I have a few things I would like to say to the community that is Christianity, and these things are about science.
Ready? Here we go!
Point # 1 – We, as Christians, do not have to be afraid of science.
Despite how I (strongly) suspect some people feel on the subject, science is not “the study of making Christians look stupid and prove that God is no more real than the Tooth Fairy.” Not to say some scientists don’t feel that way – I’ve met a few who do – but there is nothing inherently wrong with the scientific method, even when adopted by people of faith. Take, for example, evolutionary creationists.
Evolutionary creationists (like the fine folks at the BioLogos Foundation) are people who believe that the evidence supporting the theory of evolution is irrefutable – but that doesn’t mean, in any way, that God did not create the universe, the world, and all of us. They just believe that God used natural selection and mutation as vehicles for the creation of all the living organisms we see today. To quote directly from their website:
The BioLogos view holds that both Scripture and modern science reveal God’s truth, and that these truths are not in competition with one another. While there are varying views within the BioLogos community of how to reconcile the truths of science and Scripture on particular issues (for example with regards to a historical Adam1), we believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired and authoritative Word of God. BioLogos accepts the modern scientific consensus on the age of the earth and common ancestry, including the common ancestry of humans.
Why should these people accept the evidence for evolution? Because, as I said before, it’s fucking overwhelming. And I’m not saying we should adopt Intelligent Design, either. Intelligent Design is, when you get right down to it, an idea put forth by shady quasi-scientists who want to find verifiable proof of God in the laboratory. The “scientists” who are proponents of I.D. and their works are not subjected to peer reviews, and their theories can’t be published by independent scientific journals because they aren’t falsifiable, predictive, or parsimonious. Intelligent design, in other words, isn’t science. And that’s okay. Science is science. It is very good at doing what it does. We don’t need to create theories like Intelligent Design – we can just read a book on evolutionary biology. It’s cool.
This isn’t to say that scientists don’t have faith in God. Some do – check out that link to the BioLogos foundation if you want to see how very easy it is to reconcile faith in Jesus with the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution – and it works just fine if you’re not afraid to try it. The way I see it, the universe is a wonderfully complex creation, made by the capable hands of an infinitely wise God. The thing basically runs itself! Looking at it from this perspective, if God needed to directly intervene in various stages of evolution (as Intelligent Design proponents believe) that would infer that God was not infallible – that God has, at some point, looked at creation, said, “Oh, shit” under his breath, and then stepped in to make a change to the way an organism was evolving. Wouldn’t an omniscient God create a system and let itself play out, knowing that the end result would reflect His plan?
I think that many people feel that science is a threat to faith – that the more one learns about the world, the less one believes in God. This is a mindset that we must, as a culture, overcome and discard if we intend to continue to be relevant to the wider world.
Point # 2 – The Bible is not a book about science, and anyone who uses it as one is missing the whole damn point.
Man, I don’t even have to write this section. Author Jon Henry already wrote it for me in his recent article for Internet Monk. Before going any further in reading my blog post, take a moment to read Jon’s (far superior) article. It’s so incredible that you’ll thank me for, like, five years for making you read it.
Did you read it?
. . . . .
How awesome was that?!?!
I think the opening lines of this piece really sum it up.
Bible believers must defend the truth that the moon emanates its own light.
Contrary to the revelation of the Bible, modern science wants people to believe that the moon does not have the ability to generate light. Instead,they want us to believe that the moon merely reflects the light of the sun.
Not only is it ridiculous to believe that a rock could reflect the light of a sun millions of miles away, but it’s also unbiblical!
Now, this is satire, but as one commenter mentioned, it’s satire that has the potential to backfire on the author – the article is so well-written that it very well could make its way around the internet as a legitimate argument, forwarded by people who don’t “get it”. If this happens, it’s inevitably going to be quoted by the secular community as one more example of how Christians cannot accept scientific evidence that runs contrary to the “truths” of our world as presented in the Bible.
They won’t be surprised. We do this all the time.
Point #3 – Science is awesome, because God is awesome.
Check this out.
See that? God did that. Science took the picture. If it weren’t for the Hubble telescope, we would never see that image of what astronomers call the “Mystic Mountain.” You can search the Bible, front to back – even the ones with the pictures in them – and you’ll never see the scripture express the incomprehensible beauty of God’s work as well as that picture does it.
The universe and everything in it are surprisingly cool. I could list a bunch of awesome science facts, but you can do the same – just Google “awesome science facts”. Even if you completely ignored the spiritual world (which, as a faith blogger, I recommend against) there is more jaw-dropping stuff to be seen, felt, visited, or experienced on our own little planet than we’ll ever be able to quantify. But we try to quantify it, to understand it – and when people do that more than a little, we call those people “scientists”. They aren’t out to hurt us, they just want to understand God’s world a little better. . . even if they don’t know that God made it. And considering how awesome the world is, who wouldn’t want to understand it a little better?
Final Note – God is not “in the gaps”.
Wikipedia (great source, I know) defines the term “God of the gaps” as, “a type of theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God’s existence.” In other words, when we don’t understand how something happens, we attribute it to God. In early human history, our gaps in knowledge were very large, so we attributed quite a bit to God (or the gods) that we now understand on a scientific level. Nobody thinks that lightning comes from Thor, or that the sun is a fiery golden chariot racing across the sky. We also know – come on guys, let’s face it together – that the earth is billions of years old, as opposed to thousands.
And that’s okay. God is still God. I believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, but I don’t believe that the Bible is supposed to be a document that tells us how the physical universe works. It’s okay for us to not understand every single event that can happen in our universe. It’s even okay for us to guess that those events that we don’t understand come from God – because, in a philosophical sense, all things happen because of God. What is not okay is for us to deny ourselves the opportunity to learn more about all things that happen in God’s universe from a scientific perspective. Nor is it okay to deny overwhelming evidence about the physical world just because contradicts a book that is not, in any way, a book about science. You wouldn’t open a copy of Popular Science to find out what the meaning of life is, would you?
In conclusion, let’s all chill out, alright? God loves you no matter how many years ago the earth was created. It’s possible that you, the person reading this post, are both a) descended from monkeys, and b) personally cherished by the intelligence that made the universe. In fact, I believe that both things are true. And let’s not forget that God loves scientists, too, and has blessed them so profoundly that they get to give us normal folks a glimpse into the awe-inspiring totality of His creation, whether they know it or not. We shouldn’t hate them for that – we should thank them for sharing it with us.