The most important thing for us to understand about the spurious battle between Christianity and science is that it is a battle that neither can win because neither of them is the open-minded pursuit of the truth. Both Christianity and modern mainstream science are belief-systems. And if you look at only what you want to see, always through a blur of pre-conceived notions, it is impossible for you to see anything clearly.
Neither Christianity nor science can serve us well until each of them loses its fear that its world-view might be wrong and begins an open-minded pursuit of the truth.
I was forcefully reminded of this problem when I read a review in the current Atlantic of a self-satisfied new book by evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne called Faith Versus Fact. A review of the same book from a Christian perspective is here.
The book’s very title – Faith Versus Fact – sums up the primary problem with science. Christians understand that their religion is a belief-system, while scientists have made the belief that they are pursuing the entire truth a tenet of their particular religion. They don’t even realize they are practicing a religion! And when your vision is so altogether distorted that you cannot recognize that those distortions exist, then it is hard to see where you go from there.
Science prior to the twentieth century seems to have had a more open-minded investigative function. There was then less fear of finding God, and more of a hopeful sense that reality could be objectively investigated and better understood. But the start of the twentieth century brought the advent of quantum mechanics, and at the same time it saw the production of some phenomenal communications delivered through deep-trance mediums by teams of dead researchers who were trying to give us proof of their survival. Rather than having to deal with the dead while at the same time they were digesting quantum mechanics, university departments and peer-reviewed journals adopted materialism as science’s “fundamental dogma.” They made the study of afterlife evidence and anything related to spirituality off-limits for anyone who wanted to work in a university setting.
Mainstream science’s fundamental dogma of materialism remains in place. To this day, no scientist who wants a university career or hopes to be published in a peer-reviewed journal can work in any area of research where he might discover that reality is based in an underlying intelligence. By strictly limiting what scientists can and cannot legitimately study, the scientific gatekeepers of the past century have turned science into as much of a deluded belief-system as Christianity ever could be. Both are built upon faith, whether in God or in not-God. And Dr. Coyne is right about one thing. Faith is no substitute for facts.
Into the void left by science during the past hundred years have stepped earnest laypeople bent upon studying the afterlife evidence and the nature of reality without any beliefs-based limitations. These folks are currently the only people who are doing science as Sir Isaac Newton understood science. And over a century of effort they have learned a great many things that would be useful to both Christianity and science, if either had any interest in stepping outside its own beliefs-based boundaries. For example:
As you can see, the greatest discoveries of the past century have been made in the yawning gap between the two belief-systems, science and Christianity. It is only in the open-minded study of everything that humankind can find a way forward that is based in what is actually real.
So now we have Christians stuck in a much-beloved but altogether outmoded belief-system and worried that scientists might find that God does not exist, and scientists stuck in another much-beloved but altogether outmoded belief-system and worried that they might find that God DOES exist. Both of our most trusted institutions are caught up in a useless, spurious battle which Dr. Coyne attempts in his book to keep us focused on for just awhile longer. He and his fellows are trying to prevent our noticing that the scientific emperor has no clothes until they can finish out their careers. It is hard to be sympathetic with these scientists, the pleasures of tenure notwithstanding. As a result of its intransigent insistence on the notion that a century-old world view is still relevant, science is keeping humankind mired in ignorance.
The whole faith vs. fact dichotomy is altogether spurious. Dear friends, there is only one reality. There is not a “faith” reality and a “facts” reality, with the facts version obviously superior. In order to lay claim to knowing the “facts” and to be justified in calling itself superior to Christianity, science would have to study all the evidence on which facts might be based, including nearly two hundred years of abundant and consistent afterlife evidence. Dr. Coyne in his nineteenth-century artifact of a book condemns Christianity for “thinking that an adequate explanation can be based on what is personally appealing rather than on what stands the test of empirical study.” He would be well advised to look in a mirror.
Actually, and not for the first time, the only one who comes through all of this looking smart is Jesus. Unlike either science or Christianity, the thought of our seeking the whole truth does not scare Him. He is not afraid to urge us to “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks the door is opened.” (MT 7:7-8) Even after two thousand years, He still is hoping that you will at last “know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (JN 8:32)
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/dustpuppy72/4290962747/”>Dustpuppy72</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/beginasyouare/1045120420/”>Mike_tn</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/60532802@N07/5546682698″>Head of Jesus Christ 62</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>