Now some of my counterparts might disagree with this post but I must confess at the core of traditional fundamental biblical Christianity it contradicts with science. We would be disillusioned to think that religion and science are not at war with each other.
And when I say incompatible I mean this in two ways. That at the fundamental core of biblical Christianity, one cannot accept certain sciences that contradict with the bible and Christianity. Now this is not mainstream cultural Christianity, but the traditional church going types, that believe the bible is authoritative word of god. For many more moderate Christians do not believe the bible to be just another book by man. But for those Christians who believe it to be the inspired and divine word of God, I must say you cannot accept both the bible and science.
For me personally, the acceptance of empirical science was a small tidbit in my de-conversion from Christianity. It wasn’t the main reason, but more of the final nail in the coffin. If not for all the things I know about modern science, I would probably be a deist. However after learning about Cosmology, Evolution, Physics, History, and Geology, I realized deism was just God of the Gaps.
When I first became a youth leader, I decided to read this book called You Lost Me by David Kinnaman. In his books and research he asks why are young people leaving the church and not coming back. And he narrowed it down to 6 major reasons to why young Christians leave the church. And believe or not the third on the list was Science. That the Church is anti-science.
Here is the first quote from that chapter from a young man named Matt who left the faith:
“To be honest, I think that learning about science was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I knew from church that I couldn’t believe in both science and God, so that was it. I didn’t believe in God anymore.” (You Lost Me, By David Kinnaman pg. 131)
From Kinnaman’s studies he doesn’t find this to be the majority opinion of the masses, but its’ a very significant percentage. According to Gallups 2005 survey nearly 30% of the population agree that science and religion are in conflict. That is nearly 1 out of 3 people agree and admit that science and religion conflict in some way. There is an obvious problem here, when we say that there is no contradiction between faith and science, but then we turn to history and then we see the many obstacles science has had in the classroom and in the church. According to a 2007 poll by the Pew Forum, Americans generally respect science, but often “reject science in favor of the teachings of their faith” when evidence contradicts their belief. Just look at that the last 100 years:
- Scopes Monkey Trial -1925
- Epperson vs. Arkansas -1968
- Wright vs. Houston Independent School District -1972
- Daniel vs. Waters -1975
- Hendren vs. Campbell -1977
- Webster vs. New Lenox School District -1990
- Kitzmiller vs. the Dover Area School District -2005
If science and religion don’t contradict then why are there so many cases in our court system of creationist and teachers of evolution combating each other. And this is just the issue of evolution. There is still stem cell research, birth control, abortion, miracles, and the all to famous trial of Galileo. It is blantaly evident that in some meaningful form science and religion have some irreconcible differences. Just take the education of science; the more scientifically educated you are, the less likely you are going to believe in god. These are the words of one christian scientist as he talked about the matter in his opinion:
“Every week, I am contacted by young Christians who tell me that their faith cannot survive their interest in science. They feel the church has forced them into an either-or-decision, that they can either stay true to the Christian faith or become an intellectually honest scientist.” (You Lost Me, By David Kinnaman pg. 132)
Remember these numbers…this is what young Christians said (You Lost Me, pg. 136-137):
- 29% said that Churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in.
- 25% said that the Church is Anti-Science
- 18% said that the Church is anti-intellectual
If we are to say that religion and science can coexist equally, yes that might be true for some but not for all. Take this as an example (You Lost Me, pg 135):
A young Christian might watch a debate between a Bible professor and an evolutionary biologist on YouTube, read a series of blog posts on ID, and then crack open her Biology textbook to study. After which the she’ll go to a local Bible study, where the leader may go on at length about how you can’t believe in evolution and the Bible at the same time. Then go home for dinner where the talk of the conversation is the so called “evolution-creationism” controversy. How can this young person truly reconcile the two world views in this type of everyday environment?
- Are Christians Anti-Science?
- The Anti-Science Church
- My Post on Evolution
- Do Scientist Really Reject God?
- The Evolution Controversy
- Fantasy and Religion: One Fundamental Difference
- The MIT Survey on Religion, Science and Origins: The Belief Gap
- Why Religion and Evolution Don’t Have to Be at Odds
- Evolution and Religious Communities