be apparent, not real for science should seek truth, and true religion is truth. There can never be conflict between revealed religion and scientific fact. … There can be no conflict. Time is on the side of truth – for truth is eternal.” [Benson1966].

With regards to the LDS Church’s official view on matters such as evolution, as far as I have been able to determine the latest word is the following, which is taken from a brief article, originally sketched by President Hinckley and later published in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. This article in turn quotes from a 1931 First Presidency letter: “Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored gospel to the world. Leave geology, biology, archaeology, and anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our calling in the realm of the Church.” [Evenson1991].

The idea of progress

We have discussed several approaches that are not recommended as a basis for finding an intellectually honest basis for harmony between science and religion. Can anything positive be said in this regard?

There is one fundamental sense in which science can be seen to be partners with religion: the “idea of progress.” Scholar Robert Nisbet defines the idea of progress as the notion that “mankind has advanced in the past, from barbarism and ignorance, is now advancing, and will continue to advance through the foreseeable future.” [Nisbet1980, pg. 3-4]. Does this sound familiar? Indeed it does – it is virtually a restatement of the LDS Ninth Article of Faith. When I first read Nisbet, I was startled at the similarity.

Closely connected with this concept is the Judeo-Christian belief that God governs the world based on a system of rational laws. British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead noted that modern science, as it developed in the West, was based on a faith in rationality. [Whitehead1967, pg. 17-19, 27]. Similarly, physicist Paul Davies wonders whether modern science would ever have evolved in the absence of Judeo-Christian theism: “Without minds prepared by the cultural antecedents of Greek philosophy and monothesism (or something similar) – and in particular the abstract notion of a system of hidden mathematical laws – science as we know it may never have emerged.” [Davies2010, pg. 24-25].

In the early twentieth century, French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin argued that human progress was inexorable, virtually mandated by the natural laws of the universe. He further saw the idea of progress as the one theme that could re-unify science and religion: “To incorporate the progress of the world in our picture of the kingdom of God … would immediately and radically put an end to the internal conflict from which we are suffering.” [Teilhard1975, pg. 96]. Similarly, the contemporary scholar Robert Wright recently described an ever-widening picture of human cooperation and progress, extending over several millennia, encompassing both religion and modern science:

“The direction of history is unmistakable. When you look beneath the roiled surface of human events, beyond the comings and goings of particular regimes, beyond the lives and deaths of the ‘great men’ who have strutted on the stage of history, you see an arrow beginning tens of thousands of years ago and continuing to the present. And, looking ahead, you see where it is pointing. … Maybe history is … not so much the product of divinity as the realization of divinity.” [Wright2001, pg. 17, 332].

Ending the war

So is there any prospect for peace in this “war”?

In my view, the main solution here is simply to recognize that while both science and religion are committed to the quest for truth, at our present state of ignorance they are better treated as two separate worlds, since they address mostly different questions and employ mostly different methods. Recall when Jesus was asked whether Jews should pay taxes to Rome. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus replied, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” [Matt. 22:21]. Similar advice could be offered here: “Render unto science the things which are scientific; and unto religion the things that are religious.” In other words, those of religious backgrounds need to grant technical questions of the natural world, such as when and how the earth was created, to the field of scientific research, and stop insisting that the scriptures are scientific textbooks (they aren’t). And those of scientific backgrounds need to grant questions of the ultimate meaning of life and moral conduct to the world of enlightened religion, and stop insisting that science can displace religion, art, music, literature, philosophy and morality (it can’t).

Along this line, it is worth recalling a lesson from the great ancient mathematician Euclid, whose work even today is the basis of the course on Geometry that many of you took in high school. According to an ancient account, when Pharaoh Ptolemy I of Egypt grew frustrated at the degree of effort required to master geometry, he asked Euclid whether there was some easier path. Euclid is said to have replied, “There is no royal road to geometry.”

Today we see new attempts to find “royal roads” – quick, easy paths to short-circuit the long, difficult process that is necessary to master a field. Some criticize theories of biology, geology or astronomy, even though they lack the specialized expertise required to make such a judgment. Similarly, others criticize and dismiss religion, even though they have never devoted themselves to religious pursuits and have never seriously studied theology or religious history. Both groups are equally guilty of stepping beyond their realms of expertise.

Some have said that religion is characterized by blind faith. Yet this is not what we read in the scriptures. First Thessalonians tells us to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” [1 Thes. 5:21]. Similarly, the Book of Mormon encourages us to “experiment to know if the seed [of faith] was good” [Alma 32:21-43]. In a similar way, science is not completely a matter of cold, rational thinking. Instead, all scientific discoveries begin with an inner conviction that is quite similar to religious faith, and ultimately all science is based on an underlying faith that the universe is governed by rational laws.

We must keep in mind that modern science cannot “prove” that God exists, but neither can it “prove” that there is no transcendent being overseeing creation. Science has proven to be a powerful tool to probe the workings of the universe, but it can say nothing about the ultimate purpose of the universe, nor can it provide any fundamental direction for morality, ethics or the meaning of life. Similarly, prophets since the beginning of civilization have probed the grand questions of our existence, but the scriptures provide no clues as to the mass of the electron or the equations of general relativity. In general, there is nothing in modern science that is fundamentally anti-religious or in any way negates the many positive aspects of living a moral, charitable, purposeful life; and there is nothing in modern religion, and most certainly not in the LDS religion, that is fundamentally anti-science or should in any way stand in the way of scientific progress.


In short, it is not only futile for religion and science to battle each other, but it is also unnecessary and counter-productive. Most major religious denominations, including the LDS Church, have made peace with the scientific world, or at least have recognized that it is unwise to take sides on scientific questions. Many leading scientists affirm a religious faith. And both scientists and nonscientists can stand in awe at the majesty of the universe, which is now known to be much vaster, more intricate and more magnificent than ever before realized in human history.

Some of you may recall the movie “Contact.” When Eleanor Arroway (the lead character played by Jodi Foster) saw a spiral galaxy from her spacecraft, she exclaimed, “They should have sent a poet. [It’s] so beautiful!” In a similar way, we read in Psalms, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” [Psalms 19:1].

Albert Einstein understood this principle well, even though he personally had difficulties with traditional notions of God. He once wrote,

“On the other hand, I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research. … Those whose acquaintance with scientific research is derived chiefly from its practical results easily develop a completely false notion of the mentality of the men who, surrounded by a skeptical world, have shown the way to kindred spirits scattered wide through the world and through the centuries. Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men and given them the strength to remain true to their purpose in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength.” [Einstein1930].

So there is no need for a “war” between science and religion, certainly not for LDS people whose religious tradition sees God as working in accord with natural laws and processes. God gave us minds that can think and explore, and so there is nothing that should hold us back from thinking and exploring. Hugh B. Brown, a counselor in the LDS First Presidency under Pres. David O. McKay, once declared,

“We should all be interested in academic research. We must go out on the research front and continue to explore the vast unknown. We should be in the forefront of learning in all fields, for revelation does not come only through the prophet of God nor only directly from heaven in visions or dreams. Revelation may come in the laboratory, out of the test tube, out of the thinking mind and the inquiring soul, out of search and research and prayer and inspiration.” [Brown1988].

Not all of us can be professional research scientists, but there are many other ways to find God. Some of us may be deeply inspired by great literature, art or music. Others of us may be deeply moved by the beauty of nature. Many of us find God in love and service: “To love another person is to see the face of God.” Others find God in fervent prayer. I hope that each of you can experience the divine in your own way, and in your own time.


[Benson1966] Ezra Taft Benson, LDS Conference Report, Apr. 1966, pg. 129.

[Brown1988] Hugh B. Brown, “A Final Testimony,” from Edwin B. Firmage, ed., The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown: An Abundant Life, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, UT, 1988.

[Collins2006] Francis S. Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Free Press, New York, 2006.

[Davies2007] Paul Davies, Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe Is Just Right for Life, Houghton Mifflin, New York, 2007.

[Davies2010] Paul Davies, The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, 2010.

[Dawkins2006] Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Mariner Books, New York, 2006.

[Durant1968] Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1968.

[Einstein1930] Albert Einstein, “Religion and Science,” New York Times Magazine, 9 Nov 1930, reprinted in Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, Crown Publishers, New York, 1954, pg. 36-40.

[Evenson1991] William Evenson, “Evolution,” from Daniel Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Macmillian, NY, 1991. Although Evenson is listed as the author, the article’s content was specified almost word-for-word by Gordon B. Hinckley, who provided the 1931 letter from the LDS First Presidency files.

[Hitchens2007] Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Twelve Books, Hachette Book Group, New York, 2007.

[McKay1952] David O. McKay, “A Message for LDS College Youth,” BYU devotional talk, Oct. 10, 1952, pg. 6-7. See also the LDS Conference Report, Apr. 1968, pg. 92.

[Miller2007] Kenneth Miller, “In Defense of Evolution,” 1 Oct 2007, available at Online article.

[Morris1997] John D. Morris, “Why Should a Christian Believe in Creation?,” Oct 1997, available at Online article.

[Nisbet1980] Robert Nisbet, History of the Idea of Progress, Basic Books, New York, 1980; reprinted by Transaction Publishers, Piscataway, NJ, 1993.

[Pew2008] Pew2008] [no author] “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey,” Pew Research Center, June 2008, available at Online article.

[Pratt1891] Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, 1891.

[Roberts1931] B. H. Roberts, The Truth, the Way, the Life, originally written 1931, published by Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, UT, 1994.

[Talmage1931] James E. Talmage, “The Earth and Man,” address delivered in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, 9 Aug 1931, and published by the LDS Church under direction of the First Presidency.

[Talmage1966] James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, Deseret Book, SLC, 1966, originally published 1899.

[Teilhard1975] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Rene Hague (trans.), Toward the Future, Collins, London, 1975].

[Truck2010] James F. Truck, “What Did Jesus Say About Evolution?,” 26 Nov 2010, available at http://www.realtruth.org/articles/101126-001-science.html.

[Whitehead1967] Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, Free Press, New York, 1967 (originally published 1925).

[Wright2001] Robert Wright, Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Vintage Press, New York, 2001.

[Young1869] Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, pg. 140 – p.141, July 11, 1869.

Comments are closed.