Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Science, Faith, and Trumping

There is a little thought-provoker of an article over at Christianity Today today.  (No, I’m not shuddering.)  A mom is talking about helping her older children think through questions about the Christian faith and science.  It is generally good, though things you have probably heard before.  The article concludes with:

We need kids who are unafraid to ask the sorts of tough and exciting theological, philosophical, and scientific questions you can only ask when you know that, however this world came to be, God did it.

Even this is a good point except that it doesn’t come to terms with this:  is the Christian faith truly compatible with any and every idea that comes out of the domain of science?

Here is a related question, one that I often ask:  when science and Christianity come into apparent conflict, are we for some reason compelled to amend our view of Christianity rather than our view of this particular conclusion from science?

I’m not thinking of any question in particular here.  I am not convinced that the Christian faith requires a very young earth, for example.  But I think we “need kids” who are not immediately ready to amend their theological views just because (another example) of something neo-Darwinists happen to think.  I am willing to consider anything that might have a bearing on my theological views.  But I can see no reason to adjust the Christian faith just because of the latest thought from the field of science.

I think there is an idea behind this tendency that reads something like this:  science is just reason looking at data, but Christianity is filled with prejudices and presuppositions.  Therefore, in case of conflict, science always trumps the Christian faith.

Of course, the ‘just because we want to believe it’ element is often over-played in Christianity.  And beyond that, the ‘science has no prejudices or presuppositions’ idea is beyond ridiculous.  I don’t want to end the science/faith dialogue, of course.  But it is only helpful when we conduct it on reasonable, and carefully examined, terms.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I was reminded of a section of McGarvey's Acts 17 commentary dealing with "one blood" (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/mcgarvey/acts.ch17.html - pg. 222). Mendel's experiments were ongoing when this was penned, so genetic variabilities were not much understood or elucidated, yet McGarvey demonstrated a key ingredient of faith when he admitted to the mystery of how so many different types of people could come from on man, yet believed God's word when it made such a statement.