Is there a war between science and religion? If you watch modern media, you might think so! Perhaps the divide isn’t as large as we think…
I again leaned heavily on “Mere Christianity” by CS Lewis for this video, and well as a video by Bishop Robert Barron from Word on Fire titled, “Bishop Barron on Scientism and God’s Existence” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZkHv…
We’ve all heard it, and I’m afraid it just isn’t true. I wouldn’t say it’s a lie, as much as a ploy to sell tv shows and bumper stickers.
There is no war between science and religion. There never has been. There is a war between scientism and fundamentalism, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
Religion birthed science. You see, you have to believe that the world CAN make sense to become scientific at all, and the premise science was built on was this: “Since an intelligent God made the universe, then it must make sense.” Oddly, the ancient atheists main argument was that the universe was too chaotic and random, that the universe made no sense at all, and so there could be no God. Oddly, now they say the universe has so much order, that we don’t need God to explain it. It’s a funny turn of events.
Here’s the thing, religious people think of science almost as the “mind of God”, that is, that when that power outside the universe created it, it did so with purpose, and to study science is to almost study “how God thinks.” Materialists believe that the natural laws and matter itself just exist as they are, and always have.
Notice this point, no matter how well we know this universe, we cannot see outside of it. If we knew every moment of the universe from start to finish, every movement of every molecule, we would still know nothing of what lies outside of it.
Science is one of the single greatest leaps in human history, and the power it has given the human race to control our world for both good and ill is unsurpassed. But it cannot answer one question, no matter how far it’s experiments reach, and that is the first question, “Why is there something instead of nothing?” You see, science exists by looking at the “somethings” of the world, and running experiments on it. It needs to use the senses, sight, touch and sound. It needs math and logic to work. But when asked to work outside the universe with nothing to sense, when asked what comes before math and logic, science is blind. It just can’t answer that first question.
I’m not knocking science, not one bit, but any serious scientist must recognize this. No amount of studying glaciers, or climate, or electricity, or even quantum physics will explain why matter exists at all. All it can do is explain what matter can do since it does, in fact, exist.
Real scientists know this. I’m not saying real scientists are religious, they fall on both sides of the fence like everyone else. To quote one of the Nobel Prize winners in physics from 2017, Kip Thorne, “There are large numbers of my finest colleagues who are quite devout and believe in God […] There is no fundamental incompatibility between science and religion. I happen to not believe in God.”
There is however a real war going on, but it’s not between science and religion. It’s between scientism and fundamentalism. Scientism is the belief that the only kind of knowledge that is valid is scientific knowledge. I have always found this a funny belief, as it is not a very scientific one, but a philosophical one. In other words, can you scientifically prove that science is the only true knowledge? I’d like to see the experiment that proves that.
Fundamentalism is a religious belief that everything written in scripture happened exactly as it is written in scripture, a belief not held by the majority of Christians, and certainly not Catholic Christians. Most Christians believe that not unlike writing today, ancient authors spoke truth with many different literary devices, songs, poetry, prose, histories, and other forms we do not use often today. For example, in one of the psalms it reads, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” A fundamentalist must believe that God is actually a shepherd. Most Christians would think this a metaphor…
So yes, there is a war between scientism and fundamentalism, but that’s nowhere near a majority of scientists or a majority of religious, and it’s certainly not the belief of the majority of either the religious view, or the materialist views on where the universe comes from.
There is one place I see this fake war played out over and over again that I just have to mention, and that is on cable TV. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched a tv show on Bigfoot or on how aliens built the pyramids on channels like the Discovery Channel or the History Channel, and yet they will believe them when they talk about religion. These guys are about entertainment, not about education.