Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

5/13/2009

Things Science Is too Young to Understand



Dan Brown made a huge stir with his book and the subsequent movie, The DaVinci Code. A previous book surfaces in theaters this week to bring up the contention between science and religion. Angels & Demons opens in theaters around the country Friay trying to generate drama from the conflict of science and religion. It is true that there have been times when religious leaders suppressed science. It is also true that Christianity has been a supporter of scientific research. But the movie and the book on which it is based makes much of the myth which goes something like this: Science is about facts. Science tells us of things that are proven, that we can know with certainty. Religion is about beliefs and faith. Religion concerns things that we cannot prove, but that one must simply believe. Science is progressive while religion seeks to oppress science.

The new movie notwithstanding, there is a problem when this myth is pushed to the extreme, science is seen as being rational, enlightened, and standing on the side of knowledge. Christianity and other religions are viewed as backwards, superstitious, and authoritarian. It can come across as if one must decide whether to live a life according to science or Christianity.

We should get neither too excited when science seems to confirm our faith nor too bothered when science seems to contradict our faith. Science and religion are separate lines of inquiry into the same reality and as one character will say in the film, "There are simply some things science is too young to understand." The truth is that faith has not always shown the maturity that comes with age. Both our science and our faith are on a journey to a goal not yet reached, and we should let each run its course with the occasional check and balance from each other.

Albert Einstein is oft quoted weighing in on this issue saying, ”Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” Discoveries from science can help illumine our faith. Likewise, a breakthrough in spirituality can help a scientist find new meaning in her or his work. These checks and balances become even more important as we move ahead as genetic research pushes ahead to new frontiers in what is possible. Some on the faith side currently choose to ignore any scientific discovery that seems to contradict their current understanding. I suggest that we neither ignore science nor place our faith in it.

I personally would not choose to give up all the advancements in medicine to return to a pre-enlightenment health care system. However, I would also hate to see science pushed ahead toward doing whatever is possible, with regard only to what can be done and never to what should be done. Therefore, while I suggest that the worlds of science and religion are largely separate, they need each other.

After all, humans seem hard-wired to ask the big questions like, “Why am I here?” and, “How did everything we see get here?” Science has shown that the more we understand, the muddier the water gets for the bigger questions. Scientific method alone can never answer these questions adequately.

That's my take. What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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3 Comments:

  • At 5/13/2009 6:29 AM, Anonymous Kelly said…

    I pondered this as a very young child making the nuns at school extremely angry when I would question them with scientific facts. I had a hard time with the Creation Story of Adam and Eve; and really got in trouble when I questioned the story of Jonah being swallowed by whale after learning about digestion. :)

     
  • At 5/13/2009 10:41 AM, Anonymous V W said…

    The more I learn of science in today's world the more I have 'Aha" moments in faith. Without the scientific break throughs we wouldnt be able to harness the gifts that God created. Electricity, from lightening, antibiotics from fungus, matter of fact our very structures wouldnt be very efficent if they were built without the understanding of gravity. But as humans we turn these gifts into nightmares through our science. Bio weapons from simple bacteria cultures, "smarter" bombs from advanced electronic components. Science is a method and is a tool but what guides the hand that uses the tool?

     
  • At 5/13/2009 12:07 PM, Blogger November In My Soul said…

    Science is the team pulling the plow. Faith is the hand guiding the plow.

    Without the plow our world would be barren. Without the Hand on the reins the field would remain fallow.

     

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