Column: Science and faith can learn from each other
Faith and Science have long been at odds with each other. Why is this? There seem to be two opposing ideas. You are guided by Faith, grounded in an abstract understanding of the powers that be. For Christians, this is founded on the word of God.
Science, however, has its roots in the knowledge that we can physically see, touch, taste, feel, etc. What we call experiential knowledge or “facts” We can prove an answer to our physical world by yielding facts. In the last 150 years, there has been a change from Faith to fact. Science has been the predominant way to look at reality. A profound disconnect exists between Faith and Fact when looking at reality.
Faith is based on a promise made by God to his people that He would be with us and grant us His love by ultimately sending His son to show us how to live in this reality. God would grant us eternal life at the end of our physical life. We must trust this concept in Faith. God knows and understands our human nature. If you read the Bible, you will see human nature and the problems over and over. Human nature goes round and round. Each generation has to find the truth and love for itself.
Science, however, is about progress. Science is constantly building on advancing knowledge. Science has no moral component of its own. Science is the universe’s raw workings based on factual information. Science and Faith have been seen as opposites. However, they are tools for our humanity to live in a reality God blesses. Science enlarges our understanding of the world in which we live.
However, Science has no moral grounds and will do whatever humans want. We are entering an era with AI. Science has created machines that can control humans. Because of this, we must be vigilant and not give control over to devices. We are human beings with all our faults and with all of our potential. Are we aware of the coming of a cyborg culture?
Because of this separate structure of Science and Faith, we have differing concepts of reality and the human person. Human beings have been reduced to the one thing consistent in the psyche: their desires. Currently, Individual choices are more important than community.
To live in society, there must be a balance between the individual and the society in which we live. The human being is complex based on body, mind, and spirit. Faith’s aim in life is to love and help one another. Faith has also taught us responsibility, respect, generosity, and care. We are social beings. We need each other. Science has nothing to offer in this realm. Faith gives us a pathway to happiness and community. Why are these two seen as separate and controlling entities?
Science, in my mind, is the servant of Faith. There is nothing more thrilling than seeing the Earth from space. To realize the many medical cures that have saved thousands. To the multiple inventions that make our lives easier. Science perverted, however, is another matter. Science is dependent on humans for direction. Science enlarges our understanding of the universe and grants new concepts in endless research and study, but it needs a faith-based road map. We are currently on the brink of losing our human world to an automated, machined, and impersonal community.
Prayer and Faith seem so outdated in this world. The abstract values we have developed over centuries are seen as outdated. Our time is used on podcasts, email, and texting, with no room for meditation, prayer, or reflection on who and what we are as human beings. Yet God is always with us. He never demands but allows our free will to make choices. Has our world been so defeated that we will choose to leave God’s protection and grace and select a world that is a reality devoid of compassion, love, and care for others?
Science without a human heart and direction is uncharted territory. Faith and God’s Grace and his glorious creation are they at risk?
Kathleen Carlton Johnson, Ph.D., hospice chaplain, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.