I know that these are not necessarily associated with the 7th Sunday of Easter or Ascension Sunday but reflect some thoughts about some ideas related to the Bible and Christianity. This is part two of a two part piece and deals with the notion of taxes. The first part (“Some Contrarian Christian Ideas On Taxes”) deals with ideas of taxes.
It goes without saying that I am concerned about the status of science in this country today. There are two major issues facing this country (and this planet) right now – climate change and, for lack of a better phrase, evolution/creationism. Both of these topics require a firm grasp on science, call it scientific literacy if you will but it is an understanding of what is taking place. It doesn’t require that one have a degree in one of the sciences but it does require that you be able to think about what is happening and know what questions to ask (case in point, always remember that not all chemicals are toxic).
And the issue comes down to the idea that being a Christian automatically means that one cannot be a scientist or accept scientific views. And there are those who feel that being a scientist automatically excludes one from being a Christian, or any other believer for that matter.
What I fear is happening is that those who would have us believe that the story in Genesis is the truth and the only truth do not want individuals to develop any sort of thinking process, for that might cause those individuals to begin to question the tenets of their faith (and this is not necessarily limited to Christianity in today’s society). But one’s faith cannot grow if there is no opportunity to question it and, personally, I feel that one’s faith can’t be all that strong if you will not allow questions about it.
I wrote “A Dialogue of Science and Faith” (posted on 31 December 2009) because I discovered a post in which the author observed that Isaac Newton accepted the idea of the Great Flood as described in Genesis and that if the greatest scientist who ever lived believed in the flood, then those who believed in evolution and many others were doomed.
The problem with the logical of this was that Isaac Newton was not aware of what Charles Darwin was going to write almost two hundred years later. It is sort of hard to argue for or against any idea if you are not aware of it.
In the process of writing about the beliefs of Isaac Newton (and his writings on religion were far more numerous than his other writings), I discovered something about Robert Boyle and Joseph Priestley and their respective religious backgrounds and beliefs.
I have alluded to these backgrounds and beliefs and how what I have done in the following pieces:
“It’s About Committment” (posted on 14 February 2011)
“A Brief History of Atomic Theory” (posted on 27 April 2011)
“Guided By The Light” (posted on 31 December 2011 for 1 January 2012)
Message presented and posted on 4 May 2012 – “To Offer A New Vision”
Message presented and posted on 1 July 2012 – “To Honor The Future”
“Removing The Veil” (posted on 11 February 2013); this piece also talks about about Francis Collins and some of the difficulties he has had being both a scientist and a Christian.
Message presented and posted on 1 September 2013 – “Guess Who’s Coming To Breakfast?” (in this I thought about who I would have dinner with, in the manner similar to Steve Allen’s “Meeting of the Minds”; my choices for one dinner were Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, and Joseph Priestley)
There was a discussion on the BioLogos web site concerning the life of “Robert Boyle”; in my posted (posted on 11 November 2013) I provided links to the various parts of the discussion.
I have also discovered that this idea is, that there is a fundamental conflict between science and faith is, in terms of church history, a recent idea. The early church (around 300 C. E.) felt that the opening words of Genesis shouldn’t be taken literally and that Genesis was more of a story about us than they were a science lesson. This thought carried through the years but seems to have disappeared in recent times.
I also discovered that it wasn’t necessarily the church that initially opposed the ideas that Galileo presented; rather it was the academic establishment of his time. They were opposed to these new ideas because their reputation, status, and power were built on maintaining the Aristotelian view of an earth-centered universe. The church was brought into the argument because the academic establishment convinced members of the church establishment that the changes proposed by Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo would harm the church and threaten their status, reputation, and power (from “The Changing Of The Seasons”).
Similarly, there are those who oppose religion but too often their responses create a religion called scientism (see “Removing The Veil” for a discussion of this idea and links to other notes on the topic).
I am quietly convinced that we are fast approaching a new “Dark Ages”, brought about through ignorance. We are not willing to seek out information on our own and we are unwilling to push the boundaries of the envelope that surrounds our lives. We seem to say that a split exists between science and faith, when, if we look at it carefully, it comes down to a fight between groups who are not interested in either faith nor science but the maintenance of their own power, both secular and sectarian.
One thing about being a Christian is that I must work to remove injustice and oppression from the world. To teach the inhabitants of this world, to provide the wherewithal that will allow us to go beyond the boundaries of our present life through the use of science and what it provides is, I believe, the fulfillment of that task.