Oct 18

Christianity vs. Science

I watched a debate between a Christian philosopher and Atheist scientist. Sorry, I don’t remember their names so we’ll call them the Christian speaker and the Atheist speaker. It went for hours and in the end there was no clear winner (there never is). I wished the Christian was an expert scientist too. But I suppose it wouldn’t be fair unless the Atheist was also a theologian. The reality is it is very rare for people to be experts in multiple fields. While it is important for Christians to know a lot about what they believe, they also need to know enough about the world to communicate with it. Christians tend to speak Christianese, using terms and concepts that non-believers don’t understand. What I liked about the Christian speaker was that he knew how to speak logic.

The Christian faith is often dismissed as the illogical hippy and Science takes on the persona of the logical and unchanging man with glasses. If you really think about, how much have scientists changed their beliefs over time? Probably just as much as theology has changed through history. The Bible didn’t really change, the way people lived it out has. A lot of the Atheist speaker’s criticisms against Christianity were the inconsistencies between how Christians live and what they preach. Imagine what the world would be like if every single Christian lived life like Jesus. No nominal Christians, no weekend Christians but every single believer also a follower. What if every church was so involved in the community that the neighbours would miss it if it relocated? Non-believers may still laugh at the concept of salvation but it would be a lot more difficult to deny the power of the gospel in people’s lives.

The Christian speaker brought up the point that faith and science are not mutually exclusive. The Atheist speaker argued the point that science proves that there is no need for God, they didn’t discuss of existence of God. What I understood from that discussion was that science claims reign over explaining how things work and that God shouldn’t be used as a “gap-filler” of knowledge yet to be obtained. The thing is, science could only explain how things exist, it doesn’t explain why. I agree that faith and science are not in conflict with each other, they just discuss different things. Why do humans enjoy creating art and building things? Why do we experience love? Science may discuss how the brain functions when experiencing feelings of love, it still doesn’t explain the purpose.

The final discussion that I took away with me was when an audience member asked what it would take for the Christian speaker to give up his faith and what would it take for the Atheist to start believing. The two answers said a lot about the human nature. The Atheist speaker said that if he witnessed a miraculous event that was clearly undeniable, such as a message from God written in the stars, then he would possibly consider that there is something bigger. The Christian speaker answered the question by saying there was a difference between what would and what should make him denounce his faith. What would make people lose their faith are usually circumstantial or emotional events, such as the tragic death of a loved one or distractions in everyday life. What should make Christians turn from their faith is evidence disproving the gospel, such as the body of Jesus still found in his grave. Science can’t prove nor disprove the Christian faith.

At the end of the day, the debate probably didn’t win anyone over but it was good to hear the preachings of someone other than a Christian. Sometimes we need to hear the criticisms to grow. The debate motivated me to live my life in a way that demonstrates the gospel. It’s not enough to be a nice person, anyone could do that. When you commit to Jesus, it transforms your life. When the Holy Spirit encounters the church, the effects flow out of the church. We should learn both the “how’s” and “why’s” in life. It challenged me to think about my faith and what it’s actually based on. We shouldn’t shy away from the challenges, they’re opportunities.

-Frances Dong