Grasping Science & Faith
I am absolutely in love with science. I could not stand it in middle school, but when I took eleventh grade chemistry and got to see the building blocks of the universe be directly applied to my life, I was hooked. The next year it got even worse when I took physics and was able to use those building blocks I learned about and use them to explain why things did the things that they did. It was absolutely fantastic. And while I am not going into the scientific field, mostly because advanced mathematics are truly from the dark lord himself, I do enjoy staying up to date with what is going on in the science world. I constantly read articles on new adventures into the privatization of space exploration and I nearly had a heart attack the day that the Higgs-Boson particle was found. All of these findings are the building blocks for understanding the past and growing towards a better future.
But as a Christian, I seem to have been forced into a war I did not want. So many influential Christian and Atheistic leaders have taken personal disagreements and forced themselves into philosophical battles, resulting in the assumption that Christians are anti-science. This is not just something that a few ultra-right wing conservatives have cultured, but instead it is running rampant in the Christian community that science cannot and does not prove God, and we should therefore ignore it.
Most Christians I have met that recognize that this cannot be the truth for us, then seek for a way to compromise facts and faith so that everyone is happy. I think the most obvious example of this is the largest debate in the science vs. faith debacle: creation vs. evolution. Many Christians are seeing evolution taken as fact among so many scientists and so many ignorant pastors not even taking the side for what it is and giving a strict “no” to evolution and a “yes” to God. A couple famous Christians that have done this are Rob Bell and Michael Gungor. Honest to God Christians who believed in an almost “deistic” perspective that God created evolution. He is simply the watchmaker.
While I do not want this post to be about which side is right or wrong (please go to Answers in Genesis for any questions), I do want it to open your eyes to the sad facts of what an ignorant American, Christian culture does as an evangelistic community. The Barna Group did a study in 2011 with young adults and their faith transitions from the teen years to the young twenties. A staggering 60% said that they grew up in the Christian faith but left. Even worse, a fourth of those people said that the reason they had left was because the church was “anti-science.” As a person who goes to a rural church, I see exactly what they are talking about. Whenever evolution is brought up in church, the only thing that follows is irreverent bashing without a true understanding of what is being published in the scientific world. Even worse, that bashing is concluded with an equally illogical conclusion that “God created the world” but without upholding that fact (don’t worry, I do believe that that is true) with any type of information. When a young teenager is being shown what is being told as fact in schools and then hearing incoherent banter in church, I could see why they are finding the conclusion they are.
The bottom line here is that science is simply the retelling of fact. More specifically, modern science is trying to explain our world. As Christians, we should find joy to wanting to know the dirty secrets to God’s wonderful creation. One could even argue that we are called to learn more about as we are stewards of the Earth (Gen. 1:26, Ps. 8:6-8). The sad truth for a lot of people is that if you are going to hold the signature of Christ on your life, then you need to also hold a desire to know truth and uphold it. Evangelism is not what it used to be. We can no longer memorize the Roman’s Road and say what our pastor told us and convict people the same way.
This should not discourage you though. Here are some tips if you find yourself convicted to seek out truth in a secular world:
Always have God as your basis.
The main reason so many people begin to believe evolution and discontinue belief in God is because God is not their basis. Constantly revert back to the truth of Scripture. Do not forget to challenge Scripture too! Have comfort in the fact that God’s Word can uphold against any scrutiny.
Objectively consider what someone calls “truth.”
Do not simply read an article on the Washington Post and consider it fact. If you are reading a new discovery, it is likely in the early stages of publication and so the scientific field does not even consider it fact yet. Consider it against what you know is true.
When things seem to not make sense, pray. Never take our ability to talk to our Savior for granted. He wants you to know truth and He will be there to walk you through it.
No matter what the media is telling you, the worlds of faith and science are not at odds. I think the British physicist Sir William Bragg put it best:
“From religion comes a man's purpose; from science, his power to achieve it. Sometimes people ask if religion and science are not opposed to one another. They are: in the sense that the thumb and fingers of my hands are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by means of which anything can be grasped.”