Ruth spent part of last evening on Facebook reading a discussion that a number of people were having over whether or not God existed. What amazed us the most was that people who prided themselves in being open minded and progressive in their thinking were the most closed minded about God. Their attacks on God and Christians were filled with venom and true hatred. It was mind-boggling how contradictory their statements were about ethics, morality, faith, Scripture, and God.
One man believed that we should develop a new ethic for a scientific worldview where we allow love to govern and have nothing to do with the hate filled Bible as a directive for ethics and morality. The book of Judges ends with these words, “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes,” Judges 21:25.
As Ruth read me comment after comment I couldn’t help but feel the words of Judges were coming home to roost. Everyone had his or her opinion on how to run the nation and knew what was best for everyone else. They had elevated their opinions, based on their limited understanding of the topics discussed, to that of absolute positivity that they were right and anyone who disagreed with them were idiots.
But, for anyone who had faith in the Scripture and trusted in God’s rule of law, that person was a fool and outdated, unscientific and a throwback to the Stone Age.
What was sad listening to Ruth reading the discussions was how limited these people were in their understanding of the Bible. Many of them may have glanced at it or skimmed through it looking for juicy passages to use against Christians, but not one of them had a familiarity with the essence of the book.
The saddest part of what they had to say was the lack of critical thinking about their source material and absolute enslavement to the idea that science has or can solve every ill in the world. Under science man has progressed beyond anything the Bible envisioned and today, according to one writer, a twelve year old knows more than any writers of Scripture.
Later last night while lying in bed I began to think about this amazing world of ours, and how science has made it a Utopia of success and prosperity. Or has it? Have the advances of science honestly changed our world to such a degree that we no longer need to live under the directives of the Ten Commandments for instance? Have we progressed to the place where we can replace the Bibles directive “not to murder,” with a science based alternative that eradicates man’s greed, hatred, anger and destructiveness?
Many of these writers on the Facebook page believe that Christians hate science and reject everything revolving around the study. But, that is a misconception that comes from a total misunderstanding by critics of the place of faith in our lives regardless if we are a theologian or a scientist. Their arguments run something like this; since we know certain scientific facts about certain things, then everything about science must be right.
This blind obedience to their preconceived ideas keeps them from thinking through on their assumptions. The theory of Science has changed many times as new information floods into the data pool. A good scientist rethinks his position and changes his view of how things develop or change based on the evidence. But, to listen to these people discussing science and religion you would get the impression that nothing changes in science because everything is totally settled and agreed upon by all scientists and that is the end of the discussion.
But a great deal of science is a long way from settled, and much of our understanding of the Bible is still debated and discussed. I think the biggest problem for these critics is that they somehow think of the Bible as a primitive science textbook that has been disproved by modern inventions and understanding. Nowhere in Scripture does it proclaim itself, however, as a science textbook. It is a book of redemption that revolves around the theme that we were dead and in Jesus we have life.
Comparing the Bible to science is comparing apples and oranges because they deal with different issues. I am happy that science has made progress in fighting disease, that doctors are trained and skilled in saving lives through scientific advancements and inventions. I like driving my car, being warm from my furnace, having light from electricity and showering in hot water and I am thankful for the minds that invented these conveniences and the designers and mechanics that make construct them. But, none of these inventions regardless of how useful and beneficial to my life deals with who I am, the afterlife and a hundred other questions that man has pondered since the beginning of time.
We live in a world where one percent of the world population has one half of the world’s wealth. Two Billion people live on a dollar a day. Hundreds of millions of people go to bed hungry every night and thousands of children die each day from simple problems like diarrhea. Nations are racing to make atomic bombs and other nations (North Korea) hold parts of the world hostage with their nuclear arms. Our environment is degrading, our oceans dying, our atmosphere and planet are changing before our very eyes and yet we still praise science as the great force that has altered our lives.
The Bible can be used for good and for bad, and science can be used for good and for bad. As humans in a complex and degraded planet we need to respect and be thankful for the scientific advancements we have, at the same time we need to be thankful for a revealed revelation of God. I know this is the rub for many people. They believe that as soon as you introduce God into any equation you throw out science, but that is not true. The idea that I am a believer doesn’t affect my ability to have surgery conducted on me by a highly trained and skilled doctor.
Science can keep you alive when you should have died in this lifetime. The understanding of God can keep you alive forever when you should be dead. There is a very sad passage in 2 Corinthians that unfortunately applies to some people who refuse to open their minds to more than preconceived ideas, “Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God.” (4:3-4).
We all need to be more tolerant and less dogmatic in a world that is much less than perfect. We need each other and we need ethical guidance and love to go along with inventions and miracle cures.
* Please remember to pray for the Christians that are suffering under persecution for their faith in many countries around the world. Some of their stories can be found at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/