Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Question Is Not "Evolution Or Creation"

Did you ever feel like you have to choose between evolution or creation? Between science or religion? I get the impression that's what the world throws at us. But I never saw it that way.

In my frame of thinking, there never was an opposition between science and religion. That they sometimes may seem to be in conflict is obvious, but this is not, however, such a major problem as most people will have you believe.

If either science or religion does not lead to useful facts - to support in practical living - it must be a waste of time and effort altogether. Let me explain what I mean by this...

As a young boy I recall being surprised when people were of the opinion that science and religion are two different poles. Why is it that anyone would claim we have to choose between science or religion? To me, the two were always one and the same. Science and religion just pose two different ways or methods to approach and uncover truth or fact; "things as they were, things as they are and things as they will be".

Religious Faith and Scientific Evidence
Both religion and science gradually enlighten the mind (just as I suspect God intended this process to be). To the degree that science and religion are not yet in line with each other, there is yet more truth to be found.

When my teacher in school would speak about evolution theory he made the big bang sound like a scientific "event" without a master mind behind it. To me, that makes no sense. Neither does it make sense that an almighty God operates with a magic wand in "Harry Potter style" not knowing himself the forces behind his commands. No, God must be a God of science, knowing and mastering every bit of information and controlling every kind of power available to man in this universe. Whether it be electricity, chemistry or even sheer will power, a supreme being would have an insight into these like no one else. To assume anything less would simply be the result of a fanatic and one-sided religious mind.

Let me provide two quick examples to illustrate.

"Religious" example # 1:
When the bible says the earth was created, the historic meaning and context of the word "create" means to "organize". Religious fanatics may have believed that God somehow made earth out of nothing. Does this make sense? No. Rather, it means that it was organized out of stuff and matter already at His disposal. It's the only logical thinking behind this. 

"Religious" example # 2:
When the bible says the earth was formed in seven days, religious fanatics may have believed that God somehow made the earth in the blink of an eye. Does this make sense? No. Rather, it means that the ecosystem was established during an extended period of time divided into seven parts, none of which must have been equally long in duration.

And so it goes on and on. What used to be perceived as dogmatic beliefs appear to be in obvious harmony with scientific theory. However, the same goes from a scientific point of view. One quick example to illustrate.

"Scientific" example:
When theories imply that all life forms are evolving and adapting - even genetically - to circumstance, scientific fanatics may have reached the conclusion that this happened by chance. Does this make sense? No. Rather, it means that this process, like any other process, can only have evolved with the support of a steady hand. For as the second law of thermodynamics (i.e. entropy) states: "Time creates disorder". Had there not been something that kept all of this in "order", it would have rapidly disintegrated and crumbled into disorder. Take a look at the world around you, even the sky and the universe. Scientific theory only supports the fact that someone (or "something") oversees all this.

A Scientific Miracle
It is my conviction that with the enormous amount of scientific discovery and progress we've witnessed so far, a religious person should only increase in faith because of it. Likewise, any scientific enthusiast should find ample evidence that there indeed must be a master mind behind the awesome ecosystem upon which we live and of which we are an integral part of. Take a minute and just breath, smell, taste, listen - just feel it! Who can deny it's not both a miracle by divine providence as well as a reality of pure (scientific) genius - all in one?

Over time we will learn more about how the world came to be. There's no doubt it. But even that is a type of faith, is it not? Think for a moment; "is there really such a big difference between science and religion after all?" I don't think there is. A smart scientist has faith, just as a devote believer makes use of empiric testing and the faculty of logical thinking.

Life Is Seeing AND Believing
A true believer does not disregard scientific progress. If he or she does, it's the result of a closed and ignorant mind. The same goes for a scientist or a believer in such. If anyone disregards records of incomprehensible historic events without honestly searching both the value of these as well as his or her own heart ends up poor indeed.

What is life? I believe the essence of life is searching, finding and exploring new ideas and theories about existence. I also believe life is more rewarding when we do so through a lenze of faith. Why would anyone claim that scientific methods or religious faith don't go hand in hand? Why would anyone believe that science and religion do not eventually lead to the same insight and understanding? Why would anyone suggest science and religion are mutually exclusive? It is my conviction, and time will tell, we need both.

p.s. Even though the great philosopher Augustin in many ways did err from today's point of view, he may have been one of the early representatives of exactly this main principle: The uniting of science and religion.

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