Reasons to Believe

Care to Worship at the Science Temple?

How's this for a house of worship: cathedral-style stained-glass windows patterned to show the cosmic microwave background radiation, a liturgy based on sounds of the big bang, and a creed.

Welcome to the Atheon, a temple designed by artist Jonathon Keats that opened September 27 in Berkeley, California (where else?). According to the host museum's website:

The Atheon is a secular temple devoted to scientific worship. Delivering spiritual fulfillment through exposure to the latest research in fields ranging from cosmology to quantum mechanics, the Atheon offers a nondenominational alternative to theocentric religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Our credo is to make faith rational.

What, exactly, is scientific worship? (Note that this is not a church of religious science or scientology.)

From the website it looks like there will be music as liturgy, a "canon for three cosmic voices titled, 'Why is there something rather than nothing?'" That doesn't sound too bad and it's one of the greatest questions of all time.

Based on the description above it looks like a researcher might serve as a preacher of sorts, expounding on the latest scientific forays into the beginning of the universe. In fact, extract two phrases from the description and here's what you get: "Delivering spiritual fulfillment through exposure to the latest research in fields ranging from cosmology to quantum mechanics," and "Our credo is to make faith rational." Hey, that sounds like RTB.

What then do the congregants, if there are any, do? Is there an order of service? A recitation of commonly held beliefs? It sure looks like a faith-based community, but faith in who or what?

Keats doesn't really explain (at least not in the linked article) what he means by worship, but he does say that he's concerned about the schism between science and religion and that the temple might be a place for thinking and asking questions, in the hope that "common ground can be found."

It seems the more one reads about such efforts, the more need there is for a truly integrative model, such as the one proffered by RTB scholars. Other approaches, like Keats' science worship model, redefine religionespecially Christianityand, hence, rob it of its power.

You can't help but recall the Scriptures in such instances.

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creatorwho is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:25)

It's never popular with non-Christians to quote Bible verses, but isn't the Bible validated over and over when human beings engage in such ventures?