Faith vs. Science – False Fighting (Part 1)

So if you live in the modern Western world (and chances are good that if you are reading this you are a Westerner and you are alive), you’ve encountered this “faith vs. science” dichotomy many a time. It’s in the media and it’s in our schools; it’s everywhere and it’s not always polite. And the main tension, of course, is over what is true (epistemology, if you please). “What is true? In order for something to be true, do we have to be able to prove it? If faith (that is, evangelical Christian faith) is true, can scientific observation even contribute? Should it be acknowledged that Christian faith is, to some extent, illogical? If I’m a Christian, should I be afraid of science?” Oh, we’ve got some fun times ahead. This tension – this faith vs. science fiasco – is the philosophic Great Divide of our time.

But be aware – this was not always the case. This first post of the series will bring us up to speed.

Previously, we had a unified system of truth which was rooted in the only possible common denominator – God. It was believed that all truth is God’s truth. In many ways, studying the Bible was not considered one bit different from contemplating the way grass grew or observing the way animals interacted. It was all a reflection of God, either in his Word or in his world. Our concept of truth looked like this:

But, starting with the Enlightenment a few hundred years ago, we started to separate truth into categories. We cut our concept of truth in half. Oh, it started out innocently enough: on one side there was scientific knowledge, and on the other was Scriptural knowledge. Science dealt with the physical, observable world, while Scripture dealt with the metaphysical, non-observable world. Both were (at first) considered valid avenues leading to truth. Our concept of truth looked more like this:

But something went wrong, didn’t it?

Science got greedy. Science decided that something could only be considered true if it was observable, logical, or repeatable (This belief is so widespread that many read the previous sentence and thought, ‘Duh’). But this lead to scientific methodism as a religion, basically. And, in response, many dedicated to the faith lowered their view of scientific discovery so far that they became completely illogical and ignorant toward observation of the world. The damage had been done. Truth was bifurcated and the faith vs. science debate kicked into full swing. And here we sit.

I’m unqualified, but I’ll try my best to put Humpty Dumpty back together again in the next posts.


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