Saturday, 1 June 2013

Christianity vs science?

Listening to the outspoken atheists of our days is not a pleasant experience. Of course, as a Christian myself, hearing their misrepresentations and belittling of God, whom I know and love, is never going to be a jolly occasion. But that's ok, I have to accept that as part of life. What I want to talk about in this post is, however, a trend I noticed in their arguments against religion. The atheists seem to be creating a false dichotomy between science and religion. They force people to choose between science and a belief in God. To narrow my argument (because there are in fact many religions, and I am not going to defend any religion other than Christianity), they force their hearers to choose between science and Christianity. I think this pitting of science and Christianity against each other is not a very recent innovation, but must have been going on for some time, because people seem to assume it. The recent atheists are using that false presumption as their advantage and enforcing it further.

I think it would be helpful to remember that, as Christians, we are not against science. Science, as a method of exploring and the accumulated-but-nevertheless-transient knowledge about the natural world is just what it is, science. A Christian can do science, a hindu can do science, a muslim can do science, just as an atheist can do science. They just have to do science when they do science. When someone comes along and says to you that you can't believe in God and be a scientist at the same time, don't believe him. He's either trying to trick you, or he hasn't thought it through well enough.

It's important to remember what the real two opponents are. It's atheism (not science) and Christianity. It's the belief or a wilful commitment to the idea that there is no God vs. believing God as revealed in Jesus and trusting Him as we live out our lives.

Atheists often protest: well, you can't prove God exists, so why should I believe in God? When there's no proof for existence of something, it's only rational not to believe that it exists.

Well, I can't prove God exists, at least the way atheists want me to. Nor should you try to prove God exists in the way atheists want you to, because that's always bound to fail. The problem is, most (if not all) atheists I've come across would accept only the scientific proof. They will not accept God that cannot be seen through the telescope or microscope. They will not accept God that cannot be predicted  in some kind of a mathematical paragraph and proven through observations. In other words, they are requiring a naturalistic proof for something supernatural. Of course, having committed to the rejection of the supernatural, they're trying to find a God who is natural, not supernatural, and so, ironically, they are right in affirming there is no God (who is natural).

Again, it's helpful to remember (and remind your atheist friends) that the two opposing sides are not science vs. Christianity, but atheism vs. Christianity. It's a naturalistic worldview vs. supernatural worldview. And, if you think about it, you can have a supernatural worldview and work on something that requires you to focus only on the naturalistic phenomenon and causes, namely, science. So you can be a Christian and be quite good at science. Yet, if you have a naturalistic worldview, you cannot (or would not) have a legitimate method of thinking about and explaining the supernatural because, well, you've excluded it yourself. So for example, an atheist cannot be a theologian. You can be a scientist, but you have removed from yourself a right to comment on anything supernatural. The atheists still do make supernatural claims though by saying that there is no God.

Now, I cannot scientifically prove God's existence, but that does not mean that there is no evidence. God has left His mark both in creation, in history, and in human nature, so there are plenty of evidence for Him. In Psalm 19:1 it says: "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaim his handiwork." (also see Psalm 50:6 and Rom 1:20) There have been and still are powerful arguments for God's existence on the basis of what we see in the world (eg. the cosmological arguments and teleological arguments). And you also mustn't ignore Jesus who came into our world (John 1:14), yes, the natural world, and lived, died, resurrected, and ascended (Try John or Mark if you haven't read the gospels before). You can investigate into history to find strong evidence for Jesus and the credibility and reasonableness of Christian faith. There are other arguments for God's existence as well, such as the moral arguments, which basically says, since we all believe in the reality of an objective morality, God must exist. There are multitudes of evidence, or clues, if you like, and many powerful arguments for God's existence, especially if you are seeking evidence for God of Christianity. Only, make sure you are not wholly committed to naturalistic worldview but more open. Atheists like saying science is more open than religion because when new evidence comes in, they are happy to review their current theory and make adjustments. But they are only talking about naturalistic or scientific evidence, and rightly so, since they are talking about science. You and I must be more open than that, however, when investigating the claims of Christianity. More open than atheists by being open to the possibility of something supernatural when you look around you and ponder on the implications of all sorts of evidence and theories of the world. When you do that, with God's grace, you will see how reasonable Christianity really is.

No comments: