Author, professor to lead discussion on science and religion

Holly Viers • Aug 25, 2019 at 1:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Can science and religion coexist?

That question will be the subject of “Religion, Science, & Beer” to be held at The Social next month.

Organized by First Broad Street United Methodist Church, the event will be led by Michael Peterson, an author and professor of philosophy at Asbury Theological Seminary.

“He believes that the best of religion and the best of science are compatible,” said Nathan Flora, executive director at First Broad Street. “We wanted to bring him to town to share that with our community as a way to reach out to people who may have found the church to be either anti-science or anti-intellectual to know there’s an alternative perspective, that indeed science and religion can be compatible.”

How can people attend?

The free event will be held Sept. 19 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at The Social, located at 240 E. Main St. Free appetizers and drinks will be provided, but RSVPs are required at ReligionScienceBeer.com.

Peterson will be available after the event to answer individual questions. He will also speak at First Broad Street on Sept. 18 at 6:15 p.m. and at Emmanuel Christian Seminary on Sept. 19 at 11 a.m.

What should you expect?

Described as an “intellectual discussion,” “Religion, Science & Beer” will be the first event of its kind, although the church has previously held similar events on other topics. Peterson will discuss the tension between science and religion and explain how they can work together.

“How do you reconcile a good God with the pain we see in the world? How do you reconcile what the Bible tells us about creation versus what science tells us?” asked Missy Belote, associate pastor at First Broad Street. “He takes a very intellectual, philosophical approach, which doesn’t mean boring. I think it means kind of surprising, because a lot of people outside the church see the church as anti-intellectual, and I think it’s just the opposite — that our brains are a gift from God, so we should engage those with science.”

What is the goal?

Flora and Belote hope people will leave the discussion with an open mind and an understanding that the church welcomes thinkers.

“I hope that people who appreciate science and a variety of intellectual exploits would see that God is in the midst of that and that maybe those aren’t mutually exclusive,” Flora said.