I remember the day a coworker accused me of being the oddest christian he’d ever met because I was “constantly thinking”. I accepted the complement as shallow praise. I was considered an odd duck because i suggested that Christians could defend both faith AND science with full conviction.
Apparently this makes me unusual. Rumour has it that Christians are not supposed to take up the cause of these two mortal enemies. I am allowed to defend the faith, give reasons for my belief in Jesus and the God of the Bible OR i am free to speak for science. But not both.
According to the people who claim to make up the rules, you can’t pull on both ends of the rope at the same time. My question is this: who decided that faith and science are tugging in different directions?
Well, okay, evangelicals have done a pretty good job of that. So have the zealots on the naturalist side of the table. Some would suggest I can only speak on behalf of the religious right, because they’re my peeps. Or used to be. Or still might be if it doesn’t go to a vote. And yes, a quick perusal of my job history would show no signs of scientific proficiency. This much is true: if i am the guy speaking on behalf of science then there are bigger problems around here than me. I don’t actually do science. I can only spell paleontologist when i have a running start. I have no idea why Krazy glue stays gloopy in the tube and somehow melds with the DNA in my fingers once it hits oxygen.
But i don’t disbelieve that science works. Knowing that something is true and knowing exactly how it’s true are two different things. I don’t know exactly how a 727 manages to lift off the ground at the end of the runway. Yet my inability to explain the theory of flight hasn’t stopped me from paying my money and strapping myself, my wife and my kids in for a flight now and then. I’m okay with science because i understand it’s place in my world.
However, my confidence in scientific achievement doesn’t preclude me from articulating my belief in a loving God. A God that created a universe where evil must exist in order for love to be possible. A created order where death occurs as part of life and where Jesus, who understood the mystery, said that “unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears fruit.” Yes,he was referring to his own death but he was also giving a refresher course in simple agriculture. Stuff dies and stuff lives. That’s the way the gluten free cookie crumbles in our jar!