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 spirituality. 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.”

Why is it that, when science and faith come into question, the go-to source of conflict is Christianity? Probably because other world religions encourage education and questioning.

For Muslim people, seeking knowledge is a sacred duty. Prioritizing education is obligatory, and that knowledge is considered to be the path towards greater closeness to Allah. As much as we want to cite anglo-Europeans for the Enlightenment era, we wouldn’t have modern science and medicine without early Islamic innovation.

Jews are the most educated religious group. That’s not to say they’re the smartest eggs in the basket, but continually seeking out knowledge and wisdom to better understand the world is a given. The critical thinking involved with the studying the Torah inevitably seeped into the scientific fields.

These are but two of many world religions we could dissect (like a frog in science class?). But it’s clear that, throughout history, science and faith have worked hand-in-hand. They’re co-occurring realms that uplift one another.

science and faith: a partnership.

With all that’s occurring in the world, we have science and faith to thank for our survival and well-being. Medicine and scientific discoveries are in full-force as we find treatments and a vaccine for coronavirus. At the same time, faith is keeping our hearts and minds hopeful and reassured that everything will be okay.

I think of all the thought put behind both science and faith, and I cannot help but stand in awe of humanity’s abilities. We’re so insightful and hungry to learn more. To stifle our pursuits would be a great injustice.

So, I implore you: seek out knowledge of all kinds. If you’re privileged enough to be sheltered-in without many activities, pursue knowledge. Take online classes. Watch some TED Talks. Utilize your resources. Learn about a subject you may have never considered before.

And, at the same time, thank God/Spirit/the Divine for granting us such a wonderful gift. To simply exist in a brief moment where our access to information exceeds all prior moments. We’re so blessed. May both science and faith flourish.

Take care, and keep the (science and) faith. -Allie

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