Fact vs. Faith: Part II

Continued from yesterday:

Faith uses the scientific method; first you develop a hypothesis, then you act in faith following what God has commanded to be done (love God and love all people as yourself), and then you measure the results you feel. Here is the big difference, the results happen inside of you, so it can’t be seen and it is difficult to replicate without a willing heart. I recognize this difference, but still refer to the similarities. In either case there is a question followed by and action and then results are summarized and conclusions drawn. And what of witnesses? I have never conducted a laboratory experiment to determine how something in the world works (beyond simple science class labs), but I believe a lot of what has been published in the name of science. Why? I accept the witness that those who have conducted the experiments have given. They testify in their peer-reviewed journals that such and such is the case. Then they encourage others to replicate and find the same results. This is no different than what happens in scripture. Prophets are witnesses for God. They have proven him through empirical experience, and then they wrote of their experiences testifying that God exists and that the other recorded scriptures are true. They also encourage us to read what has been written, ponder it, pray about it, do the things God has commanded, and draw our own conclusions.

I do believe that much of the Bible is literal, but also that much of it has been translated and interpreted and that some information is missing from it as a result. I do not know that the creative periods described in Genesis as days were literal 24 hour days as we now know them. I do not know that the Earth wasn’t created over hundreds of millions of years going through various stages and periods in preparation for higher order plants and living organisms. I think it makes a lot of sense that the way the creation is explained in Genesis would incorporate the history of the planet as described through carbon dating and deciphering the timeline of the earth through mountains and fossils and such. I don’t see these perspectives as opposites. Where I do differ in belief is that I believe that humankind is and always has been unique from every other species. I believe man’s mortal body was created as the vessel to carry the spirit children of God. What evidence do I have? Only the witness of prophets and my own subjective experience of what I believe to be spiritual confirmation.

I don’t know all the answers, and I do not believe Bill Nye knows them all either. I think it closed-minded or arrogant for anyone to think they do. How many hundreds of years ago was the earth flat? How many years has it been since guns were thought of to be magic by certain cultures and societies? Innocence is not the same thing as ignorance. If some of us declare with absolute certainty that one standard of belief is false due to lack of empirical evidence and another is correct then they remove innocence and enter into ignorance. They ignore the possibility that they do not know it all. Faith is fundamental to science and the experimental or scientific method is fundamental to faith. To discount one and blindly follow the other is ignorance.

What do you think? Can religion and science coexist? Where do you stand in relation to Bill Nye’s suggestion of not teaching creationism to children because it slows or halts scientific progress?

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About paulbrodie

I am a writer and a musician. My education is in psychology with emphasis in industrial/organizational psychology. My work experience has been primarily with electronic document management. Academically and intellectually I am interested in criminology and sociology. I am married to my favorite person in the world and we have one daughter.
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