St Andrew’s Episcopal Church, St Andrews

Living with Uncertainty – The Roles of Faith and Hope in Science and Christian Theology

SummaryChurch corner

Our starting point is the alleged dichotomy between science and religion: the former seen as a search for certain and verifiable truth – the latter based on unverifiable faith statements.  But this is a misleading and false dichotomy as a major challenge in science is how to manage uncertainty – both embedded within models and, more generally, living with the provisionality of research findings.  Via a series of workshops involving both scientists and theologians we will explore living with uncertainty in science alongside the Christian understanding of hope.

The workshops will include scientists from the physical, biological, environmental and social sciences who will explore the limits posed by embedded uncertainty in models and the provisionality of current knowledge specific to their field. The theologians will outline their understanding of Christian hope in light of these summaries of current scientific endeavour.  We will then jointly explore how the one can inform the other.  To broaden the scope of our workshops, three outside speakers will join us to cover fields not included in the group’s expertise and help critique our emerging findings.  As we jointly explore this interface, we anticipate interesting ethical questions arising from a clearer understanding of the provisionality of science viewed within a Christian understanding of hope.


Key QuestionsIMG_6244

  1. What is the nature of scientific knowledge and uncertainty?
  2. How do kinds of uncertainty differ both in terms of the fundamental nature of reality
  3. and the inexactness of the data used by scientists?
  4. How does a Christian understanding of hope differ from a secular one?
  5. What do we understand by hope in the present world and the new creation which is to come?