Summary: Final sermon in a five part series that answers hard questions about God, the Bible and faith.
Because we live in a culture that is rapidly becoming more secular, we have often been subjected to a myth that I am going to deal with this morning. That myth has been advocated by those considered to be among the most brilliant minds in the world today. And here is just a sample of some of the things they have said that have contributed to the widespread belief in this myth:
In a 2010 interview with Diane Sawyer, physicist Stephen Hawking, who just died several weeks ago, had this reply to a question about whether it was possible to reconcile religion and science:
There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.
Well known evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins wrote this in the 1976 book, The Selfish Gene:
Faith cannot move mountains (though generations of children are solemnly told the contrary and believe it). But it is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly that faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness
He also said this in a lecture in 1992 in Edinburgh:
Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is the belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.
Neuroscientist, philosopher, and author Sam Harris penned these words in his book, The End of Faith:
We have names for people who have many beliefs for which there is no rational justification. When their beliefs are extremely common we call them “religious”; otherwise, they are likely to be called “mad,” “psychotic,” or “delusional.”
By now, you’ve probably figured out that the myth I’m referring to is summed up by the question that we’ll address this morning in the last of five messages from this series that I’ve titled Hard Questions, Honest Answers:
Doesn’t Science Contradict Faith?
I know that we have a number of scientists and mathematicians, in this room this morning as well as others like me, who really love science and who tend to think very logically and in a linear fashion. And I know that there are others of you here today for which this question is a huge stumbling block for family members and other loved ones that has kept them from putting their faith in Jesus, or even believing that there is a God in some cases.
So I’m pretty sure that all of deal with this question in some way in our lives.
I’m going to take a little different approach to this question this morning. I’m going to take just a few minutes to address a couple fundamental ideas that pertain to this question and then I’m going to play a couple videos that are interspersed with some Scripture passages and let you answer that question for yourself.
So let’s begin with…
3 TRUTHS ABOUT SCIENCE AND FAITH
1. Everyone has faith based presuppositions
The myth that science and faith are incompatible is based in large part on the idea that religion is based on blind belief that isn’t supported by facts and that science is based on facts and evidence. But neither of those assumptions is entirely true.
Everybody’s beliefs are rooted in assumptions about reality that can’t be proven, even through science. The problem is that many of us are blind to those assumptions that guide our thinking and we’re blind to the fact that we are blind.
This week I read a story about a nurse who is a disciple of Jesus who worked at a hospital where the doctors were adamant that the hospital be a completely secular place. There was no room for “faith” to play any role in the care of the patients. One night the staff was discussing a patient who was on life support. In debating whether to take the patient off that life support, one doctor said to the other, “Well at least we know that if we do that, he won’t be suffering any more”. And everyone other than this nurse nodded in agreement.
But the nurse thought to herself, “How do they know that?” In effect the doctors were speaking from a faith position for which they had no scientific proof, but which was based instead on their own presuppositions about life after death.
The fact is that every one of us have beliefs that are filtered through a worldview that has been adopted over time based on a myriad of variables – things like where we were born, our family, our education, and the media. So everyone, even the atheist, lives by faith and makes decisions based on their worldview.
2. Science and the Bible answer different questions: