Recently at the University of Minnesota Duluth in a “Stump the Chump” event (I’m the Chump), I got asked a question that seems to come up every time I play the Chump:
What’s the relationship between faith and science?
I said what I always say — that there are three main ways to think of this relationship:
- Faith and science are friends.
- Faith and science are enemies.
- Faith and science exist in different domains and don’t overlap at all.
Many Christians hold to #1. Many atheists hold to #2. A mix of people hold to #3.
#3 is tempting to me because it would relieve the pressure of having to harmonize faith and science.
But I think harmonization is the right way to go, so I choose #1. Faith and science both speak to the same world — the real world. So ultimately they cannot contradict. They ought to be friends.
But, says the atheist, faith is based on subjective feelings, science is based on fact. At best they are in different domains (#3), but most likely they contradict (#2).
After all, the atheist continues, the Bible was written in a pre-scientific era. Its pronouncements about the world — created in six days in the relatively recent past, governed by an invisible God, sprinkled with miracles, endowed with purpose and meaning — are scientifically false.
* * *
How should a Christian respond?
I’ll share my thoughts in my next post.