Dr. Glenn Sauer’s Points of Contact Bridges Gap Between Science and Religion

Dr. Glenn Sauer’s Points of Contact Bridges Gap Between Science and Religion

Glenn Sauer Points of Contact Book Jacket Image

A Catholic biology professor urges readers to abandon the notion that one is the antithesis of the other.

Glenn Sauer, PhD, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the  Donald J. Ross Sr. Chair in Biology and Biochemistry is the author of Points of Contact: Science, Religion, and the Search for Truth, which was published by Orbis Books in July of 2020. The book reflects Dr. Sauer’s unique approach to melding what are usually seen as two different — and even conflicting — areas of inquiry.

In the book, Dr. Sauer is frank about the challenges of constructing a meaningful dialogue between these two areas:  “If scientists and religious believers would indeed practice the humility that they are so eager to advocate for within their own spheres of activity, perhaps a more meaningful dialogue could begin to emerge in the public arena.” His text calls upon practitioners in each field to pursue these dialogues in a way that sidesteps some of the assumptions that one side continually makes about the other.

Points of Contact is both aspirational and constructive. Dr. Sauer offers avenues of connection for proponents of both fields. “If religious opponents of science would only consider that the history of life on Earth is far more interesting and religiously compelling than it would be if a designing God had orchestrated every last detail — after all, it is on an Earth where life is free to create itself that miracles can happen,” he writes. 

Dr. Sauer sees his book as a “reset” for social and political factions that may have grown hostile to one another. A practicing Catholic himself, he has noted for years the growing mistrust in contemporary political discourse between adherents of science and religion. He notes a kind of freedom that his particular role — spiritual director in Fairfield’s Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality — gives him to address the kinds of questions and misconceptions that scientists sometimes have about the faithful; his work in the classroom has given him insight into the reverse, as well.

“What is most important to me is to illustrate to students that scientific knowledge and religious belief are not mutually exclusive,” he said in a recent interview. “Doing this work has greatly enhanced my interest in fields of science outside of my formal training as a biochemist, while at the same time deepening my religious faith.”

The book is suitable for introductory courses in science and religion as well as academic and church-associated discussion groups. Among other topics, it delves into the scientific evidence for the Big Bang and the multiverse, the origins of life, evolution, and the history of life leading to the emergence of humankind. 

Listen to Dr. Glenn Sauer Discuss Points of Contact on the New Books Network Podcast

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