Are Science and Faith Really in Conflict?
According to some surveys, half of all Americans believe that science and religion are in conflict. Closer to home, one-fourth of all young adults from a Christian background believe that Christianity is anti-science.
Given the way that the relationship between religion and science is presented in the media and popular culture, and sad to say, even in our schools sometimes, this is hardly surprising.
But just because people think that the relationship between Christianity and science is a “zero sum” game doesn’t make it so. The truth is very different.
That’s why I’m very excited to tell you about an upcoming one-night event entitled “Science & Faith: Are They Really in Conflict?” sponsored by my friends at the Discovery Institute this coming Sunday, September 21. It will be simulcast in churches across the country. More about that in a minute.
The event features Stephen Meyer, author of groundbreaking books such as “The Signature in the Cell” and “Darwin’s Doubt,” and also John Lennox of Oxford University. And I have the huge privilege of rounding out this august panel. We’re going to address a number of questions, including: has science disproved God?; are science and faith really in conflict?; and just how “scientific” are the claims of leading atheists?
All of these are vital points in the narrative that increasingly dominates public discourse. In this narrative, as sociologist Rodney Stark wrote in “For the Glory of God,” “heroic” scientists attempt to roll back the curtain of ignorance all the while fighting off attacks by religious fanatics.
This narrative, as Stark and others have documented, is not true now and has actually never been true. If anything, the opposite is the case. According to Stark, the theory of evolution, to name but one example, "has primarily been an attack on religion by militant atheists who wrap themselves in the mantle of science in an effort to refute all religious claims concerning a creator—an effort that has also often attempted to suppress all scientific criticisms of Darwin's work."
In case you’re wondering, Stark insists he has no dog in the evolution versus intelligent design debate.
The use of the language of science as a cudgel against Christian faith is a relatively recent phenomenon. As Stark tells us, “the so-called ‘Scientific Revolution’ of the sixteenth century was a result of developments begun by religious scholars starting in the eleventh century.”
Most of the leading lights of the scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries could reasonably be described as devout Christians. This makes sense, since “the rise of science was the natural outgrowth of Christian doctrine.” It was based on the belief that “Nature exists because it was created by God. In order to love and honor God, it’s necessary to fully appreciate the wonders of his handiwork.”
That our contemporaries sometimes think otherwise represents the triumph of propaganda that had its origins in the Enlightenment and has reached its apogee in the dogma of scientism, which holds that empirical science “constitutes the most authoritative worldview or most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints.”
That’s why I’m excited about the upcoming “Science & Faith” event this Sunday. It’s bad enough that non-Christians have got the story about Christianity and science all wrong. But it’s even more tragic that so many Christians have it wrong, too.
The event is being simulcast in more than 100 churches across the country. I hope you can attend! Please, come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and we’ll link you the list of churches hosting the event.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
Publication date: September 18, 2014