Science vs. Christianity

You are most comfortable meeting a person at a party from your tribe. The moment you realize they went to flight school, as you did, you share exciting common ground to continue your conversation. You have entered a congenial space of mutual respect. They are like you and you understand each other. 

Tribes are beneficial for survival and psychological health. Because you used significant energy to fit in, it is almost unthinkable that you would leave it. Even worse is the thought that the tribe may banish you. 

Members of Christian and science tribes cling to their respective positions of safety. They have little motivation to migrate. And the more the two are juxtaposed, the more the comrades fight for THEIR people and beliefs. 

Scientists teach that you must measure the natural world in a systematic, self-correcting way. On the other hand, Christians embrace the supernatural realm and advocate for it through emotions and personal narratives. Scientists evangelize young minds in secular schools while Christians enlighten their students with each Sunday’s message. 

Consequently, it's not surprising that there is a conflict between science and Christianity. Like oil and water, they both live in the same bottle, but remain to themselves no matter how much they’re shaken. If the bottle is social, it’s reflected in tribal friction. If it’s individual, it triggers philosophical compartmentalization. 

However, I believe that science and Christianity can mesh with each other. You can apply the precision of measuring, analyzing, and predicting to your faith. And stories can have an effect on the quality of your technology-focussed life. The fusion of the two creates a richer experience. 

So how do the tribes connect? It starts with discarding stereotypes. Christians often see scientists as arrogant, diploma-hanging atheists. They’re the priests of university and secular reductionist thought. For some scientists, that may be true. However, there are many humble, God-loving ones, too. They investigate the world with scopes and instruments, but they also see merit in compassion and other facets of the heart. 

Scientists regard Christians as superstitious, overzealous simpletons. They are people that smile in church, but yell obscenities if another makes a mistake in traffic. And yet, there are many Christians that have deeply thought through their world-view. God, the soul, and nature have for them a continuity that lends itself to a robust, gracious outlook. They trust their car’s engineering as much as God’s providence. 

Communication between the tribes will also help. Although debates that review opposing ideas are healthy, finding common ground is also beneficial. Are there any points of agreement? Yes, many. Tribal members from both sides go to work, care for their families, and help others. They share hundreds of life experiences. The mundane events of their lives are not that different. 

Understand the tribe by getting to know one of its people. Don’t choose the loud, polarizing one, but one that is open to friendship beyond their tribal walls. You might find they are not as baffling as you thought. 

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