Science Vs. Religion

One of the biggest areas of diversity disparity between church and community is the notion that science and religion are unable to co-exist. This notion of science versus religion debacle is ruining faith in our youth and unifies an unhealthy stereotype that followers of Christ are illogical, stupid, or uneducated. This growing disparity is slowly dissipating, in the last decade or two, but not without its resistance from both sides of the aisle.

Typical what lies at the root of this opposition is evolution. People tend to conflate all of science with evolution. According to Pew Research, “The rejection of evolution by most evangelicals is largely mirrored by their churches, such as the Southern Baptist Convention and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which explicitly reject the evolutionary theory as conflicting with what they see as biblical truth.”[1] The church seems to exacerbate this topic, leading many of its followers to reject most of the science; or at the least, highly skeptical of its use and function.

You can trace this feud back to the early stages of modern science. The Roman Catholic Church took issues with what many scientists were concluding in their findings and research. This did not pose a threat to the Bible; however, it did threaten what certain prominent theologians were saying about the origins of the Universe. It was “the church” that got it wrong, not the scientist. On the contrary, many early scientists were theologians of devout faith. The father of modern science, Galileo, was a deep man of faith that viewed science as a way of discovering how God reveals his glory through nature, not in opposition to it. For this, he was highly persecuted. Giordano Bruno, an Italian friar and an ordained priest, was put to death for the crime of heresy,  by the Roman Catholic Church in 1600 for his views in astrology.

Ironically it was another religious movement (the Scopes trial of 1925) that advanced the spread of evolutionary teaching in public schools which have been upheld by the supreme court concerning the separation of church and state. According to Pew Research Center; “In spite of efforts in many American states and localities to ban the teaching of evolution in public schools or to teach alternatives to evolution, courts in recent decades have consistently rejected public school curricula that veer away from evolutionary theory.”[2] In an attempt to ban evolutionary theory taught in public schools it did the very opposite. It is the faith community that has cut off its nose to spite its face and continues to drive the younger generation into the arms of evolution.

Over the centuries, as mankind was making some of its greatest contributions to society, the Church was destroying what they refused to understand. You could imagine the line in the sand this did to future men of faith, who had a passion for scientific discovery. Logically this makes perfect sense; if someone in history had a propensity for mathematics, biology, or physics, but key religious figures openly attack their methodologies because it did not comport to their subjective biblical interpretation; wouldn’t people begin to question the validity of that interpretation?

This is what undergirds the whole theological/scientific battle for authority. One of the enormous problems with mankind is not owning our faulty history. All too often are past discretions left forgotten, but it never stops us from repeating them again. You don’t have to embrace the past, to own the past. Many orthodox religions of today are still toying with this conundrum. The United State is seeing this with post-modernism and subjective truth theory; just read the book of Judges: “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Jdg 17:6 ESV).

The answer to this disparity is a community of faith-based scientists who espouse the peaceful co-existence of the Bible and scientific study. This then needs to be supported and promulgated by church communities across the globe, not resisted. Dr. Hugh Ross has been heading projects like these since the early nineties with his Reason to Believe website and lectures.[3] Likewise, Dr. Francis Collins, who headed the human genome project, founded Biologo.org; “BioLogos invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.”[4] This organization is rolling out a curriculum that presents the evolutionary theory and intelligent design to be taught in schools from of scientific/biblical perspective. Although the aforementioned organizations attempt to answer this disparity of science and religion, it is still being met with much opposition from both the scientific community and the global catholic (small c) church.

Our passion for the Bible and truth, as disciples of Christ, is what makes this topic so relative to daily living. However, our lack of understanding of subjects from a contextual basis is what divides us about interpretation. Dennis Okholm writes; “The wide recognition that all theology is contextual represents a stunning transformation of how one thinks about theology.”[5] Just as we can only derive sound doctrine from the book of scripture by understanding the contextualization in the text; we can only understand the book of nature revealed to us from God by understanding the science that it comes out of. Science viewed from a purely biblical standpoint is no more blasphemous as the Bible viewed from a purely scientific perspective. Both sides need to discard bias and work together for the truth. This is how we overcome and spread the good news of God’s plan of salvation for mankind. Notice when people are arguing over creation days, seas parting, and fish swallowing prophets nowhere is the Gospel being proclaimed.

Bibliography

Collins, Dr. Francis S. “About BioLogos.” About Us. Accessed October 30, 2018. https://biologos.org/about-us.

Masci, David. “5 Facts about Evolution and Religion.” Pew Research Center. October 30, 2014. Accessed October 30, 2018. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/10/30/5-facts-about-evolution-and-religion/.

Okholm, Dennis L. The Gospel in Black and White: Theological Resources for Racial Reconciliation. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997.

Ross, Dr. Hugh. “Debating Denominational Differences While Non-Christians Watch.” Home. Accessed October 30, 2018. https://www.reasons.org/.

 

[1] David Masci, “5 Facts about Evolution and Religion,” Pew Research Center, October 30, 2014, accessed October 30, 2018, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/10/30/5-facts-about-evolution-and-religion/.

[2] David Masci, “5 Facts about Evolution and Religion,” Pew Research Center, October 30, 2014, accessed October 30, 2018, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/10/30/5-facts-about-evolution-and-religion/.

[3] Dr. Hugh Ross, “Debating Denominational Differences While Non-Christians Watch,” Home, accessed October 30, 2018, https://www.reasons.org/.

[4] Dr. Francis S. Collins, “About BioLogos,” About Us, accessed October 30, 2018, https://biologos.org/about-us.

[5] Dennis L. Okholm, The Gospel in Black and White: Theological Resources for Racial Reconciliation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), 38.

Categories: Tags:

2 Comments

  1. To Galileo’s point and to your point as well, Science and Technology has brought many different ways in life that many of us see, use, and are in awe of. In my view, Science and Religion are both sides of the same coin – the mind and heart in us, so to speak. I believe for the new world, we must not only continue growing and maintaining our relationship with God, but also understand the technologies that are here to better all life on Earth.

    I enjoyed reading your post, Samson!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s