PLease Don’t Confuse Me with Facts!

Posted: January 6, 2011 in Faith, Spirituality
Tags: ,

I subscribe to a number of daily & weekly blogs via Google Reader. It saves me a lot of time and ensures that I don’t miss anything from my favorite writers. This morning I got this from geeksaresexy.com

Why are some Christians so afraid of science.

Why are some Christians so ignorant & afraid of science.

I will never understand why some Christians are A) so incredibly ignorant of basic science and logic, B) so afraid of science they really don’t want to know anything.

Take the above example. First of all let’s look at the original statement of so-called fact.

“Fact – if the earth was 10 ft closer to the sun we would all burn up and if it was 10 ft further we would freeze to death… God is amazing!!”

Yes God is amazing – I’m amazed he doesn’t hurl more thunderbolts when his followers come up with this kind of drivel. Seriously! TEN FEET!!! How can anyone actually believe this? It doesn’t take an astrophysicist to realize that is this were actually true then life on earth would have died off before Adam and Eve got themselves kicked out of The Garden.  Or at best life could not exists outside a narrow band between  10 ft. above and 10 ft. below sea-level.

The first thing they taught us in grade 6 science was the difference between mean distance and average distance and just how much wobbling there is out there when it comes to things like planets and moons and stars and such. One really has to wonder how any educational system more than 10% functional could produce this kind of scientific ignorance.

But the real problem here is not that God-is-awesome-guy can’t comprehend basic physics; it’s his reaction when someone points out the flaw in his logic.

“Okay, thats cool and alll but dont ever comment on my status telling me that i am wrong everrr again. I didnt ask you did i? Answer: NO” [sic]

This is what really bugs me about this post and the entire God vs Science debate (as if God and science have nothing to do with each other). What has happened to the church in the last century to make such a large portion of it so afraid of science? And why is it so many of those who claim to follow one of the gentlest, kindest, most polite people ever (Jesus wasn’t even rude when talking to those who were out to kill him) are such blatantly rude ignoramuses.

This isn’t the first time I have encountered this among God’s people. Back in the Eighties I had a pastor once try to tell me that human beings never, ever under any circumstances lived in caves. That the whole cave-dweller idea was part of the conspiratorial lie that is “evilution” (Yeah – he actually pronounced it that way every single time he said the word).

When I asked him to explain the overwhelming preponderance of evidence that indicated large numbers of human communities lived in caves all over the world, his response was, “Even if it is true, I don’t want to know about it. I prefer my own reality, the facts be damned.” (Exact quote folks. It was so absurd a statement I will never forget it.)

I’ve heard other pastors, elders, evangelists and everyday Christians make similar declarations. “I don’t want to hear the facts. If I’m wrong, I don’t want to know it.” What worries me most is I can only think of one place where this attitude can possibly have come from – insecurity.

That’s right – insecurity! You see, while a number of these people will tell you they hold fast to this position because they are strong in their faith and refuse to buckle under to the lies of science; I think the exact opposite is true.  If your faith is so strong then why must it run away from the facts.

Okay, I know that right now there are a large number of you screaming, “But evolution isn’t a fact – it’s a lie.” First of all – calm down. I’m not talking evolution here – I’m talking science in general. The above example has nothing to do with evolution – it’s a simple matter of math & physics. But even if it was about evolution, why run away from the debate with ridiculous statements like these?

Why can the church not engage in reasonable, intelligent debate instead of meaningless rhetoric that accomplishes nothing other than to shore up the argument that religion is the last retreat of the ignorant and uneducated. It just adds fuel to the fire; it doesn’t solve anything.

I’m really at a loss to understand where this recent fear of science comes from and belive me, it is recent.  As I’ve pointed out in earlier post regarding science fiction, such was not always the case. In previous centuries when science revealed new information about how the earth was made and how nature functions the response of many of these believing scientists was to marvel at the intricacy of God’s creation. In their journals and letters they revel in what they regarded as proof of an intellegence far beyond imagining being at the heart of the universe.

Their faith was not challenged. They didn’t cease to believe. They instead looked at the facts before them, looked at the Word revealed to them and studied to understand how the two come together. When they failed to be able to reconcile them it was not an indication that either science or faith were wrong, but rather an admission that we still need to study harder before understanding could be realized.

When did we stop doing this? When did it become acceptible to check your brain at the door before entering the church?  That’s not to say that there isn’t a good deal of dogmatic ignorance on the side of science as well, there is.  But I not being a scientist I can’t speak to that.

But I feel I can speak to the church, and once again I come back to the question of insecurity. I believe my faith is strong because there is nothing science can reveal to me about how the universe works that will shake it. And I don’t need to run away from it. I want to know how the universe spins. I want to know the world that God created because it all reveals to me something about who God is.

Sometimes it does challenge my understanding of exactly who God is, but never my firm belief that God exists. I harbour no pretentions that I fully understand all there is to know about God or the universe He created. My theology, like everything else about me is a work in progress, a constant state of being and becoming that will never be a stagnant pool but always a flowing river. The shape of it will change with each new turn, each eddy and tributary along the way. Some of the changes will happen because of what I read in the Word, some because of what I read in the earth, but through it all God remains the same.

If your faith avoids rather than faces the challenges that come along, how can growth ever happen?

Shalom…

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