The new exhibition / book offers an illustrated history of religion and science in the United States

Susan BarretoSusan is an author with a long-standing interest in religion and science. He is currently editing Covalence, an online journal of the Lutheran Alliance for Religion, Science and Technology. She has written articles in Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member of the Center for Advanced Studies in Religion and Science, a support organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She was also a co-author Our bodies are Me with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.

The new exhibition at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History should offer a unique history of religion and science through historical subjects each telling its own story of where we have been and how cultural views have changed.

Exhibition, Discovery and revelation: religion, science and understanding of thingsalso has an accompanying book of the same name published by the Smithsonian Institution offering an extensive history of religion and science and how Americans have historically viewed the relationship between these fields and technology

The book was written and compiled by historian Peter Manseau and religious scholar Andrew Ali Aghapour. Manseau is curator of American religious history at the Smithsonian Institution. The book highlights 40 significant and rare artifacts from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History that highlight the interplay of religious and scientific ideas and how they influenced each other and informed about cultural change.

These artifacts include:

  • The lightning rod of Benjamin Franklin: spurred a debate on the relationship between time and God.
  • Charles Darwin’s Sketch of the Tree of Life: represented his theory of evolution, which some objected to as atheistic, while others thought it reflected the Creator’s intention.
  • Portrait of John Thomas Scopes: A photograph taken before his time at a trial to teach evolution against Tennessee’s law prohibiting the denial of the biblical account of man’s origin.
  • Apollo 8 live TV script: The team has caused controversy over reading the Bible for their Christmas Eve broadcast.

The authors describe the book as “a testimony to the fascinating and multiple nature of faith and knowledge and how they shaped our nation.”

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