Browsing Tag: religion


    A Healthy Attitude Toward Science and Faith

    January 31, 2021

    Over the past 9-10 months, it’s been both sad and frustrating to see so many people trashing and mocking the scientific community.

    I see and hear it almost every day from people I respect. They mock science, scientists, doctors, and anyone who supports/believes what scientific and medical experts say.

    This seems to be borne of the fact that medical advice related to the pandemic has changed over time. I get it; that’s been frustrating for all of us to some degree.

    But that’s life. That’s how life works. That’s how science works.

    What it’s really borne of, in my opinion, is a misunderstanding of what science is and what it isn’t.

    What Science Is & Isn’t

    Science is NOT a fixed set of practices. It’s not an unchanging list of facts. It’s not a group of techniques that are written in stone. It’s not a collection of permanent processes. Science isn’t over.

    Science is research. Research implies learning new truths and new ways of doing things. Science implies change. The more we learn about this amazing universe that God gave us, the more we adapt to what we know; the more we change our beliefs and behavior. We used to think it was fine to smoke all the cigarettes we wanted. Then science came along and showed us that smoking kills us, so the medical advice around smoking changed and our collective behavior (for the most part) changed, too.

    I hate it when speakers do the “let’s see what the dictionary/Wikipedia says” schtick, but I’m gonna do it here anyway. A few definitions of science from people who know more about science than me:

    NASA (on a page written for youth): “Science is not just a tidy package of knowledge.”

    Australian Academy of Science: “Science can be thought of as both a body of knowledge (the things we have already discovered), and the process of acquiring new knowledge (through observation and experimentation—testing and hypothesising).”

    UC Berkeley (on a page for students/youth): “Science is a body of knowledge that one can learn about in textbooks, but it is also a process…. Science is an ongoing process, and there is much more yet to learn about the world.”

    That Berkeley page also says these are two common misconceptions about science:

    • Science is a collection of facts.
    • Science is complete.

    Science, like life, is about constant observation, discovery, re-evaluation, and change. So when scientists are dealing with a virus that didn’t exist 16 months ago, it only makes sense that this ongoing process of discovery and re-evaluation will lead to changes in how we should behave.

    When we had our second child, Cari and I already had a really good understanding of how to deal with newborns — because our first child was four years old. We had this “baby stuff” all figured out! Oh, but we didn’t. Because child #2 was very different from child #1 and we had to re-discover and adjust how we parented.

    Science is like that, too. It’s the “process of acquiring new knowledge.” And the more we learn, the more we adapt. It’s “not just a tidy package of knowledge.”

    Science is Not Infallible

    Some of the anti-science sentiment I see also seems to be a reaction to the fact that some pro-science people think science is infallible — it’s always right, always pure. That’s not the case, of course.

    Science is not always correct. Hundreds of years ago, “science” thought our sun was the center of the universe. But as our tools for observing the universe improved, we came to learn that the sun is only the center of our galaxy, and our galaxy is just a small part of God’s universe.

    Science is also not always perfect. Because the field of science is made up of humans, and humans are imperfect, there’s fraud and corruption in science just as there is in any industry where humans are involved. That link lists numerous scandals ranging from plagiarism to manipulating results and fabricating data.

    But to dismiss “science” and scientific knowledge because of the failures of a small fraction of those who practice it would be like dismissing Christianity and Jesus’ teachings because of the failures of people like Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and the countless other Christian scandals, or the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.

    Science and scientists aren’t perfect; that’s not reason to ignore facts. Christianity and Christians aren’t perfect; that’s not reason to ignore Jesus.

    Conflict? What Conflict?

    I do worry about those who seem to put all hope and faith in science. To them, I would say that miracles happen every day. There are countless people who were told they had an incurable disease and faced certain death, but are alive today with no explanation that science/medicine can provide.

    Likewise, I worry about those who seem to put no hope and faith in science, especially Christians. I would remind them that the scientists they dismiss, distrust — or even worse, mock — are all created in God’s likeness. God loves each one of them. God gave them their skills and talents. Mocking them and their work is mocking God’s creation.

    Are science and religion in conflict with one another? Turns out that most physicists and biologists don’t think so.

    Maybe that’s a healthy attitude we can all try to adopt?

    (photo by Tony Sebastian on Unsplash)


    My Church Knows Me Well

    September 3, 2015

    This is a brochure that my church put together to advertise the new Sunday afternoon service that’s beginning soon.

    My answers: Yes. Yes. And yes.



    Nobody Has a Monopoly on What’s Good/Right

    March 24, 2013

    good-idea-lightbulbMy son recently listened to a speaker at his high school who was there to talk to the whole school about boys, girls, love, sex and relationships … and what all of those things mean to teenagers. His message, which Cari and I learned about by attending a two-hour+ parent session the night before, is essentially to encourage kids to choose abstinence.

    An acquaintance of mine tweeted his opposition to the presentation on the grounds that a “faith-based organization” shouldn’t be presenting to kids in a public school.

    Nevermind that the speaker was brought in by the student body association, not by school officials.

    Nevermind that the same speaker has also spoken at every other high school in the area, except for one that only opened four years ago.

    And nevermind that the speaker doesn’t appear to represent a “faith-based organization.” There’s no mention on the speaker’s website about God, faith, spirituality, religion, Jesus, or anything related to any kind of “Christian agenda.” There was also no mention of any of those topics in the two-hour+ presentation that I heard.

    My acquaintance didn’t really have a clue about the content of the presentation, aside from what the local newspaper wrote about in an article that mentioned how some students didn’t want to attend because the ideas seemed “outdated” and didn’t take LGBT students’ needs into account.

    Despite his ignorance about what was actually being shared with students, my acquaintance said it was a “slippery slope” for this kind of material to be presented to public school kids because it reflects “non-secular” thinking.


    We shouldn’t talk to kids about the ramifications of their sexual choices, and encourage them to make smarter choices, because it sounds Christian?

    Should we just accept that today’s teens are gonna screw around willy-nilly before they’re emotionally ready, and not talk to them about the life-changing ramifications of that? Is that a Good Thing?

    Is it good that kids are taking nude photos of themselves and texting them to their boyfriend/girlfriend, then getting tossed in jail and labeled as sex offenders because they’re participating in child pornography?

    And that they’re taking these nude photos and posting them online for the whole world to see as revenge after the boy/girlfriend breaks up with the other?

    Are these Good Things?

    Is it good that teenage girls are getting pregnant and either having abortions or giving birth to babies while they’re still children themselves?

    Families are getting destroyed by this. Kids are killing each other and/or committing suicide over the bullying, threats and revenge that often accompany teenage sexual activity.

    And we shouldn’t have a speaker in a public school to talk about an alternative lifestyle — i.e., abstinence — because he and/or his message sounds Christian?

    I’m sorry, but shame on anyone that thinks we should keep an important message from our kids for a myopic reason like that. And I’m not writing this to call out my acquaintance; we already ironed things out. It’s all good. I’m writing this because there are way too many people that believe the same thing.

    As a Christian, I’m sick of being told that my beliefs don’t have a place in the public discussion, in public schools, in general conversation.

    If we’re going to keep Christian-sounding messages and lessons out of public schools, then

    • we can’t teach our kids to respect their parents, because that’s one of the Ten Commandments
    • we have to teach them the value of violence, revenge and how to use guns, because “turn the other cheek” is a New Testament thing
    • we can’t teach them to take care of the poor and care for the less fortunate, because those are key themes of Christian life

    Is that really how we want to educate our kids? Avoid any message that might sound Christian or like it’s tied to a faith-based organization?

    Today’s teenagers are dealing with stuff that no one in my generation could’ve imagined. They need more information, not less, and if the information can help or save even one kid, it’s a Good Thing … and it doesn’t matter who the information comes from.

    This is the problem with our society today. Too many people think that they have a monopoly on what’s Good/Right.

    They don’t.

    This is why I hate the two-party political system and what it’s done to our national discourse. Republicans think any idea from a Democrat is bad, and Democrats think any Republican idea is bad.

    We need more Good Things and Good Ideas in this world and it shouldn’t matter where they come from — Republicans, Democrats, Christians, atheists, people of any color or sexual orientation … you name it.

    Your tribe doesn’t have a monopoly on what’s good or right.

    (Stock image via Used under license.)