In my previous post, Will Studying Science Make You an Atheist – Part 1, I referred to studies which showed that, while there is a popular notion that studying science undermines faith in God, data would show that just the opposite is true.
One of the reasons for this is the recognition of the fact that science has its limits.
Mark Clark describes it this way in his book, The Problem of God:
“Science has come to terms with the fact that nothing it deduces about reality can really disprove the existence of God. Why? Science studies the natural, physical world. But the existence of God is what is called a metaphysical question (the word meta is the Greek word meaning “after” or “beyond”). God is a being found beyond the physical world, thus the question of his existence is beyond what physics can evaluate.” (p. 38)
All of us employ faith. The great majority of people assume that when someone dies, they no longer suffer. But what proof do we have of that?
Clark relays a story told by a nurse:
One night the staff was discussing a patient who was on life support. In debating whether to take him off or not, one doctor said to another, “Well, at least we know if we do that he won’t be suffering anymore.” Everyone in the group nodded in agreement. But the nurse wondered to herself, How do you know this? That belief (the idea that the person would not be suffering anymore once he was dead) in and of itself is a metaphysical statement about what the afterlife is like. The group of doctors was speaking out of a faith position for which they had no proof. How did they know that this person wouldn’t be suffering more than he was now? They believed this wholeheartedly, but based on what evidence? It is a faith position. Everyone has one. (p. 31)
There are many things in this life that cannot be measured by the scientific method or tested in a laboratory, such as love or areas which pertain to what we call “providence,” i.e. the intangibles which dramatically affect our lives, but which we have no control over.
My daughter almost died as a baby. She was in a coma and we were given a grave prognosis; she was given little chance of survival, and if she were to survive, we were told she had a 90% chance of having cerebral palsy and lifelong disability. She then went on to have an incredible recovery (I’ve written more about that here: I Believe in Miracles; Here’s Why). The head doctor of the NICU later attended her first birthday party and told us that nothing had caused him to believe in God more than being a doctor, because although he can do things to help a person, there is nothing he can do to actually heal a person. As a doctor, he has realized that there are so many things which are outside of human control, and so many things in the physical world which are too complex and wonderful for one to reasonably believe that they came into existence randomly apart from the active work of an intelligent designer.
Faith, then, is not contrary to reason, and it is more and more recognized that contrary to the popular myth, science often results in building faith, rather than destroying it.
Click here to read Part 3!
12 thoughts on “Will Studying Science Make You an Atheist? – Part 2”
Studying religion is more likely to create an atheist.
Hi, thanks for stopping by and reading! I think that you may be right to some extent, but I would argue that it depends what religion you study, whose “version” of it you get, etc. I, of course, would argue that Christianity is neither religion nor irreligion, but something different and unique in its own right.
When I reaffirmed my faith I wanted to witness to the world. I felt good but the old doubts persisted. I felt like a faker because I had doubts so I studied christianity to answer my questions. Now I;m sure like never before, without a doubt that religion is manufactured.
It really does come down to belief at the end of the day, as I talk about in this post and the one tomorrow. Many others have studied Christianity and come to the exact opposite conclusion, e.g. CS Lewis and Mark Clark who recently released a book I referenced here titled The Problem of God.
Belief is what it comes down to for those who want to affirm what they already believe. Have you ever caught one of those TV programs that chronicle an innocent man convicted and later exonerated through DNA? Often times there was evidence pointing to a different suspect. But, because the investigator believed that his guy did it he couldn’t see the truth, and often they refuse to believe the obvious. If you were born in the middle of a Muslim country to Muslim parents what religion would you be?
I fully agree with your assessment: many people won’t believe something because they are biased in a particular direction, and therefore not open to considering certain facts. This is quite often the case with those who will not consider Christianity because they have already made up their mind. Again, this is what I will discuss tomorrow in the continuation of this post. Furthermore, it is the exact experience of many, such as CS Lewis, Lee Strobel and Mark Clark – to name just a notable few who were committed skeptics or even atheists, but who, upon examination of Christianity found the evidence in favor of it so compelling the they embraced it and abandoned their atheism/agnosticism. As regards Muslims, are you aware that Christianity is the fastest growing faith in the world as far as conversion is concerned? I worked for years amongst Muslim refugees in Hungary (from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia) and saw many convert to Christianity once they were given the opportunity to read the Scriptures and hear the message freely. In many Muslim countries (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc.) the Christian message is forbidden from being shared with Muslims. Why? Because there is a fear that they would leave Islam and convert. Consider the statistics about Muslim refugees coming into Europe now and how many of them are abandoning Islam – many for Christianity. Once they are no longer coerced or intimidated, many abandon it.
Thanks for your response. I read the Bible, made notes and questioned. I read lewis, strobel, karen king, spong, harpur, eisenman, crossan and even Josephus’ works. It has haunted me that I can’t share my discoveries. The Muslims converting, makes sense. Islam is so restrictive I would abandon it, especially if I was female. Good luck and be kind. Be aware that witnessing is insulting to people like me. Usually it is a person who knows less about the Bible than me.
That’s interesting, because I’ve read many of those same books, as well as others, have studied theology at a public university and am now doing my masters in theology – which includes studies of the historicity of the Bible, formation of the canon, and I have come to the opposite conclusions as you have.
As far as people witnessing – wouldn’t you agree that it is intellectually consistent for a person who holds Christian beliefs to engage in evangelism or witnessing? If you believe certain things are true, then it would actually be unkind, unloving and inconsistent to not try to tell the whole world. At the same time, it might be true that some have high levels of zeal without having corresponding levels of knowledge, but again – at least they are being consistent with their beliefs as they grow in knowledge.
Consider this, if I witness my findings I am suggesting you are simply wrong. Christians witnessing claim I am many things including eternally condemned, to be pitied. An example of real world B.S. is when I got a DUI the judge ordered me to treatment. I rejected the higher power aspect and was kicked out of treatment and went to jail.
You do realize that what you are doing is essentially “witnessing” for your opinion, right? So should I be offended by that? If I were, you would quickly accuse me of being “scared.” Again, if Christians believe that apart from Christ people are going to condemned, wouldn’t it be callous of them not to pity such a person? Wouldn’t it be unloving of them not to try to share with them the good news of what Christ has done so they can be saved? They are only being consistent with their beliefs. More suspect should be the person who claims to believe something but acts in a way that is inconsistent with their beliefs. Friend, you came on my page in order to witness for your view and call me wrong. However, we must acknowledge that if Christianity is actually true, then the stakes for “getting it wrong” are quite high.