July 22, 2019

3 Misconceptions about Science and Faith

In the US there is a common stigma that if you are Christian then you are anti-science and if you are a scientist you must not be a Christian.

3 Misconceptions about Science and Faith

In the US there is a common stigma that if you are Christian then you are anti-science and if you are a scientist you must not be a Christian. This is an unfortunate stigma that certainly is not true. In this post, you will learn why faith in Jesus Christ shouldn't make you forsake scientific thought.

Disclaimer, much in this debate I categorize as "minor" issues of faith. This is not to say your beliefs about science and faith are not important, simply that they aren't salvation issues.

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Misconception:

1. There are no good reasons to believe in God.

Atheists love to use this line despite its false claims. There are actually many good arguments for the existence of God including the Kalam Cosmological Argument, The Moral Argument, and The Teleological Argument from fine-tuning. The Kalam Cosmological Argument in its most simple form states that:

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause. 2. The universe began to exist. 3. Therefore the universe has a cause. Click here a more in-depth study on the Kalam Cosmological Argument

The Moral Argument in its most simple form goes like this: 1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist. 2. Objective moral values and duties do exist. 3. Therefore, God exists. For a more in-depth look click here.

Lastly, one of the most compelling reasons to believe in God has to be the fine-tuning argument, even atheists and agnostics have a hard time denying that this argument carries weight for believing in God. This argument states that the universe is finely tuned for life, physics has shown us that if the force of gravity was different by a fraction of a percent, stars and planets would not have formed as they are now and life would not exist at all! And that's not the only thing, there are numerous other scientific laws that if they were different by just a little bit, life would not have formed. The universe seems to be finely tuned for life. For more on fine-tuning click here.

2. Science and Faith oppose each other

I was in a store the other day and I saw a mug that said: "Science doesn't care what you believe!" I thought this was comical, in some ways it is a double-edged sword that cuts both ways. Truth doesn't care what you believe.

In some (theologically) far-right Christian circles, people would take offense to this mug because science is seen as in direct opposition to faith, but I think this is a confusion. Science is not in opposition to faith, but Scientism is. Science is the pursuit of truth using observation and experimentation.  Science is simply a tool that Christians can use to better understand the world around them and give honor and praise to God for creating such a beautifully intricate world! There is a saying "All truth is God's Truth", I think that applies here.

Scientism is, somewhat ironically, a philosophical viewpoint that states only that which can be tested and proven by science is worth believing. Of course, this is a self-defeating belief because that statement itself cannot be tested or proven. Scientism says God cannot exist because He cannot be tested and proven. However, many things that cannot be tested and proven that many everyone believes anyways. For example, most historical events cannot be scientifically proven, there is evidence for what happened but there is no way you can know exactly what took place. History still has value despite this fact.

3. 6 Day Creationism is The Only Orthodox Belief

Sometimes I tell Christian students that I know grew up in a very theologically conservative home that I am an old earth creationist and their eyes get big and their minds are blown. Then I am usually accused of not reading scripture literally... and they are right! Not all scripture is meant to be read literally, but more on that later.
In some circles, not believing in strict 6-day creationism is grounds for social excommunication, this is unfortunate. I think throwing away science that challenges you to take a more nuanced approach to how we read scripture is a mistake. The most important questions we can ask when we approach any scripture, but especially Genesis 1 + 2, is "What did the author intend to say?", "What was the author's purpose in writing?", and "what were the assumptions and context of the passage?". If we want to read the bible "literally" then we have to ignore these questions and we will often miss the point the author is trying to make. For example, in Mark 9:45 & 47 Jesus tells us to gouge out our eye if it causes us to sin, or cut off our foot if it causes us to sin. Is Jesus to be taken literally here? If so there should be way more Christians walking around like modern-day pirates wearing eye patches and peg legs.
Here are a few tough questions I have tried to wrestle with to come to my current understanding of creation. Did the author of Genesis, traditionally viewed as Moses, intend to give us a scientific understanding of how God created the Heavens and the Earth? Was that the purpose of Genesis 1 + 2? Or was the purpose more profound than that? What kind of culture and context was Genesis written in? What did they believe about God and how and why we are here? What assumptions did Moses make about his audience?

I think these are important questions, although not the ultimate question. At the end of the day how you interpret Genesis 1 + 2 is less important than how you live your life and the faith you put in Jesus. These things are less important than how you love people and love God. If you are interested in doing more research, here are some links to great resources on a few different sides of the argument. I think it is important to read things you don't agree with, consider reading both sides:)

Young Earth, Old Earth, & Evolutionary Theism

Free Resources:

https://answersingenesis.org/

https://www.reasons.org/explore/publications/rtb-101/biblical-evidence-old-earth

biologos.com

Books:

The Lost World of Genesis One: https://amzn.to/2XP1bcg

Evolution Impossible: https://amzn.to/2XTPa5F

Scientific Reasons for Belief in God

Free Resources:

https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/existence-nature-of-god/the-new-atheism-and-five-arguments-for-god/

Books:

Jesus Among Secular Gods, Ravi Zacharias: https://amzn.to/32zi21y

Evidence that Demands a Verdict: https://amzn.to/2Y10vAZ
The book links are amazon affiliate links, should you buy a book I will receive a small commission.