Does Faith Conflict with Science?
Are faith and science at odds with each other? The way the story is often told, science is empirical, rational, and objective, whereas faith is experiential, subjective, and dogmatic. While it’s certainly true that many of the world’s religions think of faith in this way, the hosts will attempt to show that the Christian view of faith is unique in that it claims to be a reasonable trust that is grounded in objective facts, rather than subjective wishes or experiences. Join us as we continue our series, What is Faith?, on the White Horse Inn.
“This whole idea that there is a conflict between faith and reason is a relatively new phenomenon. This conflict or warfare thesis has only been around for about 150 years back to the rise of science. And even the term ‘science’ is a 19th century term. In the past, people did natural philosophy that was connected to other disciplines like theology. It wasn’t detached, exactly. This detachment goes back to particularly Immanuel Kant, who was a 18th and 19th century German philosopher. What he said was we can only know those things to which we have immediate access, the things that we can learn through the senses. He says we don’t have any sort of physiological, any phenomenological experience of God, so we can’t talk about God because there’s no access. And so, we should abandon that conversation altogether. So what happened was this. Knowledge moved decidedly into the realm of the senses. Scientific knowing, medical knowing became the end all, be all of knowledge. Whereas theology, philosophy, these things dropped off sharply, so much so that there aren’t any natural theologians anymore. Pretty much no one else talking about God being knowable in nature.”– John Bombaro
Term to Learn:
“Science & the Laws of Nature”
Science cannot exist without the assumptions of a stable creation, with meaning, purpose, or the laws of nature to govern it. Without the assumptions brought about by Christianity, modern science would have no footing whatsoever. If nature were inherently self-serving and motivated merely by survival rather than to the giving of life, the stability of natural laws would be unknowable. Nature itself would be a moving deception. We would not have the ability to even perceive such a reality if it existed.
“Science is based on the assumption that the universe is thoroughly rational and logical at all levels,” writes Paul Davies.
“Atheists claim that the laws [of nature] exist reasonlessly and that the universe is ultimately absurd. As a scientist, I find this hard to accept. There must be an unchanging rational ground in which the logical, orderly nature of the universe is rooted” (Russell Stannard, God for the 21st Century [Templeton Foundation Press, 2000], 12).
Many scientists today see this rationality—which many people want to discount as superstition. The evidence points to something of an infinite creator and to a belief in him.
Faith in what must be (i.e., God) for the world to exist as it does is actually rational. Science has not found evidence precluding the belief in God, miracles, or the resurrection of Jesus. Such fields are outside the competency of science and its methodology. Faith is not incompatible with the evidence. Everyone has to believe in a hypothesis concerning where the compelling evidence leads them. Such basic beliefs are the building blocks of understanding the laws of nature. The laws of nature, therefore, pose a problem for both atheists and materialists but not for theists. (Timothy W. Massaro, “5 Reasons Why Science and Faith Are Compatible,” Discover, October 30, 2016)
(This podcast is by White Horse Inn. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)
- White Horse Inn: Addressing Popular Misconceptions of Faith
- I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, part 4 with Frank Turek
- White Horse Inn: Is Faith Opposed to Evidence?
- The Summit Lecture Series: Scientific Naturalism Worldview with JP Moreland, part 1
- White Horse Inn: Christianity & Liberalism