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Science and Faith in Balance

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But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. (James 3:17)

As a Christian and someone who respects science, reason, and intellect, I affirm that science and faith do not need to be incongruous. In fact, faith without reason creates destruction. Likewise, reason without faith is just as devastating. Just look at the early 20th century for example.

By 1911, Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States. He affirmed as scientific that non-Anglo-Saxons were not as intellectually capable. Eugenics was becoming alarmingly popular. Eugenics rationally affirmed that those with genetic disabilities, or from “weaker races” should be forced from procreation in order to keep stronger human lines from weakening their genetic makeup. In the United States, it was Christian and Jewish scholars and ethicists who argued that all people were made in the image of God and were of value, not because of the strength of their genetic line, but because of their value as a God-created being. Scientific reason without a faith ethic created a destructive force like Eugenics.

On the other side of the coin, faith without scientific reason can be just as dangerous.  Most religions have their radical fringe that focus almost entirely on emotion, without the benefit of scientific reason. This anti-intellectualism can produce the idiocy of trying to believe that Adam and Eve, for example, were in the garden of Eden with dinosaurs. But worse, religious emotionalism can lead to one or another religious group believing that all other people are bound for hell and no longer worthy of acceptance, support, or justice. People outside their religious group are somehow less human or, if bound for hell, then evil. Faith without reason is also destructive.

Today, pray for our world. Pray for the scientific community, and its willingness to appreciate the value of the faith community. Likewise, pray for the faith community, that we can understand the legitimacy of scientific rationale. Faith without reason creates radicalism that leads to destruction. Pray for our world to find the balance in our society and each human heart, for both scientific inquiry and faith to live in balance. Respect for human life can be the start of what can bring science and faith together. Let us work without fear, but with openness and trust.