Where I grew up you bled either Duke or Carolina blue. It was not just a preference but an identity. Science and faith seem to require this kind of team loyalty. It’s as if alignment with one negates our engagement with the other. Some try to view them like a teacher who separates two bickering children, loving both but keeping them apart. You can let science and faith can sit together again when you understand the following two blindspots….
Defending things the Bible doesn’t actually say
First, science and faith appear to contradict when scripture doesn’t speak for itself. For instance, the creation passage in Genesis was written to proclaim artfully, WHO made WHAT. Since the1800’s, some Christians have been stuck defending “how” and “when.” The original Hebrew audience would have recognized Moses waxing poetic. Similarly, in Psalm 90 he says, “For a day in Your sight is like 1000 years and 1000 years a day.” Forcing scripture to say more than intended is not faithful to the original intent and is the source of many tangles between faith and science.
Of course, not every miracle is a metaphor. The creation story itself makes no sense apart from an omnipotent, transcendent God acting in human history. Like any historic event, it’s affects may be observable (in this case to the nanosecond) but not repeatable by scientific method. “How convenient,” a skeptic might say.
But requiring measurable proof of God is equally convenient–indeed, it is faith-based. You cannot prove that reality is restricted to our five senses. And, as you’ll see below, no one actually lives that creed.
Using only the left half of your brain
The second reason faith and science seem conflicted is the influence of the Enlightenment. Jefferson called himself an Epicurean which includes the belief that creation, despite its precision and beauty, needed no assistance getting started or being sustained. When you assume that reality is limited to human measurements, you’ve taken a position that cannot be proven but only believed.
Tom Wright points out that no one actually lives within the limits of logic alone.
“Music, laughter, grief, and imagination keep breaking in despite the best efforts of the left brain, just as right-brain dreamers still have to…pay their bills and catch the train to get to work on time.”
Faith and science need not stand in such sharp opposition. When believers appreciate the genres of scripture and skeptics recognize they too have assumptions (faith!) influencing their view of facts, better conversations can begin. It’s an intellectual dodge to label faith in God as less than reasonable simply because it is more than reasonable.
“The heavens declare the glory of God….” Ps. 19
Honest atheism: “A Darwinian society would be a very unpleasant sort of society in which to live.” — Richard Dawkins