Friday, November 18, 2005

On Science and Theology

And God stepped out on space,
And he looked around and said:
I'm lonely--
I'll make me a world.

So begins the poem "Creation" by James Weldon Johnson. This poem was Johnson's wonderfully intimate re-telling of biblical story of creation found in the book of Genesis. This past Sunday, the associate minister of another congregation I'm a part of did an interpretive dance to the poem as it was read by the pastor. It was a wonderful telling of how lonely God was and how God solved that by creating...well, creation.

As a Christian, I believe that God created the world. My concern for the environment stems from the fact that I believe this is God's world and all who consider themselves Christians, must take care of the earth. I can't prove that God created the world; since my belief is faith. That doesn't make it any less important-faith, whether it's faith in the Christian God or Allah, or Buddha or Vishnu. Faith isn't something that can be proven, but simply believed. What it doesn't make it is science.

Charles Krauthammer has a dead-on column in today's Washington Post about the latest battle concerning "intelligent design." Proponents of this "theory" conclude that the universe is so complex, that it had to be designed by an intelligent being. Hmmm, what could that being be?

In some way, all Christians believe in Intelligent Design, in that we believe God had a role in creation. But that isn't science, that's theology and the proponents know that. Christians are free to believe that God created the world. We live in a free country that allows us to believe whatever we want. But we don't have the right to force our beliefs on others and it is repulsive to disguise a theological viewpoint as science.

Believing in evolution isn't anti-Christian. It is a well proven theory that shows us how we came to be. However, evolution can't explain the why. That is where religion comes in. I know that humans evolved over time. That's science. Theology tells me we were created in the image of God and that we are loved by this God.

The problem is that those on the religious right who are pushing intelligent design aren't really so interested in the "how." They really aren't interested in science. And that's dangerous. Science can and has helped us combat deadly diseases and find ways for us to stop polluting our planet. Science helped created drugs that help me not succumb so easily to my clincial depression and helped my mother beat breast cancer so far. Science can do good and it is not against God. Simply focusing on the "why" and ignoring science can lead to disasterous results. For example, people who contract HIV/AIDS are viewed as being punished by God instead of seeing this as a result of unprotected sex and pursuing the need for safer methods.

In the end, I think Republicans would be wise to step away from this. Both President Bush and Senator John McCain have said that Intelligent Design should be taught to give kids "both sides." I think this is dangerous. As much as I like McCain, I hope when he runs again in 2008, he drops that promise. ID is fool's gold and in some cases, I think it is poison. It's time for the GOP to be the party of faith and science again. One can be a devout believer and a rigorous scientist. Kudos to Krauthammer for reminding us.


At 6:27 AM, Blogger T.L. Stanley said...

Good post. Science is different than faith. Many of my relatives are atheists and they remind me from time to time how foolish it is to think that God somehow created man. Because, science has proved that man evolved. I fight the battle of ID often.

I am still torn about the idea of ID being taugh in public schools. But, I most certainly want my grandkids to be taught ID. In fact, I will be sending my grandson to a Christian school so he will be taught ID. I don't want my grandson growing up thinking that a teacher or college professor said that ID was fools gold.

What a horrible thought that my grandson would grow up being convinced by his public school teachers and professors that a Godless theory of evolution was the final word on creation. Take care.

At 4:50 AM, Blogger halfback jack said...

After watching C-SPAN last night, I can safely conclude that neither evolution nor ID wanted anything to do with Congress.

At 9:02 AM, Blogger Paul Wartenberg said...

When you've got the Catholic Church, obstensibly a conservatively theological church, saying they don't accept Intelligent Design as a science and that they've got no problem with Darwin, then that ought to tell the ID people that not all Christians are going to be comfortable with them pushing this into our schools.
There's a place for God in our world: it's called church (or temple or synagogue). There's a place for Darwin in our world: it's called the science lab. Clear. Simple. Easy. And that ought to be it.

At 9:04 AM, Blogger Brian said...

I've never seen the contradiction between religion and evolution. If species evolved in a clear, logical fashion, then who's to say it wasn't God that directed this procedure?


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