Christians will miss their calling to play a central role in responding to crises like climate change, extinction, disease and the “careless use” of new technologies unless they can speak “confidently and courageously” about science, bishops have heard.
The Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft, told bishops from 165 countries gathered at the Lambeth Conference that the world will see the ‘greatest changes in science and technology ever seen in human history’ over the coming decades.
“These changes will raise significant questions around justice, about ethics, about employment about what it means to be human and to build flourishing human communities,” he told the Conference.
He added: “The world faces multiple challenges in the coming decades from climate change, from the careless use of technologies, from the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence, particularly its weaponization.
“It is absolutely vital that the Church is able to speak confidently and courageously to these issues otherwise we will be seen to have nothing to say to a world which is probably going to be in multiple crises.”
Bishop Steven was speaking as the Conference heard a ‘Call’ inviting every Church of the Anglican Communion to recognise within science ‘God-given resources for the life of faith’ and offer ‘the wisdom of faith to the work of science.”
Churches should make science and faith a “priority” the Call says with every Church in the Anglican Communion designating a lead bishop for science.
The bishops said the perception of a rift between science and faith should be “laid to rest”.
The Call coincides with the launch of the Anglican Communion Science Commission bringing together scientists, church leaders and theologians from across the world. The Commission is working in partnership with the Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS) project.
Bishop Steven, a Co-Chair of the Commission, was joined at a press briefing by Commission members Dr Emily Onyango, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Bondo in Kenya and Dr Renta Nishihara, Bishop of Chubu in Japan.
Dr Onyango spoke of her hope that science and technology can help tackle the impact of the climate crisis and poverty. Dr Nishihara highlighted the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011 and also spoke of his hope of a world free of nuclear weapons, on the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6 1945.