What is faith? I mean outside of the religious context. (You will notice that as I write I will often attempt to avoid the cliche and typical. In doing so, I will tend to avoid “religious” explanations.) Anyway, if you take the academic approach of googling, “Define faith” you end up with this answer “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”. So faith is complete trust. Trust though implies that something could falter. It is acting as you know something to be true but could still be disappointed or be wrong. I trust bridges, but I know they can fail. I trust that running will benefit my health. I trust that my job is secure. That is what makes faith in something other than religion different from faith in religion. Fatih in the context of religion is defined as “strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof” (Googling – is that a real verb yet?). This is different as to believe in something implies to know of something. To know that God is real is to believe that God is real. It is more robust. I believe in gravity. I believe in the power of warm carbs. As we move forward, let’s keep the context of the world’s typical use of the term faith.
Way back in 2009, when the pandemic known as Bieber Fever infected the West and later the world. I made a post on Facebook that would be the point of discussion for multiple youth groups and lunch tables in my town for roughly two-three weeks. Now this is a big deal, for those of you who know my testimony know that I didn’t have many friends or even close friends at that time in my life. So how can a nobody cause such a ruckus in a small town like Macomb Illinois? It’s very simple actually, start a debate. I made a post that went something like this:
It takes the same faith for a Christian to fill the gaps of the creation story as it does a for an atheist or agnostic to address the gaps found in evolution and the big bang theory.
So, little did I know, but trouble was about to ensue. Someone I went to school with, who I will not name proceeded to comment on how much of a fallacy that statement truly is. Now, I was active in my youth group and known as someone who is a “Christian” (Actions aside) and what tumbled forth was dirty and gritty and way above my expertise.
As I look back on the conversation, in was not so much fact(s) based but rather philosophical in nature. Let me be clear. The purpose of this post is not to provide apologetic information on debating scientific theories but rather cause Christians to think critically about our stance on science.
I remember a bit of the conversation, but I remember that as it persevered over the course of the week (Multi-day Facebook battle), people would come up to me and give me support or their ideas/position. People would jump in and defend either myself or the other person (I must say he was a year older than me and incredibly smart and always kind to me, I respect him greatly, and he honestly was a better person to during Jr. High than many of my “Christian” friends). It was a spectacle for all who observed. Three months after in fact, my aunt in Iowa told me over Thanksgiving that I should pursue ministry since I did such a good job defending the Lord. (That is not why I go to Bible College)
I will not claim a winner or a loser #GodAlwaysWins. Nor will I advocate for Christians to ever seek out debates with those who disagree with us on any level. I have seen relationships be far more efficient in changing hearts than fact spewing.
I will never forget a comment he made though and it went something like this – I don’t understand how Christians can pick and choose what they like about or agree with when it comes to science. That is why I respect the Amish so much. If you don’t believe in the big bang you can’t also benefit from technology like a toaster – That is not word-for-word it is a paraphrase of the ending Facebook duel. Do we see the fallacy and the stretch that is made? Do you also see the underlying point? As Christians, we pick and choose what makes us comfortable in both Science and Theology.
This reminded me of a conversation I had with another Small Group leader while I was riding to a Jr. high event known as Believe (Totally Awesome, CIY > Young Life). I need you to know that I was a Junior in High School at this time and I had never heard of the young earth or old earth presentations of the creation narrative. I will push for either in this post. This leader asked me the question, which is biblical? Old Earth or Young Earth? (My Church is very conservative and so is her father whom I have much respect for). I took the stance that neither gets in the way of seeing God as the supreme creator and neither get in the way of salvation. Her rebuttal has bothered me for the last three years, and it went something like this, “The Bible calls for us to have a childlike faith, so I take it as literal.” And in a trite little way she turned around.
I hate that argument.
I really really hate it.
It thnk that argument devalues the great potential that we have as God’s chosen creation. If you have a Racecar, you are not going to keep that baby under 65 mph. You are going to do what it was made to do. Go fast. When you have the mental capacity that you have been gifted with by God, use it. Appreciate it and tend to it like you would any other skill or talent that God has handed you to use for Kingdom work.
When I look at the world around me, I see it as a supplemental resource to what I see in scripture. A form of general revelation. Science is supplemental to our understanding of God and at times His process of creation. From microevolution (not unbiblical as is macro-evolution), archeology, to geology we see a world that desires to be understood just as God wants us to know him.
I am not calling any group out, but we should seriously assess how we as Christians view science. We should encourage those in the faith to be Doctors, Biologists, Chemists, Physicists, Archaeologists, Philosophers, and Historians. We have plenty of people in ministry. Our best and brightest should not be scared away from science but rather take on the challenges, ask the tough questions and be leaders in their fields not ignorant in the corner.
A world created screams of a creator. So why fear science? Fearing science proves we have something to hide. Proves our lack of religious faith and points out the how secular our faith truly can be.
So do you like your bagels toasted? I sure do.