Why must some versions of Christianity pit scientific discovery against religious doctrine? It seems from my personal experiences that to some if you believe in God then you cannot believe in scientific discovery. Of course much of this goes back to the literal interpretation of Bible. Since those holding that view must believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old how do they reconcile that with all the scientific facts known today. The most prominent of these recent discoveries is carbon dating. I don’t pretend to know all the details of this branch of science but I do know that it has been shown to be accurate in every instance that it has been challenged.
Since it seems impossible to disprove carbon dating then those who dispute it on religious grounds must do so by saying that it is just God tricking us! But why would God need to do that? This is just one discovery of a long line of discoveries that God has presented us with through the ages. Of course the most remembered disputed discovery was made by Galileo when he publicly stated that the earth is not the center of the universe. The religious establishment at that time came down hard and mercilessly on him for that and they were the power to be reckoned with at the time. They were convinced from their interpretation of the Bible that God had to have made the earth the center of everything. They simply would not even conceive of the idea that the earth was simply a very minor and almost totally insignificant part of the universe. Fast forward five hundred years and the Catholic Church finally got around to admitting and then apologizing for this error. I guess by that time the scientific proof was just impossible to deny even for them.
Todays logic by some is that since carbon dating must be wrong then we must be skeptical of all scientific discovery. So to those who believe this they must also look with suspicion on anyone who is a proponent of science. If you believe in science you must not believe in God. Of course this small group (at least I hope they are small) could not be more wrong.
There are many scientist Christians around today who are just as much a Christian as anyone. I consider myself to be one of them. I think the group that has the most problems being accepted by the religious community are the scientists. For them it seems much harder to be a Christian than not as they don’t feel they are welcomed in many Christian communities. The most visible scientist and Christian today is probably Francis Collins. He was the leader of the genome project that mapped out DNA. His book entitled The Language of God does a very good job to point out how science and religious beliefs can be melded very nicely if only we let it. It does no good for any of us to put a high fence between religion and science. It only drives people away. I will close with a paragraph from the above mentioned book.
If you are a believer in God who picked up this book because of concerns that science is eroding faith by promoting an atheistic worldview, I hope you are reassured by the potential for harmony between science and faith. If God is the Creator of all the universe, if God had a specific plan for the arrival of humankind on the scene, and if He had a desire for personal fellowship with humans, into whom He had instilled the Moral Law as a signpost toward himself, then He can hardly be threatened by the efforts of our puny minds to understand the grandeur of His creation.
Soon I will be reviewing a small book written by another scientist Christian. He is an astronomer named Hugh Ross. His book entitled Genesis One – A Scientific Perspective reconciles the creation story with that account in Genesis. It is very interesting reading at least to those who are not locked into the literal interpretation of the Bible.