Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
43 (4), December 2008

Table of Contents

Editorial

The Challenge of Self-Conceiving: Bridging Myth and Science by Philip Hefner

A recent discussion by philosopher Owen Flanagan has been replaying in my mind for some months now. It deals with the tension between basic images that inform how we think about ourselves—how we self-conceive. Two ideal types of images offer themselves to us for self-conceiving, both embodied in traditions of reflection that have emerged in the history of our conscious thought: (1) prescientific images that have emerged in our millennia-long history of engaging the world around us and our own basic human nature and (2) images based on modern scientific thinking. I am convinced that working through this tension is a central issue in the engagement of religion and science. The prescientific images (Flanagan calls them the “original” images) are carried preeminently by religious traditions, and they come to us in myth, art, epic, fables, poetry, music, and practices of morality and spirituality.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00958.x

Thinkpiece

Increasing Our Compassion Footprint: The Animals’ Manifesto by Marc Bekoff

Abstract:
Our relationships with animals are wide-ranging. When people tell me that they love animals and then harm or kill them I tell them I’m glad they don’t love me. Many individuals, including scientists, ignore their responsibility when they interact with animals and fail to recognize that doing something in the name of science, which usually means in the name of humans, is not an adequate reason for intentionally causing suffering, pain, or death. “Good welfare” usually is not “good enough”. Existing regulations allow animals to be treated in regrettable ways that demean us as a species. Compassion is the key for bettering both animal and human lives. A good way to make the world a more compassionate place for animals is to increase our compassion footprint. We could begin by deciding that we will not intrude on animals’ lives unless our actions are in the best interests of the animals irrespective of our desires. It is simple to make more compassionate choices about what we eat and wear and how we educate students, conduct research, and entertain ourselves at the expense of animals. The time to make these changes is long overdue.
Keywords:
animal emotions • animal protection • animal rights • animal sentience • animal welfare • anthropomorphism • anthrozoology • carbon footprint • cognitive ethology • compassion • compassion credits • compassion footprint • empathy • human-animal relationships
Marc Bekoff (http://literati.net/Bekoff) is professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Boulder, CO 80309-0334; e-mail: marc.bekoff @ gmail.com.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00959.x

Biomedical Ethics

Muslim Perspectives on Stem Cell Research and Cloning by Fatima Agha Al-Hayani

Abstract:
In Islam, the acquisition of knowledge is a form of worship. But human achievement must be exercised in conformity with God’s will. Warnings against feelings of superiority often are coupled with the command to remain within the confines of God’s laws and limits. Because of the fear of arrogance and disregard of the balance created by God, any new knowledge or discovery must be applied with careful consideration to maintaining balance in the creation. Knowledge must be applied to ascertain equity and justice for all of humanity. Research in Islam must be linked to the broad ethical base set forth in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Whether embryonic stem cell research or cloning is ethically acceptable in Islam depends on the benefits derived from such applications. What is most important for the scholars is to adhere to the concepts of compassion, mercy, and benefit to everyone.
Keywords:
biomedical ethics • cloning • fatwah (legal ruling of Muslim scholars) • Hadith (saying of the Prophet Muhammad) • Islamic Law • ijtihad (study of Islamic principles to derive legal opinions from the law) • maslahah (consideration of public interest) • nutfah (zygote) • pursuit of knowledge • Qur’an • stem cell research • Sunnah (supported statements and actions of the Prophet)
Fatima Agha Al-Hayani is a lecturer and court expert on Islamic Jurisprudence, particularly Islamic Family Law, and a presenter of workshops on Islam, Islamic Law, Women in Islam and in the Arab World, the Middle Eastern History, Society, and Culture. Her mailing address is 2323 E. Grecourt Dr., Toledo, OH 43615; e-mail: alhayanis @ buckeye-access.com.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00960.x

Neuroscientific Insights on Biblical Myth

Simplifying Heuristics versus Careful Thinking: Scientific Analysis of Millennial Spiritual Issues by Daniel S. Levine and Leonid I. Perlovsky

Abstract:
There is ample evidence that humans (and other primates) possess a knowledge instinct—a biologically driven impulse to make coherent sense of the world at the highest level possible. Yet behavioral decision-making data suggest a contrary biological drive to minimize cognitive effort by solving problems using simplifying heuristics. Individuals differ, and the same person varies over time, in the strength of the knowledge instinct. Neuroimaging studies suggest which brain regions might mediate the balance between knowledge expansion and heuristic simplification. One region implicated in primary emotional experience is more activated in individuals who use primitive heuristics, whereas two areas of the cortex are more activated in individuals with a strong knowledge drive: one region implicated in detecting risk or conflict and another implicated in generating creative ideas. Knowledge maximization and effort minimization are both evolutionary adaptations, and both are valuable in different contexts. Effort minimization helps us make minor and routine decisions efficiently, whereas knowledge maximization connects us to the beautiful, to the sublime, and to our highest aspirations. We relate the opposition between the knowledge instinct and heuristics to the biblical story of the fall, and argue that the causal scientific worldview is mathematically equivalent to teleological arguments from final causes. Elements of a scientific program are formulated to address unresolved issues.
Keywords:
amygdala • anterior cingulate cortex • beautiful • biblical story of the fall • brain • causality • cognitive science • creativity • decision making • dorsolateral prefrontal cortex • effort minimization • emotions • evolutionary adaptations • frontal lobes • heuristics • knowledge instinct • neural networks • original sin • psychology • risk • sublime • teleology
Daniel S. Levine is a professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019-0528; e-mail: levine @ uta.edu. Leonid I. Perlovsky is Visiting Scholar at Harvard University and Technical Advisor for the Air Force Research Laboratory, SN, Hanscom AFB, MA 01731; e-mail: leonid @ seas.harvard.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00961.x

Kenôsis, Anamnçsis, and Our Place in History: A Neurophenomenological Account by Roland Karo and Meelis Friedenthal

Abstract:
We assess St. Paul’s account of kenôsis in Philippians 2:5-8 from a neurophenomenological horizon. We argue that kenôsis is not primarily a unique event but belongs to a class of experiences that could be called kenotic and are, at least in principle, to some degree accessible to all human beings. These experiences can be well analyzed, making use of both a phenomenological approach and the cognitive neuroscience of altered states of consciousness. We argue that kenotic experiences are ecstatic, in that they involve—both phenomenologically and neurologically—one’s “stepping out of” his/her self and history. This seemingly impossible task of stepping out has led to the understanding of kenôsis as a unique event. We conclude that kenotic experiences are continuous with common, everyday experiences of the self’s intimate communion with everything that exists. This means that kenotic Christology does not necessarily have to rest solely on the scriptures but can also be arrived at by way of the worldly experiences of actual, living persons.
Keywords:
altered states of consciousness • Christology • cognitive neuroscience of religion • kenôsis • mysticism • neurotheology • phenomenology • religion and science
Roland Karo and Meelis Friedenthal work as research fellows in systematic theology at the University of Tartu, Estonia. Their mailing address is Faculty of Theology, ülikooli 18, Tartu, 50090, Estonia, EU; e-mail: roland.karo @ mail.ee.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00962.x

Neuroscience and Spirituality

Implications of Interpersonal Neurobiology for a Spirituality of Compassion by Andrea Hollingsworth

Abstract:
Interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB) is a burgeoning interdisciplinary field that focuses on ways in which relationships shape and transform the architecture and functioning of the human brain. IPNB points to four specific conditions that appear to encourage the emergence of empathy. Further, these conditions, when gathered together, may constitute the core components of a spirituality of compassion. Following definitions and a discussion of interdisciplinary method, this essay delineates IPNB’s main tenets and demonstrates ways in which IPNB sheds light on important aspects of human empathy and compassion. Drawing on this analysis, it introduces the four conditions that encourage the emergence of empathy in individuals and groups and shows why they may be central elements of a spirituality of compassion. A case study, in which the Native American Ojibwe practice of the talking circle is described and assessed through the lens of the IPNB-derived spirituality of compassion, demonstrates the evaluative usefulness of this set of conditions.
Keywords:
attachment theory • attunement • brain • compassion • empathy • interpersonal neurobiology • mind • mindfulness • Native American • neuroscience • plasticity • psychology • spiritual practices • spirituality
Andrea Hollingsworth is a Ph.D. student in constructive theology at Loyola University Chicago, Crown Center for Humanities, 6525 North Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60626; e-mail: ahollin @ luc.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00963.x

Support for a Neuropsychological Model of Spirituality in Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury by Brick Johnstone and Bret A. Glass

Abstract:
Recent research suggests that spiritual experiences are related to increased physiological activity of the frontal and temporal lobes and decreased activity of the right parietal lobe. The current study determined if similar relationships exist between self-reported spirituality and neuropsychological abilities associated with those cerebral structures for persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Participants included 26 adults with TBI referred for neuropsychological assessment. Measures included the Core Index of Spirituality (INSPIRIT); neuropsychological indices of cerebral structures: temporal lobes (Wechsler Memory Scale-III), right parietal lobe (Judgment of Line Orientation), and frontal lobes (Trail Making Test, Controlled Oral Word Association Test). As hypothesized, spirituality was significantly negatively correlated with a measure of right parietal lobe functioning and positively correlated (nonsignificantly) with measures of left temporal lobe functioning. Contrary to hypotheses, correlations between spirituality and measures of frontal lobe functioning were zero or negative (and nonsignificant). The data support a neuropsychological model that proposes that spiritual experiences are related to decreased activity of the right parietal lobe, which may be associated with decreased awareness of the self (transcendence) and increased activity of the left temporal lobe, which may be associated with the experience of specific religious archetypes (religious figures and symbols).
Keywords:
neuropsychology • spirituality • traumatic brain injury
Brick Johnstone is professor in the Department of Health Psychology, and Bret A. Glass is a graduate student in the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO 65212; e-mail: johnstoneg @ health.missouri.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00964.x

Pentecostal Voices in the Theology-Science Conversation

Introduction: Pentecostalism, Science, and Creation: New Voices in the Theology-Science Conversation by Amos Yong

Each of the essays in this section, except the last one, was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (SPS) jointly held with the Wesleyan Theological Society at Duke University Divinity School, 13-15 March 2008. The conference theme, “Sighs, Signs, and Significance: Pentecostal and Wesleyan Explorations of Creation and Science,” reflected an earnest effort on the part of both societies to take up important questions at the science-and-theology interface.1 There has been a growing realization that such matters can no longer be ignored by scholars and theologians working in these traditions.

Pentecostal and charismatic scholars and researchers, as Telford Work observes in his essay here, have worked primarily in the humanities until very recently.2 At the same time, like everyone else, pentecostal and charismatic Christians within and outside the academy have lived in a world of science and have taken advantage of its various technologies as they have been developed over time. It is well known that almost from the beginnings of the modern pentecostal movement in North America pentecostalcharismatic evangelists and missionaries have embraced a wide range of telecommunications media in carrying out the mandate of the biblical Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.3 Yet there has been an absence of serious or sustained Pentecostal-charismatic theological reflection on science and technology even to the present.4
notes
1 More than 150 papers were presented at the joint annual meeting, many of which addressed the conference theme. A wider selection of essays from the conference is being published in two volumes (Yong in press; Oord in press).
2 I trace the development of pentecostal scholarship from its beginnings in the discipline of history through biblical studies to theological and religious studies in Yong 2007.
3 From the beginnings of the movement, for example, pentecostals have availed themselves of the use of radio as a means of conducting mission and evangelism (McGee 1986, 168, 182-85).
4 For an overview of the interaction between pentecostalism and science see Yong and Elbert 2003.

Amos Yong is Professor of Theology, Regent University School of Divinity, 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23464; e-mail: ayong @ regent.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00965.x

Is the Universe Open for Surprise? Pentecostal Ontology and the Spirit of Naturalism by James K. A. Smith

Abstract:
Given the enchanted worldview of pentecost-alism, what possibility is there for a uniquely pentecostal intervention in the science-theology dialogue? By asserting the centrality of the miraculous and the fantastic, and being fundamentally committed to a universe open to surprise, does not pentecostalism forfeit admission to the conversation? I argue for a distinctly pentecostal contribution to the dialogue that is critical of regnant naturalistic paradigms but also of a naive supernaturalism. I argue that implicit in the pentecostal social imaginary is a distinct conception of nature that is amenable to science but in conflict with naturalism.
Keywords:
Philip Clayton • David Ray Griffin • laws of nature • miraculous • naturalism • pentecostalism • supernatural
James K. A. Smith is Associate Professor of Philosophy, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI 49546; e-mail: jks4 @ calvin.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00966.x

Pneumatological Relations and Christian Disunity in Theology-Science Dialogue by Telford Work

Abstract:
Ecclesial divisions shape and distort the developing interdisciplinary dialogue between Christian theology and the natural and social sciences in ways that can be better understood by focusing on pneumatology, specifically on the variety of ways in which by grace we relate to the Holy Spirit—as giver of life, as Lord, as powerful anointing, as God’s gift of wisdom, and as wellspring from Jesus Christ. Each denominational camp of Christians has centered its appreciation of the Holy Spirit on one of these relationships, sometimes to the neglect or marginalization of others. This appreciation drives the favoring of some scientific disciplines and suspicion of others. For instance, Pentecostals and charismatics emphasize the Spirit upon us, speaking through the prophets. This tends to privilege personal narrative and testimony. The closest cognate science is cultural anthropology. Issues of social construction of reality, cultural imperialism and relativism, and narrative history dominate consideration of science’s theological possibilities and pitfalls in ways distinctive to that pneumatological camp. Engagement and disengagement with other disciplines of learning are driven in part by our theological loyalties and antipathies to unreconciled bodies. Hence a fuller engagement with the sciences becomes an ecumenical task, not just a generically Christian or specifically Pentecostal or Wesleyan one.
Keywords:
charismatic • Christianity • ecumenism • Holy Spirit • Pentecostalism • pneumatology • sciences • theology • theology-science dialogue
Telford Work is Associate Professor of Theology, Westmont College, 955 La Paz Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93108; e-mail: work @ westmont.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00967.x

Anthropology, Polanyi, and Afropentecostal Ritual: A Scientific and Theological Epistemology of Participation by Craig Scandrett-Leatherman

Abstract:
The 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis sponsored both an International Congress of Arts and Sciences aimed at unity of knowledge and an anthropology exhibit of diverse peoples. Jointly these represented a quest for unifying knowledge in a diverse world that was fractured by isolated specializations and segregated peoples. In historical perspective, the Congress’s quest for knowledge is overshadowed by Ota Benga who was part of the anthropology exhibit. The 1904 World’s Fair can be viewed as a Euro-American ritual, a global pilgrimage, which sought to celebrate the advances and resolve the challenges of modernity and human diversity. Three years later Afropentecostalism dealt with these same issues with different methods and rituals. This ritual system became the most culturally diverse and fastest growing religious movement of the twentieth century. I suggest that the anthropological method of Frank Hamilton Cushing, the postcritical epistemology of Michael Polanyi, and the Afropente-costal ritual movement initiated by William J. Seymour are all attempts to develop a postmodern epistemology that is simultaneously constructive, focused on discerning reality, and broad enough to allow for human consciousness and diverse human communities. I explore this confluence of scientific and participatory epistemology through six theses.
Keywords:
Afropentecostalism • Frank Hamilton Cushing • epistemology • Michael Polanyi • ritual • Victor Turner
Craig Scandrett-Leatherman is an adjunct professor at Eden Theological Seminary, 475 East Lockwood Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63119; e-mail: craig.scandrettleatherman @ gmail.com.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00968.x

A Pentecostal Perspective on Entropy, Emergent Systems, and Eschatology by David Bradnick

Abstract:
Many contemporary theologies have given considerable attention to the inbreaking work of God whereby the Spirit imbues creation with life and vitality, but in the process the seriousness of the destructive forces that plague the world has been overlooked. This oversight not only has significant theological consequences, but it also generates a tension with scientific postulates about physical reality. Paradoxically, increasing complexity, including emergent life systems, arise in spite of the overarching conditions. I posit from a theological perspective that the Spirit acts within the world to generate pockets of organization out of disorder. The Spirit not only was present and active at initial creation but also continues to act within the cosmos, sustaining the natural order and giving rise to innovative acts of creation. The world, which groans for and anticipates transformation, experiences local decreases in entropy as proleptic events of God’s inbreaking kingdom. This theological hypothesis provides the framework for considering an eschatological response to the world’s decay.
Keywords:
emergence • entropy • eschatology • pentecostal theology • pneumatology
David Bradnick is an adjunct instructor at Duquesne University and Harrisburg Area Community College, 2010 Pennsylvania Ave., York, PA 17404, and a Ph.D. student at Regent University School of Divinity; e-mail: davibr3 @ regent.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00969.x

The Spirit in Creation: A Unified Theology of Grace and Creation Care by Steven M. Studebaker

Abstract:
This essay identifies one of the deeper theological sources of the tendency toward environmental neglect in evangelical and Pentecostal theology and proposes a theological vision that facilitates a vision of creation care as a dimension of Christian formation. The first section identifies, describes, and evaluates the traditional distinction between common and special grace or the natural and the supernatural orders as a theological foundation for environmental neglect in Pentecostal theology. The second and third sections propose that a pneumatological vision of grace based on a fundamental trinitarianism provides Pentecostals and other Christians with a way to overcome these stark dualisms and to attain a more unified and comprehensive vision of God’s grace that is more conducive to creation care. The fourth section presents a case for seeing creation care as a pneumatological and proleptic participation in the eschaton and, as such, as a dimension of Christian formation and sanctification.
Keywords:
common grace • creation care • general revelation • the Holy Spirit • Pentecostalism • pneumatology • special grace • special revelation • the Trinity
Steven M. Studebaker is Assistant Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at McMaster Divinity College, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4K1; e-mail: studeba @ mcmaster.ca.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00970.x

Natural Laws and Divine Intervention: What Difference Does Being Pentecostal or Charismatic Make? by Amos Yong

Abstract:
The question about divine action remains contested in the discussion between theology and science. This issue is further exacerbated with the entry of pentecostals and charismatics into the conversation, especially with their emphases on divine intervention and miracles. I explore what happens at the intersection of these discourses, identifying first how the concept of “laws of nature” has developed in theology and science and then probing what pentecostal-charismatic insights might add into the mix. Drawing from the triadic and evolutionary metaphysics of Charles Sanders Peirce, I propose a reconsideration of the “laws of nature” as habitual, dynamic, and general but nevertheless real tendencies through which the Holy Spirit invites the world to inhabit the coming kingdom of God. This proposal contributes to the articulation of an authentic Pentecostal-charismatic witness at the theology-and-science table while also enabling a more plausible and coherent account of divine action for pentecostal-charismatic piety and Christian practice in the twenty-first century.
Keywords:
eschatology • Holy Spirit • miracles • natural laws/laws of nature • Charles Peirce • pentecostal theology
Amos Yong is Professor of Theology, Regent University School of Divinity, 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23464; e-mail: ayong @ regent.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00971.x

Poem

Solstice by Charles F. Smith

Charles F. Smith is Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies, Thomas Nelson Community College, 99 Thomas Nelson Dr., Hampton, VA 23670; e-mail: charlessmith29 @ cox.net.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00972.x

Reviews

Sacramental Commons: Christian Ecological Ethics by John Hart, reviewed by Jame Schaefer

Jame Schaefer, Department of Theology, Marquette University, 115 Coughlin Hall, Milwaukee WI 53201-1880; e-mail: schaeferj @ marquette.edu
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00973.x

From Human to Posthuman: Christian Theology and Technology in a Postmodern World by Brent Waters, reviewed by Jennifer L. Baldwin

Jennifer L. Baldwin, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615; e-mail: jbaldwin @ lstc.edu
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00974.x



Tables of Contents, Articles & Abstracts