Faith and science are compatible

Certain segments of our current society have chosen for either religious or political reasons or both (a dangerous combination), to wage war on science.

Denying the obvious reality of human-caused “climate change” is but one piece of their agenda in a larger assault on scientific truth. Whether out of pure capitalist greed, or naive or willful ignorance, these folk create “straw men” to intentionally disregard science out of fear of what science will tell us.

They choose to experience the world not as it appears, but rather from a place of fear, refusing to believe the truth and audaciously declaring the laws of physics to be nonsense! You’d think they had been born 500 years ago! How sad! And how very dangerous for us all!

Over a century ago the Nobel Prize-winning British physicist, chemist, and mathematician William H, Bragg wrote: “From religion comes a man’s purpose; from science, his power to achieve it. Sometimes people ask if religion and science are not opposed to one another.”

They are, in the sense that the thumb and fingers of my hands are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by means of which everything can be grasped.”

More recently the late Carl Sagan (astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist) said, “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality … The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”

For a number of years now the Clergy Letter Project has encouraged communities of faith to celebrate “Evolution Weekend” in the month of February.

My own faith tradition, the United Church of Christ (UCC), has formally designated “Faith, Science, and Technology Sunday” in February “closest to Darwin’s birth date on the 12th.” BTW, Darwin was a man of profound and deep personal faith!

The connections between spirituality, science and technology are many. Taking a broad view that celebrates all the sciences open us to be passionate about the intersections of science in medicine, technology, ethics, astronomy, geology, climate, to name but a few – and the religious imagination.

The UCC has issued a pastoral letter which followed a full year of churchwide study by scientists, philosophers, theologians, and clergy. It is called “A New Dawn Arising: Faith Engaging Science”

Perhaps the 20th century’s greatest scientific genius, Albert Einstein, spoke of his attitude toward God: “We see a universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand those laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.”

With the ancient poet of Israel, a 21st-century person of faith AND science can also say: “Wonderful God! Awesome God! How majestic is your name in all the universe.”

Understanding, valuing, and practicing scientific exploration and experimentation is not in opposition to faith, but is an expression of it!

•••

The Rev. Dr. Rex E. Piercy is Intentional Interim Minister at Hanapepe United Church of Christ.

6 Comments
  1. james February 5, 2019 6:00 am Reply

    What is faith? One definition is: “a strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” Science, on the other hand, is proof based. Facts replace faith. Facts can be proven. Beliefs based on religious faith cannot be proven. Any religious tenant or belief that cannot be scientifically proven is suspect and should be viewed with skepticism. A problem or conflict arises when various religions demand their followes believe that the need for proof be suspended or ignored in order to accept religious tenants or beliefs, ie Adam and Eve, heaven, God in the sky, the earth created only 10,000 years ago, the concept of hell, etc, etc. Religion asks us to accept as fact that which cannot be scientifically proven and that is why the two are not compatible.


  2. Pete Antonson February 5, 2019 3:31 pm Reply

    First of all, James, only cult leaders, insecure ministers, or poorly trained 50’s style Sunday School teachers, “demand” that so called “followers” believe anything. I’m sorry if you experienced one of those, or some other influence, that shaped your ignorance. I sure did. I left the Church for 20 years, spouting things like it was the cause of all wars and other such ignorant nonsense! When I returned, studied, and even became a Church leader, I came to see the issue as Rev. Piercy does; who has written as fine a letter as I’ve ever seen on this subject. In 30 years, I have not heard the word “Hell;” but other denominations would give a very different report. Assuming all Churches are alike is a celebration of ignorance. When one is ready to seek the comfort that awaits them they need to research, attend, and choose where they will be comfortable, be able to worship authentically,and begin the journey of greater knowledge!


    1. james February 7, 2019 7:10 am Reply

      What’s the difference between believing in an imaginary old man in the sky and a large imaginary rabbit that appears around Easter time or a fairy God-Mother who rewards you for a lost tooth? Nothing. They all require you believe in scientifically unprovable fiction. If that’s your preference, I’m happy it helps you cope with life. Just don’t impose your beliefs on others, especially me.


      1. Pete Antonson February 7, 2019 2:18 pm Reply

        Are people really trying to impose their beliefs on you on Kauai, James? Are you talking about the once yearly knock by a well dressed Mormon youth or the twice yearly one by Jehovah’s witnesses? You know, the knock you don’t even answer. Do you think leaving your last name off gives you the right to denigrate the faith of MOST of your Kauai neighbors? I believe most people who know you also know you’ve not had any formal study in World Religions, Philosophy, Anthropology, or anything else that might give you a basic clue! I believe the people who know you have already figured out who, among them, named james, would publicaly celebrate their ignorance!


  3. Charlie Chimknee February 6, 2019 12:03 am Reply

    Oh woe…! And whoa…hold on there…

    Religious Faith has a sad side to it. Some people are raised from birth being spoon-fed to develop by repetitive accumulation a blank mind and Blind Eye allowing for Blind faith to be thoroughly accepted.

    It starts with our young in America…children are fed both physically and emotionally, rewarding entities, loke events, circumstances, stories, and unproven ancient history reinforced by so many other people in their young lives…from parents, family, media, school, friends, and teachers, making it that a child should accept with complete Blind Faith, the early in their life and at the beginning of their consciousness the accumulative complete lies about Santa Claus (sleigh, reindeer, fat Santa, the bag of presents down the chimney and put under a tree either cut down and killed early in its tree growing life or else it is fake, and a bunch of presents) , the Easter Bunny (bunnies born from eggs…?), and the Tooth Fairy (your tooth under the pillow for a dime or a dollar), Blind Faith accumulated in childhood with lies brought about by the very people you trust the most…your parents.

    And then when you are old enough to realize that the stories are all lies, and you, respectfully we might add, don’t even come to the conclusion that not only have you been lied to by your trusting parents, but so too you are expected to perpetuate the lies to your younger siblings when they come along; and even pass on the Blind Faith lies toyour own children without even flinching or feeling guilt about honesty…and lying to children…old ruts wear deep…Blind Faith.

    Welcome to Brain Washing 101 and Blind Faith.

    And from there it is easy to mentally Blind Faith believe and assimilate that Jesus died on the cross for your sins that you are committing a few thousands years later, and you are a kid and have not even sinned yet? And after being dead 3 days you are told that Jesus rose from the dead and went up to, that is ascended, into Heaven.

    And since Jesus lived on Earth, which is a planetary sphere, going up means going outward from the surface of the round earth, not “up” and can you tell me in all your Faith which way Heaven is…is it towards the sun…toward another planet, another solar system, another galaxy outside our Milky Way, not the candy bar, or is it rowards the next Universe over.

    With places like other galaxies being light years away could Jesus not arrived yet in Heaven, light years away is a very long way.

    Believing every word of the Bible as the Divine Word is more Blind Faith and serves to set a believer further in the depth of a rut. As in Old Ruts Wear Deep, and deep ruts are hard to get out of.

    After the accumulated experiences of Blind Faith, one is readily mentally accessible to swallow more wild notions like your religion is the right religion because their religion is the wrong religion.

    And more and more Blind Faith with finality..you are right out of high school and you are drafted into the military and told the “communists” are our enemy and they will take over the world if we don’t stop them…which could be said vice-a-versa about Democrats and Republicans…but the communists managed to house, feed, clothe and educate 1 out of 4 people on earth in just China alone after WWII…AND WHO WERE THEN THE ENEMy. but THESE SAME Communists today are now our unfavorite but best trading partner and from whom we buy most things we buy today.

    Many Americans accepted the ruse that communists were bad when they were merely struggling as humans, economically evolving out of starving feudalism into a step up in economy…Communism, the same Communism that holds its own today.

    And by way of Blind Faith we sent our youth to S.E. Asia to kill not only the communist soldiers but also their women and children, not to mention bombing and napalming those 2 million civilians we killed, and that was a brilliant 1/2 a generation of Blind Faith put into the minds of our youth of whom almost 60,000 of them died blindly believing our government leaders who were depending on their still youthful Blind Faith capability.

    Had we of not early on tricked, hoodwinked our children with Santa Claus, etc., would so many have died for nothing on both sides in Vietnam, or msame story of modern enemy? Would those American youthful soldiers have said…” heck no we won’t go?” Hard to tell, there still is the Blind Faith myth of Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.

    When Jesus ascended up into Heaven, there was only 1 way to go and that was up…but that was when the Earth was Flat.

    Here’s the kicker…is there Global Warming?…do we have to believe it is, or isn’t only because we are told so as in belief by Blind Faith. Or can someone explain clearly that fossil fuels, which are gas, oil, coal, etc., that were made from ancient forests that were buried below the surface of the earth and compressed and somehow came out petroleum…oil.

    And when we burn petroleum for planes trains cars trucks ships and heating buildings in winter, or burning petroleum and converting it via generators Into electricity…those fumes from the burned petroleum causes an invisible, well smoggy, shield around parts of the earth and traps in the natural heat of the earth, and the sun’s heat, and as well the petroleum generated heat from burning petroleum via industry and transportation worsens the petroleum air pollution that makes a worse invisible curtain around the earth’s sky and traps the heat and it globally warms our planet and allows the ice caps to melt, causing sea level rise, major storms to blow as heat speeds up the air, and as global warming sets in more and more so, Sir Isaac Newton a great scientist determined that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction…causing these opposite freezing storms we are also experiencing.

    And some who have Blind Faith for their religion for some reason cannot see the science side to Global Warming or are told not to believe whether it be by a minister or a president.

    Scientist even go so far to say that cows who eat grass excrete gasses from their digestion…it is called Methane, and methane gas contributes to the invisible heat shield holding heat on our earth and contributes to global warming. Well guess what, if cows do it, then so do the humans and there are over 7 billion of us passing gas. Yikes…!

    But worse, the same petroleum that poisons our air with air pollution, is also used to make petrochemicals. Petrochemicals are easily converted by chemistry into an enormous amount of things we use everyday from plastic to most all of the medical drugs made today, as well as the aditives in our food, and the farm poisons in our fertilizer, and the pesticides, herbicides, pesticides, as well polyester clothing, and most things that are supposed to smell good, and that is not all. It is sad all these cancer causing chemicals are into an into our food…and now they want to dose our whole bodies with Flouride in our water…?

    But this global warming from petroleum, or fossil fuel, has a twin in that the petroleum made into petrochemicals, are the medicines you take from the pharmacy, and are carcinogenic or cancer causing.

    Modern society is poisoning itself from within and from around us and our planet.

    Another, perhaps better word for Glonal Warming is…dirty, rotten, stinking, filthy, toxic, poison pollution both inside and outside our bodies.

    We are in a Fix, how do we stop this and get it to reverse…?

    Seems like since we are almost all contributing to the problem we all need to contribute to stop contributing to the Cause. Easier said than done.

    What do we do, we all use modern speed transportation…and you can’t turn your back on the petrochemicals..Refuse them, work on your health instead..!

    Mahalo ,

    Charles


  4. rk669 February 6, 2019 6:15 am Reply

    Hell is for Real,Cancel your Reservation Now, John 3:16


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