Summary: Science and faith do not have to be in conflict with each other. When there is conflict, it is either because of bad science or bad religion, or both.
A. How many of you enjoy learning about science? Was science your favorite subject in school?
B. I like the story told about a teacher who was giving her second-grade students a lesson in science.
1. She explained all about magnets and showed how they would pick up nails and other pieces of metal with iron in it.
2. She then asked a question to see if they understood, she asked: “My name begins with the letter 'M' and I pick up things. What am I?”
3. A little boy proudly answered, “You're a mother!”
C. This cute story illustrates that sometimes there are several correct answers to a question.
1. The word magnet begins with “M” and magnets pick up things.
2. But the word mother also begins with “M” and mothers also pick up things.
D. But what about our primary question for today: “Do Science and Faith Conflict?”
1. We could answer that question a number of ways.
2. Do science and faith conflict? Yes they do.
3. Do science and faith conflict? No they don’t.
4. How can both of those answers be correct, since they are opposites?
5. What we will learn today is that science and faith do conflict, but they don’t have to.
E. We are in a sermon series called “Got Questions? Answering Faith’s Great Questions.”
1. So far we have addressed several important questions.
2. We have answered the question, “What does God think about the questions of doubters and skeptics?,” by saying that doubt is a universal experience and that God is okay with us having doubts, asking questions, and looking for good answers.
3. We have answered the question, “Does God Exist?,” by looking at the evidence of moral law, and the clues of the cause, design, and regularity of the universe. All of these point to a God who caused, designed, and sustains the universe and who placed within us a strong sense of right and wrong.
4. We have answered the question, “Is the Bible Truly the Word of God?,” by looking at the internal evidence: the Bible’s claim of divine origin, its’ unity, and its’ fulfilled prophesy, as well as the external evidence: the Bible’s indestructability, its’ reliability its’ accuracy, and its’ dynamic impact. All of this is strong proof of the Bible’s divine origin.
5. If you missed any of these sermons, they are available on CD and online.
F. So let’s turn our attention back to the question for today: “Do Science and Faith Conflict?”
1. The answer that I want us to wrestle with and come to an understanding about is this: “Science and faith do not have to be in conflict with each other. When there is conflict, it is either because of bad science or bad religion, or both.”
2. Let’s begin by realizing that the Christian faith birthed modern science and that almost all of the earliest scientists were Christians.
3. The Christian faith has done much to make scientific investigation possible.
a. Many peoples and cultures, outside the Christian faith, have approached nature in ways that inhibited scientific investigation.
b. Pantheism is the belief that god is not only in everything, everything is god.
1. The Disney movie, Pocahontas, has many pantheistic ideas in it.
2. Pantheism hindered scientific research because it considered the natural world objects to worship rather than objects to study.
c. The ancient Greeks went in the other direction and equated the material world with evil and disorder.
1. They believed it was futile to try to make sense of it, so this stifled scientific research.
4. But then along came Christianity which brought new thoughts into the minds of people.
a. Christians taught that nature is good, but it is not a god – it is God’s creation.
b. Christians taught that nature is not sacred, but it is to be used as a gift from a good and loving God.
c. Christians understood that nature can be studied without fear.
5. As I mentioned earlier, the earliest scientists were people of faith.
a. People like Copernicus, Galileo, Isaac Newton, Kepler and many others were men of deep personal faith and conviction.
6. These men of great faith paved the way for modern scientific thinking.
a. They understood that at the center of the universe was a divine intelligence.
b. They understood that life is not random and chaotic, but is rational and ordered.
c. They understood that the world is not subject to the whims of thousands of gods, but that there is one God who is good and who has built the universe and life with design and purpose.
G. So if early scientists were mostly Christian, why does there seem to be such a conflict between science and religion today?
1. The history of the secularization of American institutions is treated in an important and influential book edited by Christian Smith named The Secular Revolution.