Friday, August 27, 2010

Christianity & Science: Are they Compatible?

It seems that most of my on-line conversations now happen on facebook pages. From time to time, I may republish some of those conversations here to reach my blog readers.

The following is an exchange which occurred when a friend posted a link to an article which posed the question,

"Can You Believe in Christianity and Evolution?"

"Josh" gave his answer,
christianity and science can be reconciled... but it has to be good, true science for the reconciliation to work! :-)
... to which I replied,
I found Josh's earlier comment interesting:
Josh, would you also agree with me if I rephrased that?
"Christianity and science can be reconciled... but it has to be good, true Christianity for the reconciliation to work"
From my perspective as a follower of Jesus and a follower of science, science is more often "true and good" than many versions of christianity. Conclusive, objective, and empirical evidence should not be asked to bend to align with subjective, debatable interpretations of the Bible. Would you agree?
When apparent conflicts appear between hard science and our version of Christianity, which should give way?


Ian Moss said...

I'll go with what St. Augustine said, " “In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in search for truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it.”

Thesauros said...

Since it was Jesus / Creator God who brought energy, matter, space, time and the corresponding laws of physics into being, it seems a rather stranger question does it not?

It's kind of like asking, should we mention Einstein while talking about the general theory of relativity?

Cliff Martin said...

Great quote, Ian! And so timely for the day in which we live.

Yes, Thesauros, believers should, of all people, be most motivated to explore Creation, which is science!

Brian Forbes said...

Ian - your comment to go with Augustine is so appropriate to this point, because he says a little further on in the same book:
"...I have learnt that a man is not in any difficulty in making a reply according to his faith which he ought to make to those who try to defame our Holy Scripture. When they are able, from reliable evidence, to prove some fact of physical science, we shall show that it is not contrary to our Scripture. But when they produce from any of their books a theory contrary to Scripture, and therefore contrary to the Catholic faith, either we shall have some ability to demonstrate that it is absolutely false, or at least we ourselves will hold it so without any shadow of a doubt. And we will so cling to our Mediator, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,”75 that we will not be led astray by the glib talk of false philosophy or frightened by the superstition of false religion. When we read the inspired books in the light of this wide variety of true doctrines which are drawn from a few words and founded on the firm basis of Catholic
belief, let us choose that one which appears as certainly the meaning intended by the author. But if this is not clear, then at least we should choose an interpretation in keeping with the context of Scripture and in harmony with our faith. But if the meaning cannot be studied and judged by the context of Scripture, at least we should choose only that which our faith demands. For it is one thing to fail to recognize the primary meaning of the writer, and another to depart from the norms of religious belief. If both these difficulties are avoided, the reader gets full profit from his reading."

In other words, pick scripture first and then the scientific speculations.