Discuss science topics such as creation and evolution and how they relate to Christianity.

"Do you believe science or God?"

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  • "Do you believe science or God?"

    When I discuss evolution with some fellow Christians, I often get in response "You either believe in science or God".

    In my experiences serving as youth leader at our church, I can't tell you how many times I've seen middle schoolers, teenagers, and young Christians struggle with this issue. Interestingly, it's almost exclusively the ones from conservative households that have the most problems. They've been raised and taught in a "you have to pick one or the other" environment. And most often they've also been fed creationist talking points like "there are no transitional fossils", "evolution is never observed", "mutations can't add information", and the like, but when they start taking biology courses they quickly find out that those talking points simply aren't true....transitional fossils exist by the thousands, we see populations evolve all the time, mutations adding information is as common as rain, and so on. So now they're faced with a dilemma...a dilemma not of their own making, but one that's been forced on them. Do they accept the reality around them, or do they deny reality and keep their faith? Can't have both!

    I can say with absolute certainty that this contrived dilemma has led a lot of young Christians to walk away from the faith. They figure if everyone is telling them they have to choose between reality and Christianity, then they're going with reality. This demand that Christians deny and reject science is one of the top reasons why young people are leaving Christianity en masse.
    Reason #3 – Churches come across as antagonistic to science.

    One of the reasons young adults feel disconnected from church or from faith is the tension they feel between Christianity and science. The most common of the perceptions in this arena is “Christians are too confident they know all the answers” (35%). Three out of ten young adults with a Christian background feel that “churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in” (29%). Another one-quarter embrace the perception that “Christianity is anti-science” (25%). And nearly the same proportion (23%) said they have “been turned off by the creation-versus-evolution debate.” Furthermore, the research shows that many science-minded young Christians are struggling to find ways of staying faithful to their beliefs and to their professional calling in science-related industries.

    And as other survey data shows, we are losing the youth in astounding, jaw-dropping numbers.

    This is a major problem with the either/or, black/white framework reflected in the title of this post. Another problem is that the history of Christianity is chock full of debates over how to interpret the Genesis creation account. We should all be familiar with St. Augustine writing about this very issue way back in the 4th and 5th century. Origen of Alexandria, clear back in the 2nd century, noted that a literal reading of Genesis' days didn't make sense given that there wasn't a sun or moon during the first three days. And since Genesis is a Jewish book, it's also worth noting that they too have a long history of disagreement on how to read Genesis.

    So I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is....is it worth driving people away from the faith over an issue that's older than Christianity and has never been resolved? I tend to think not.

  • #2
    Originally posted by River Jordan View Post
    In my experiences serving as youth leader at our church, I can't tell you how many times I've seen middle schoolers, teenagers, and young Christians struggle with this issue.
    By my observation children grow up in public school systems where they are educated in secular theory. Unfortunately, their level of education in secular theory has matured, but their Scriptural or Biblical knowledge is still at an elementary level. They maintain biblical knowledge of a 3rd grade Sunday school child and wonder why their arguments fall apart when confronted by opponents.

    Originally posted by River Jordan View Post
    So I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is....is it worth driving people away from the faith over an issue that's older than Christianity and has never been resolved? I tend to think not.
    Right, lots of people likewise abandon the faith when confronted with secular theory. I assume they think if I can't take God for His word or even Jesus's use of Genesis as a historical record then how can I trust it.

    Charles Darwin:

    "I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine." From p87 Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882: with original omissions restored New York, W.W. Norton,1969. Nora Barlowed.
    Martin Luther:

    "When Moses writes that God created Heaven and Earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days, and do not venture to devise any comment according to which six days were one day. But, if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are. "For you are to deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what is written.." "...But since God is speaking it is not fitting for you to want only to turn His Word in the direction you wish to go." Martin Luther, What Martin Luther Says: A Practical Home Anthology for the Active, p. 1523 ( Ref Church, Reformation, Sola Scriptura)
    God bless,
    William
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    • #3
      The scientific community has been overrun with atheist to the point that science is more biased theroy than it is facts. But science has roots in Christianity, micro evolution came from a theolgian. Micro evolution is the only form of evolution that I can see as possible, and it contradicts macro evolution. I'd say the bigger problem is Christians is that were told science contradicts God because some fancy pants atheist professors tell us that theory and assumption are fact yet all it is is a selective study.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by William View Post
        By my observation children grow up in public school systems where they are educated in secular theory. Unfortunately, their level of education in secular theory has matured, but their Scriptural or Biblical knowledge is still at an elementary level. They maintain biblical knowledge of a 3rd grade Sunday school child and wonder why their arguments fall apart when confronted by opponents.
        I certainly agree that in some cases kids aren't getting sufficient Biblical education. But I'll also note that in my experiences it's not a lack of Biblical knowledge that lies at the root of this issue.

        Right, lots of people likewise abandon the faith when confronted with secular theory. I assume they think if I can't take God for His word or even Jesus's use of Genesis as a historical record then how can I trust it.
        While that may be true for some folks, the people I'm talking about are those who have been told that they must pick either science or God.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Innerfire89 View Post
          The scientific community has been overrun with atheist to the point that science is more biased theroy than it is facts.
          I'm curious how you know this to be true. Do you work in the scientific community?

          Micro evolution is the only form of evolution that I can see as possible, and it contradicts macro evolution.
          I don't think I've ever heard anyone say "micro-evolution contradicts macro-evolution". Can you explain how?

          I'd say the bigger problem is Christians is that were told science contradicts God because some fancy pants atheist professors tell us that theory and assumption are fact yet all it is is a selective study.
          Well, in my experiences that isn't the case at all. I've been through a fair bit of science education and I continue to work in the sciences, and I've never once heard any professor or scientist say "science contradicts God" or anything like that. OTOH, I do see prominent young-earth creationist organizations such as Answers in Genesis promote that sort of "you have to choose one or the other" framework quite regularly.

          And IMO that doesn't have to be.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by River Jordan View Post
            I certainly agree that in some cases kids aren't getting sufficient Biblical education. But I'll also note that in my experiences it's not a lack of Biblical knowledge that lies at the root of this issue.


            While that may be true for some folks, the people I'm talking about are those who have been told that they must pick either science or God.
            I haven't an issue with science. I only have an issue with the misuse of science. As Innerfire89 suggested there is a big assumption when it comes to Darwinian or Macro Evolution which we reject. There is no war between science and religion. If anything science is the interpretation of nature as theology is the interpretation of Scripture. Nature and Scripture ought not contradict one another with the exception of the supernatural where science is outside its realm of expertise. However, scientist and their interpretation and theologians and their interpretation may contradict one another. Both are fallible creatures. Though, I think presuppositional apologetics is probably the most crucial study in understanding why people believe what they do. As a Christian River Jordan, I'm sure you're aware of the disposition and nature of the natural man. Romans 1 speaks of creation and how obvious it is that there is a creator. But the natural man buries the truth or suppresses the truth within. Rather, I think that they bury the truth in science. YEC Scientist for example, are looking at the same evidence but have quite a different narration and interpretation when it comes to stick figures (fossils). No matter what, though, Darwinian or Macro Evolution is not observable, repeatable, and testable. Having said that, is it really science?

            God bless,
            William
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            • #7
              Originally posted by William View Post
              I haven't an issue with science. I only have an issue with the misuse of science. As Innerfire89 suggested there is a big assumption when it comes to Darwinian or Macro Evolution which we reject.
              I guess I'm not familiar with what assumption you're referring to.

              There is no war between science and religion. If anything science is the interpretation of nature as theology is the interpretation of Scripture. Nature and Scripture ought not contradict one another with the exception of the supernatural where science is outside its realm of expertise. However, scientist and their interpretation and theologians and their interpretation may contradict one another. Both are fallible creatures. Though, I think presuppositional apologetics is probably the most crucial study in understanding why people believe what they do. As a Christian River Jordan, I'm sure you're aware of the disposition and nature of the natural man. Romans 1 speaks of creation and how obvious it is that it has a creator. But the natural man buries the truth or suppresses the truth within.
              I agree, but this thread really isn't about atheists, "natural man", or anything like that. This is about some Christians telling kids that they must pick between science and God and how that's a factor in the rapid decline of Christianity in young people.

              Creationist for example, are looking at the same evidence but have quite a different narration and interpretation when it comes to stick figures (fossils).
              While that's true, it's not really meaningful. Not all interpretations are equally valid of course, and to tell which is most likely to be accurate we look at which interpretation has generated results. And to be honest, it's not even a contest.....unless I missed something.

              No matter what, though, Darwinian or Macro Evolution is not observable, repeatable, and testable. Having said that, is it really science?
              Sure it is.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by River Jordan View Post
                I guess I'm not familiar with what assumption you're referring to.
                Please name one simple organism that has increased in complexity. We are not talking about micro evolution, but name a simple organism that has evolved into a dog, elephant etc. There is no argument about environmental adaptations or minor variations in micro evolution. The assumption and grand story of how life supposedly evolved by purely natural processes from very simple beginnings to become complex, multicolor plants and animals, and eventually human beings, without God’s participation being needed at any step along the way.

                Regarding fossil records, me personally, all I see from evolution is that species go extinct.

                Originally posted by River Jordan View Post
                Not all interpretations are equally valid of course, and to tell which is most likely to be accurate we look at which interpretation has generated results. And to be honest, it's not even a contest.....unless I missed something.
                The Bible clearly says that God created men and women in His own image. That, too, is a fact. If it were not true, there would be no science, because no theory of evolution can produce results and demonstrate how intelligence came into existence, including the intelligence of misguided people who misuse science to try to explain creation without allowing any role to God.

                Originally posted by River Jordan View Post
                Sure it is.
                At the very least we can say that Darwinian or Macro Evolution do not follow the scientific method.

                Originally posted by River Jordan View Post
                This is about some Christians telling kids that they must pick between science and God and how that's a factor in the rapid decline of Christianity in young people.
                Jesus referred to Genesis as a historical record. Referring to the "First man and woman" Matthew 19:4. He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female". That's a pretty literal interpretation and account of creation. Furthermore, it really doesn't matter what I believe or what you believe as a Christian. What matters is what Jesus Christ believed. Truth comes from an authoritative source. It gets no more authoritative than Jesus Christ. Therefore, if He believed the Genesis account to be literally true that is enough evidence for me and ought to be for our children.

                In the beginning (time) God created (force) the heavens (space) and the earth (matter). Now how can anybody insert millions or billions of years between this verse and the next verse from out of Scripture itself is beyond me. At the very least we can say that an outside influence is shoehorning a theory not from the pages of Scripture. We must reinterpret the Scriptures contrary to how Christ Jesus read them.

                While I realize Evolutionary Theist think they are doing Christians a favor by building bridges, I believe they are quite damaging by compromising not only the authority of Jesus Christ but the foundational books of our faith. And that's my opinion.

                God bless,
                William
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by River Jordan View Post
                  I don't think I've ever heard anyone say "micro-evolution contradicts macro-evolution". Can you explain how?

                  If creatures adapt through natural selection, why would they evolve into something else? A polar bear in a warmer climate wouldn't need to evolve into an iguana if it could give birth to polar bears with shorter fur.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by William View Post
                    Please name one simple organism that has increased in complexity.
                    Well, before we get too far down that road, I have to ask......why? Are you asking me because you're truly interested and if I go through the trouble of looking up and posting an example of an observed increase in complexity, you'll read it? Or are you asking because you're trying to stump me?

                    We are not talking about micro evolution, but name a simple organism that has evolved into a dog, elephant etc.
                    That's not how evolution works.

                    There is no argument about environmental adaptations or minor variations in micro evolution.
                    Great!

                    The assumption and grand story of how life supposedly evolved by purely natural processes from very simple beginnings to become complex, multicolor plants and animals, and eventually human beings, without God’s participation being needed at any step along the way.
                    I've never read any scientific paper or textbook, or heard any lecture or presentation that says anything about God's participation one way or the other. So I'm not sure where you get the idea that that's an assumption in evolutionary biology.

                    Regarding fossil records, me personally, all I see from evolution is that species go extinct.
                    Ok.

                    The Bible clearly says that God created men and women in His own image. That, too, is a fact.
                    Agreed. Personally, I've never thought "in God's image" refers to our physical form, because after all, we don't really have any physical attributes that are unique in the animal kingdom. IMO, it's our soul that God breathed into us that makes us in God's image.

                    If it were not true, there would be no science, because no theory of evolution can produce results and demonstrate how intelligence came into existence, including the intelligence of misguided people who misuse science to try to explain creation without allowing any role to God.
                    Actually, evolutionary theory has produced some very significant and important scientific results.

                    At the very least we can say that Darwinian or Macro Evolution do not follow the scientific method.
                    No, I don't agree with that at all.

                    Jesus referred to Genesis as a historical record. Referring to the "First man and woman" Matthew 19:4. He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female". That's a pretty literal interpretation and account of creation. Furthermore, it really doesn't matter what I believe or what you believe as a Christian. What matters is what Jesus Christ believed. Truth comes from an authoritative source. It gets no more authoritative than Jesus Christ. Therefore, if He believed the Genesis account to be literally true that is enough evidence for me and ought to be for our children.
                    It looks to me like Christ's point was about marriage and divorce rather than about how to read Genesis. After all, if His point was to tell us that we must read Genesis as a complete scientific account of the methods of creation, why didn't He say that?

                    In the beginning (time) God created (force) the heavens (space) and the earth (matter). Now how can anybody insert millions or billions of years between this verse and the next verse from out of Scripture itself is beyond me. At the very least we can say that an outside influence is shoehorning a theory not from the pages of Scripture. We must reinterpret the Scriptures contrary to how Christ Jesus read them.

                    While I realize Evolutionary Theist think they are doing Christians a favor by building bridges, I believe they are quite damaging by compromising not only the authority of Jesus Christ but the foundational books of our faith. And that's my opinion.
                    As I point out in the OP, this has been a debate within Christianity and Judaism for a very long time, with no resolution. So I doubt you and I are going to solve it right here and now.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Innerfire89 View Post
                      If creatures adapt through natural selection, why would they evolve into something else? A polar bear in a warmer climate wouldn't need to evolve into an iguana if it could give birth to polar bears with shorter fur.
                      It looks to me like the problem is that you're carrying around a rather significant misconception of how evolution works. "A polar bear turning into an iguana" isn't anything like what evolution proposes.
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                      • #12
                        If you believe that evolution has be proved scientifically you might find this site interesting: Science Against Evolution Official Home Page
                        Clyde Herrin's Blog
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by theophilus View Post
                          If you believe that evolution has be proved scientifically you might find this site interesting: Science Against Evolution Official Home Page
                          Is there anything at that website you find particularly compelling? And the question of whether "evolution has been proved scientifically" is a rather silly question, since we see populations evolve all the time. It's like wondering whether erosion has been proved scientifically.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by River Jordan View Post
                            we see populations evolve all the time.
                            How do we see populations evolve?
                            Clyde Herrin's Blog
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Originally posted by theophilus View Post
                              How do we see populations evolve?
                              We both exploit the evolutionary process to our own ends (domestication) and fight against it (resistance to antibiotics). As an undergrad I, and everyone else in the class, conducted a fairly simple experiment where we documented populations of E. coli evolving resistance to an antibiotic. Scientists have been studying populations evolving in lab settings for decades (CLICK HERE).

                              Frankly I'm surprised that anyone would dispute that populations evolve. In the Flood thread the OP advocates going from representatives of each "kind" to all the species in existence today in just a few thousand years, which unless I missed something, requires a lot of evolution in a very short amount of time.
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