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Science and Christianity: Conflicting or Compatible?

There exists a misconception (whether willful or unintentional) among many, that science and Christianity are mortal enemies. Some believe the rift is so profound as to prohibit any interaction of the two. For the secular naturalist, science has all but proven that God does not exist; therefore, faith in God is merely a crutch for the unlearned to lean upon. Many of these scientists think that Christians, or anyone who allows for the existence of God, is incapable of doing good science. For the Christian who has not thought deeply about this issue, the scientific community is often viewed with suspicion, distrust, and sometimes outright hostility. Many believers see an impregnable barrier separating faith and science. This is often due to a misunderstanding of faith, or science, or both.

Nevertheless, for Christians, there is cause for a healthy skepticism towards much of the secular scientific community. These scientists, who only allow for naturalistic material answers in their research, often claim that certain scientific theories eliminate the need for God and that anyone who continues to believe in Him is ignorant of the facts, backward in their thinking, and stuck believing in fairy tales or outdated myths created by simpletons of the past. These kinds of attitudes tend to foster conflict more than honest discussion and debate.

Science and Christianity [1]

Science and Christianity — they are inseparable

Godly Scientists

There were, and are, many scientists who also believe in God [2], many who are Christians (See http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/sciencefaith.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_thinkers_in_science). These men and women have made great contributions to humanity in many different fields of research and development. Is the secular scientific world so arrogant as to claim that these men and women were less intelligent because they professed faith in God? Often, it seems that the God-less scientific community thinks that anyone who does not hold to their idea of the way things are, should not be allowed to do scientific research. How very open-minded and ‘scientific’. So much for their much touted maxim of “following the evidence wherever it leads”.

It Is Not “Science vs. Religion”

The friction does not really stem from “science versus religion.” but “religion versus religion.” Because, much of the secular scientific community is saturated with the preconceived notion that the only reality is a natural, material reality and that there is no such thing as ‘supernatural’. These God-less scientists think that they have no biases or preconceptions that color their interpretation of what they observe. However, they hold the foundational belief that there are only natural processes at work and that those who believe in God cannot do good science while allowing for the possibility of the supernatural. Therefore, any interpretation of evidence they may uncover cannot be attributed to God; they must make their interpretation fit the godless constructs of their presuppositions.

There is another name for this system of belief (dare I say ‘religion’), it is called “humanism”. Humanism is defined by Merriam Webster as, “an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems” [1]. While, Christianity has the Bible as its main religious document; humanism has the Human Manifestos I, II, and III as its go to documents. Christianity and humanism are both recognized by the Supreme Court as religions [2], and both receive 501(c) (3) tax-exempt status. A religion does not have to posit a God, god, or gods to be called a ‘religion’. Again, Merriam Webster states that one definition of religion is, “a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance” [3].

The Foundation for Science is a Biblical Worldview

“If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our thought processes are mere accidents–the accidental by-products of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the materialists’ and astronomers’ as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts–i.e., of Materialism and Astronomy–are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give a correct account of all the other accidents.” ~ C. S. Lewis [4]

Science would be impossible in a universe governed by chance or unguided natural processes. ‘Chance’, by definition, is random and unpredictable. Science is based on repeatable, predictable, observable, and falsifiable data. ‘Chance’ and ‘science’ therefore occupy opposite ends of the reality spectrum. In other words, in a world governed by chance, how something works today may not be how it works tomorrow.  ‘Chance’ by its very nature is not something that is predictable or stable.

The Bible says that God so ordered His universe that, barring His sovereign intervention, the universe performs in a predictable manner, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22). Bodie Hodge writes, “On what basis should we expect a universe that came from nothing and for no reason to act in a predictable and consistent manner? Because God upholds the universe in a consistent manner, we have a valid reason to expect that we can study the world we live in and describe the laws that God uses to sustain the universe (Colossians 1:17)” [5]. Colossians 1:17 reads, speaking of Jesus, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”.

Final Thoughts

True faith does not simply believe something for no reason; it is a confident trust in God [3]…for good reasons. Far from Christianity and science being incompatible, in order to do science correctly, they are inseparable.

Here is a related article for you to read: Does Faith in God and Science Conflict with One Another? [4]

Resources – Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org).  [1] https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=Definition+of+humanism. [2] The U.S. Supreme Court inTorcaso v. Watkins, 81 S.Ct. 1681 (1961), stated the following: “Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God, are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others.” [3] https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=Definition+of+religion. [4] (Lewis, C.S. God in the Dock (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1970, p. 52-53.). [5] https://answersingenesis.org/what-is-science/is-science-secular/