UU Service

UUS Bill Spence

By Jon Sievert

At this week’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Service, Dr. Bill Spence relates the personal odyssey that bridged science and religion and led him to his belief as a practicing humanist. Spence was born to a fundamentalist Baptist preacher and trained as a research geophysicist.

Just three years ago, he was in a Denver ICU, diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor. Although he appeared nearly lifeless, his mind became super-active, questioning what scientists know about how life began on Earth and how it evolved to modern humans. In his medically critical state, he tried to pull together his view of life. His brain tumor became greatly enlarged, cut off its blood supply, died, and now is a small bit of scar tissue.

Dr. Spence believes that religious practices evolved by way of personal needs, community needs, or prophetic visions of humans, rather than from outside forces or agencies. There are presently more than 4,000 distinct different religions and spiritual practices in the world, most of which are subsets of the several main religions. While religion can provide benefits to many adherents, Dr. Spence holds that these benefits derive from maintaining certain beliefs and the practice of meditative practices such as prayer.

If humans are the end result of an evolutionary process, and if religious practice is of human origin, then what should be the approach to living a good life? Dr. Spence believes that human evolution has led us to care about one another, to compete with one another, and to exhibit other characteristics of tribal behavior. Given that we all exist through the miracle of evolution, all we really have is one another. Recognizing that having all the answers is impossible, he says to simply accept life as a great gift and try each day to find true pleasure with family, friends, or a walk in the park. He asks that we take up the challenge as mature humans to develop the values that elevate our humanity and our community.

Bill Spence earned his Ph.D. in geophysics from Penn State and has lived in Colorado since 1971. He had a 38-year career with the US Geological Survey and predecessor organizations, researching great subduction earthquakes. His study areas included Indonesia, the Aleutian arc, the US Pacific Northwest, and the west coast of South America. He and Sue Edelstein have been married for 33 years and have a son living in Berlin.

The UU Fellowship meets every Sunday at 10:30am at Posada de La Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15, and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The meeting room is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our website at uufsama.org.

 

UU Service

“Living With Science and Humanism”

Dr. Bill Spence

Sun, Dec 31, 10:30am

Posada de La Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15

uufsama.org

 

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