CULTURE

Has Science Beaten Christianity?

One of the great debates of this century has been between science and Christianity. Recently, it seems that many have concluded that the two cannot really coexist, and that if they do, they must not be talked about in the same forum should they accidentally contradict.

Further, being a ‘Christian scientist’ is seen by many as a sacrifice of intellect. Christian scientists and secular scientists are sometimes distinguished online and on television as “Christian scientist” as opposed to just “scientist,” when in reality, they pursued and were granted diplomas by the same universities — and often do research together. The great debate between the two need not be so great.

As a mathematics major at a Christian university, I have seen the two of these subjects from a front row seat. In math, there are two main schools of thought about math itself: Platonic and Non-Platonic. The Platonic view says that mathematics is discovered and having always existed, and the non-Platonic view states that mathematics is created. Most people will agree that 2+2=4 and 100 are bigger than 0. Another example is that some mathematicians view the natural numbers (counting numbers) as starting with 0, while others do not. It is simply a different way of looking at the same things.

In fact, “Christian” scientists and secular scientists simply interpret some data differently, but almost all of the time, they interpret data very similarly and arrive at similar conclusions. When they do disagree, it is not often. Some of the greatest scientists and mathematicians were Christians and their work was not hindered by their faith. In fact, often times, their faith helped their work, or their work helped their faith. Seeing the beauty of God in science often times motivates more science and discovery.

At the same time, some religious folks have ruled science as obsolete. Science is not obsolete. On the contrary, science has allowed for medicine, technology, and many great things that would be fantasy without the science. In the Bible, there is plenty of mention of injury and death and the pain that that causes people. The same is true today. I cannot imagine God allowing for science and then being disappointed in the development of blood transfusions, which saved countless lives in the Civil War. Or take the idea of letting blood, which would kill George Washington, and eventually be made obsolete by modern medicine. Medicine and science is not anti-God. God has allowed the constructs of science (from which medicine flows) to help people. If your leg is on fire, sure, praying is important, but so is getting to the hospital so they can treat your wounds.

On the other side, there is a fierce denial of Christianity altogether. The Second Law of Thermodynamics demands that there be a God, or actor starting the universe off, if you will. I tend to believe God has created the universe. The law in a very simple way states that in a closed system (like the universe) where no energy is added or taken away, the potential energy will always be less than the initial amount of energy. This is why leaving a bowl of hot soup on the counter is not hot in 4 hours. Often times, people use this law to point toward the need for an outside source (God) to have started the system in motion. I would argue that God is continually active within our world and universe. Even theoretical and quantum physics (which often times tends to be proven correct in due time) shows that different subatomic particles can be in the two different places at the same time. This is amazing and the enormous complexity of the science itself points me toward God.

Science and Christianity are not as nearly conflicted as people think. Much of the conflicts that people find in the Bible are not really conflicts. At the time, like the doctors who tried to help Washington, characters in the Bible had limited information at the time and it is simply recorded what they did and saw. This does not negate the Bible or make it untrue. If anything, it validates it in that it is truthful in what the characters actually saw. The great conflict of science and Christianity is nonsensical, considering that these scientists have the same degrees from the same universities and, more often than not, come to the exact same conclusions as their secular counterparts. The creation of this schism is for the sole purpose of trying to invalidate faith and eradicate God from schools and even the country. The attempt to do this and to then justify it by “intellectual superiority” is a great failure in thought. The person who is afraid to wonder cannot succeed. Wonder is often the motivation for science and knowledge itself is for the inquiring mind. Being a Christian scientist is not an intellectual sacrifice by any means. Those who know it all, well, they probably haven’t read this far—but if they have, then I hope that the great divide between science and Christianity is less dividing and smaller than it seemingly was before.

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