Religion vs. Science: Are Religion and Science Compatible?

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?

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About M. Rodriguez

When I first received Christ salvation, I made it a priority to read the whole bible and I did. But it was the Bible that made me question my faith. For I found it flawed and lacking. Due to this I launched a personal inquiry/investigation into my faith, and ultimately realized that the Christian God of the Bible was indeed man-made. Now I Blog about those findings and life after Christ.
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5 Responses to Religion vs. Science: Are Religion and Science Compatible?

  1. Arkenaten says:

    The great thing is that 20 years ago when there were no blogs or very few, such conversations, such dissemination of information was unheard of.
    I laugh like a drain when I read Christians like unklee, over at Nate’s spot, say their faith is not threatened by archaeology and science. They think in tiny increments and cannot bear to expand their mind and imagine what might happen in another 20 years.
    And what’s another 100 years? Really? Nothing. It took nearly 400 years for the church to fix the darn canon of the New Testament, for goodness sake! 🙂
    Religion and god belief is on the way out It has been shown the door and all it is doing is dithering about whether to put on its coat.

    Good post, Marcus.

  2. Neil Rickert says:

    For me, science and religion were compatible. But I was never a fundamentalist, though I was in a conservative church.

    I think this is because I became interested in science at around age 11 (a good teacher), and I did not get involved in an evangelical church until the following year. Thus, if the Bible was to be seen as authoritative, I had to find a way of reading it that did not conflict with science.

    That eventually came to imply that the Bible was authoritative only on theology, and certainly not on science.

    It was the problems with theology that led me to drop religion. For example, I could not find a convincing case that Jesus had declared his divinity. The gospel accounts of the resurrection were so vague, so missing in detail, that they looked more like hysteria than like accurate descriptions.

    • M. Rodriguez says:

      thats interesting that for you it was more unproven theology. For me the beginning parts was the errors in the bible, discrepancies in external early historical antiquity accounts, and then I would say the classical arguments.

      We all have different reasons for leaving the faith/delusion.

  3. M. Rodriguez says:

    I also find it so silly when the religious say that there is no conflict between science and religion, but the person who always leaves religion or the church mentions how the church seems to be at odds with science.

    as one person who left the church said…. “What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.

    We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.

    We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.

  4. Gold Price says:

    Though the Church is prohibited by the Manual from publishing membership figures, the number of branch churches in the United States has fallen steadily since World War II. Dr. Stephen Barrett has reported that since 1971, the number of practitioners and teachers in the United States listed in the Christian Science Journal (April 2013) has fallen from nearly 5,000 to just over 1,000 and the number of churches in the United States has fallen from about 1,800 to about 900.

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