The Future of Christianity and Science
O.k., let’s take this whole religion and science thing at its most basic… Most people see them in serious conflict. Why?
Maybe because in the most common forms of both, they are! But are these popular forms either science or religion at their best? Are they what they need to be, to serve us not only as in the past, but much better?
There are better forms of both religion and science. (We will consider specifically Christianity, but it is similar for other religions.) Particularly, for discussion here, better foundational concepts that create an operating framework. Christians will often complain that science has no business, as well as no competence or authority, in speaking of the origin of life, or ruling out the existence of God. And perhaps as self-righteously as those Christians, most scientists and various skeptics will say that Christians, if they had their way, would undermine the very basis and motivation for doing science.
Talk about a turf war! Fortunately, at least these days, most from both groups will stop short of physical violence…. But it does get pretty nasty sometimes. To keep this basic, let’s proceed: In a nutshell, traditional Christianity operates out of supernaturalism and science out of naturalism. Makes a clear contrast, right? No complicated definitions needed, but simple ones may be helpful.
Supernaturalism, in Christian form, says that God can and at least occasionally does interrupt natural processes to do something special (especially around Christ coming to be Savior, but maybe also just as a favor to you or me). Naturalism, as understood generally by “science” (institutional practices but also similarly in popular culture) says, “No! Hold on! How can we count on any data, create any explanatory or predictive systems if your God can be manipulating things whenever “he” wants? Besides, where is the evidence for interventions?” (Even though almost none of them ever bother to look seriously for any evidence unless they happen to have been raised Christian or had a conversion experience or such. And even then, they may well separate their faith fully from their science.)
So “never the twain shall meet” with these two–God basically has to supercede his own rules to redeem us, if not for other important reasons, on the one side. (And we can see that he has, they say). On the other side, science believes it observes that there is a single and completely consistent way things operate, by nature (sometimes “Nature” as a slight bow toward a personal side to the process, perhaps). In other words, naturally and naturally only. Since the late Enlightenment, not even a distant “clockmaker” God is needed…. All has developed from original matter via natural processes, and intelligence is just extra-complex cell organizations of neurons, etc.
Somebody does have to give on something for any kind of resolution, right?
Fortunately, there are quite a few people who can do good science while holding religious faith and they have various ways of working it out (more than a few books on the subject these days!). But very few have tried to work out another way of making ALL the data fit together consistently, including the harder-to-measure-and-analyze “data” from inside our bodies and/or souls, or our not-so-unusual “paranormal” experiences.
But what if God exists, but works her/his love out in ways other than intervening, ever, in the natural processes that are part of and proceed out of God?
Is this possible? I think yes… What do YOU think?