science and faith can (and should) coexist

To some, I’m a hypocrite. My beliefs conflict with one another. I’m not a “true believer.” I’m standing in some awkward purgatory of ideas, too wishy-washy to pick one side over another.

Science and faith have always seemed to collide. On one end, you see very logical scholars throwing out statistics and clear evidence. On the other end, you have Bible-thumpers who are uneducated, distrustful, and ignorant of the facts.

These harsh stereotypes disregard the majority of people who, in reality, fall in a spectrum. They can value both education and church. And yet there is still clearly judgment for having science and faith coexist. Why should we feel guilty for accepting both fields of study and concepts?

There’s immense value in science and knowledge, and without God, this pursuit of data and evidence wouldn’t even be possible. We need both science and faith to exist and help us understand our world. There doesn’t have to be conflict.

a time and place.

The problems that arise when judging science and faith come when we try to have one or the other answer every single question we have. Some questions will simply never be compatible with science and vice versa. If we try to knock each of field of study off its respective pedestal, we succumb to ignorance.

It’s clear that there are some really important questions that science cannot really answer, such as: Why is there something instead of nothing? Why are we here? Scientists point to speculative theories and try to justify the means, but at the end of the day, it’s a big unknown.

Logic and clear evidence just doesn’t stand well. The intricacy we find in nature, the multi-layered, complex design we know and continue to uncover began somewhere.

Science cannot explain the breath of God in every living being. It cannot explain the human soul, or the possibilities beyond our reach. Science is meant for fact and observation, while faith is all about what we cannot observe and quantify.

The same goes for spirituality not giving the full story. The main example that comes to mind is the debate over evolution or creation. For decades, people stir controversy by throwing their strict adherence to the biblical Genesis story at public education. Evolution and science in general becomes “bad.” Tainted. Ungodly. Even if years of scientific research points to evolution, conservative Christians will find a way to explain it all away. “Only God knows.”

the Bible and pursuing knowledge.

Take my views with a grain of salt, but I believe God created science for us to better understand His creation. He is responsible for spurring on evolution, the Genesis story acting more as a metaphor, and He has supported humanity as we learn more and gain more knowledge.

All we see and touch and experience is a result of God’s hand. He has granted us the potential for intellectual growth and understanding so we, in turn, can better understand Him.

We are so incredibly blessed for both science and faith. Proverbs 20:15 says, “Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.” Knowledge, in this case, is not only for educational purposes, but also for understanding one another.

Debates like that of science and faith are taken very personally; an attack toward your notions becomes an attack on your whole character. What we lack, then, is empathy. We put on our blinders and view the world through our self-made tunnels. If we value exploration so much, why do we hinder that by not opening our minds to others’ opinions?

we, not “us vs. them.”

Science and faith can be mutually enriching and complementary once their proper domains are understood and respected. The loudest voices from either side of the spectrum don’t account for the majority of people who fall somewhere in the middle. While my focus is science and faith, this social dynamic is present within virtually every aspect of our lives: the extremes are becoming more prominent, while the moderate, tempered majority dampens its voice.

Approaching life this way will never help us move forward effectively, for the benefit of all. We’ll always be stuck in this hamster wheel of dispute, unable to compromise and negotiate. It’s a precarious place to reside. This mentality isn’t stable, productive, or truly satisfying.

1 Peter 3:8 says, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” God wants us to not become haughty and dead-set in our ways. Shoving ideas down others’ throats, even those involving clear facts or the truth of Jesus, won’t work. We must simply be open and humble toward fellow humankind.

None of us, on our own, knows everything. Only God has ultimate reign, the entire extent of knowledge within His grasp. Who are we to judge one another and rule someone as completely false, or misguided, or naive, or dumb?

What I propose is this: continue pursing knowledge and believing in the ideas we’re drawn to, but empathize and understand others. Any form of education, such as experience, formal institutions, books, research, the Bible, and more, is a valuable blessing. Don’t rely on a single source for everything, but diversify what you know. Embrace new concepts. Accept that you won’t always be correct.

Give credit to both science and faith, for their separate and interwoven insight. Personally, through science, I’ve found I can better appreciate and admire God’s beauty, His perfection, His careful planning. It becomes so clear to me that the Holy Spirit is present in everywhere and in everyone.

Our world is an amazing place. Let’s take care of it, and take care of one another.

What are your thoughts on science and faith? Do you think they can coexist?

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

Author: Allie

A flower child passionate about faith, social justice, and love.

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