This debate both annoys and fascinates me to no end. Has anyone actually changed anyone else’s mind? Well, maybe they have. The issue for me is, it’s pointless. Science will never prove or disprove God – nor should that be the goal. God is inherently improvable. That’s kinda the point of faith right? I mean we don’t have to have faith in gravity or the Pythagorean Theorem; they just are – now they still have to be “discovered”. Really smart people had to get together and figure out just how things worked.
God however, didn’t need to be discovered. God as a concept in one form or another has been around as a human concept as long as humans have been. And it doesn’t even take brilliant scientists to believe – anyone can do it! The thing is people who believe in God do it because the need to, not because it’s a proven fact. There would be a profound emptiness in my life if I did not believe in some higher force/spirit/whatever you want to call it. I feel safer because of it; I feel loved; I feel close even when alone. These are feelings quite frankly that I wouldn’t want to be “explained away”.
And maybe that’s how some religious people feel about the scientific theories that challenge or even completely disprove something biblical. They are afraid science will one day completely explain away the existence of God or even the need for God. Frankly I think we have more to fear from Prozac than from evolutionary theory in that regard – but that’s another entry. I can understand that initial fear, I’ve felt it. I think it’s a normal human reaction to not want to lose or even change something that brings you joy.
But is that what God wants for us, just to be happy and feel good? I was struck by a passage from David Plots “Blogging the Bible” series. This passage is from his first post on Exodus:
God shows that He loves a challenge. He has no use for lumpish yes men. His truest favorites so far—Abraham and Moses, as well as Jacob and Joseph—don’t back down from Him.
Maybe we should all take a few notes from our New Testament brethren and talk back occasionally. Not because it will change Him, but it might put us in a more honest position. Instead of the proverbial a**kissing we’ve been doing.
Knowing God is a challenge. We don’t get fireside chats with God (ok, maybe Abraham did). It supposed to be hard otherwise we wouldn’t appreciate it/Him. We should embrace concepts and ideas that are contrary to our own. Accept these challenges. That doesn’t mean agree with every change of the wind, but give it serious thought and understand the roots. Unless there are none – and there are a lot of ideas out there with no roots to stand on. They will die, like all things without roots do so don’t get too worried about those either.
Admittedly the science/religion debate is a tempting one to watch. Check out the Sullivan/Harris debate on Beliefnet. The smack down is just too much fun to pass up, especially if your side is winning! But know from the get go how worthless it is in terms of coming to any conclusions. If you can approach it like you’re watching and endless version of Rocky – both sides going the distance into oblivion – you’re on the right tract. Just make sure you have enough beer to see you through!