Rustlings (July 10, 2017)

I have never struggled with the intersection of science and faith. The struggle was always around; it just never had an impact on me. My childhood pastor was not an advocate of scientific method and often berated academic theories that – in his opinion – ran contrary to the Bible. But when he espoused these things, it sounded illogical and hypocritical to me. I had neither the verbiage nor the knowledge to confront his perspective. I just knew it was not consistent with my understanding of life, knowledge and faith.

Today, I’m able to put thoughts into words. I believe the Bible is a sacred witness of how those before us have experienced and understood the power and presence of God. Our whole faith is based on the idea of witness – the sharing of our thoughts and experiences. It was never meant to be a scientific or even historic record of fact. It is a sacred collection of witness. Science, on the other hand, is a proposal of theory based on observation and experimentation in an orderly system. I love them both. I told my fourth grade teacher I was going to be a preacher, and if that didn’t work out, I wanted to be a scientist. They’ve always fit together well for me.

So, when I recently heard a gentleman questioning the faith of “…anyone who doesn’t believe in a literal six day creation…” because that’s what the Bible says, I jumped in the conversation. In fact, he further suggested that all “… scientists are crackpots, and the Bible held all the truth he needed to know.” I had to respond. I asked if he’d ever flown in an airplane, watched television, driven a car, enjoyed air conditioning, or used a computer. His response was in the affirmative. I told him to thank a scientist. When he countered that there were no verses about airplanes or computers in the Bible like the specific texts addressing creation, I had to push further. I asked if he’d ever received medical care. As it turned out, he had undergone heart surgery and was currently being treated for cancer. I told him to read the book of James in the New Testament. It specifically says if you are sick, just pray and rub some oil on it. He should be refusing all medical care from the crackpots.

There seems to be a disdain for science these days among some in ecclesiastical and political power. I still love them both, and to lay either aside seems illogical and hypocritical.

— Jim