In which science and religion collide…and ruin the party for everyone

Please forgive me if today’s post seems a little foggy brained, I’m pretty stuffed up right now and in a little bit of a mental haze. But I put off writing about this yesterday because I had been in a groove off a different sort with the political stuff.

To begin today, I suggest you read this blog post first, entitled “God Makes 216 Million Americans Scientifically Illiterate.” What I want to say isn’t necessarily about this blog (I’m ignoring the connection between the title, which accuses God himself of making people ignorant, and the polarization discussion I’ve been having in my posts the last couple of days), but is more my response to this issue of “religious” people and their scientific literacy in general.

I honestly don’t want to flog the issue any more (read some of the responses to the article above), but feel it only fair to weigh in on the subject seeing as how I am a science teacher who is also of the Christian faith. Having a religious faith doesn’t preclude a person also accepting science as fact. We do not, “have mental deficiency,” as responder Anthony W. Allsop suggests. We are people of a faith…we believe in something. Unfortunately there are times that this faith clashes with accepted science of the day. But it does so in FAR fewer instances that I think the average non-Christian (or even non-person of faith) believes it does. The failure here isn’t just in the failure of the Christian to “believe fairy tales and myth over proven facts.” (again, thank you Mr. Allsop) The failure comes from both sides and their petulant reluctance to try to bridge the gap between. Christians need to realize that science isn’t out to get them and disprove our beloved faith…it’s out to report the facts and discover truths. Science needs to stop believing Religion to be the bogey man (or maybe they think we’re chasing the bogey man) and admit that there’s more to faith than just blindly assigning Olympic gods to questions we can’t answer. As a science teacher I believe there are some things that clash with accepted faith doctrines…even my own…and this doesn’t mean that I cry out for it to be silenced and to have it’s discoverers forced to drink hemlock juice. At the same time, as a person of faith, I believe that something like whether the Earth is older than 6,000 years or not is NOT a major tenant of my beliefs…I believe the Bible to be divinely inspired…but it has been in the hands of men since it’s inception…even the books included or excluded were chosen by men. There have been issues added and subtracted from the details over the years based on what the rulers of the day thought. It has been translated and re-translated over and over. The main thing to remember is that Christianity especially (and I won’t speak to other faiths here because I don’t know enough to speak for them, but I would love to hear from someone who could) is not in the details of which sin I’ve committed today or yesterday. That is between me and my creator and is my own struggle to answer for. Christianity is in the individual relationship forged between a person and God. Science is the same relationship…but between man and his world. Humanity is inherently curious and desires to know about his surroundings. That’s Science. Humanity also desires to know about itself on a spiritual level. That’s Religion. They’re the same search…Man’s attempt to understand. Science is not the dark to Religion’s light…it’s the chocolate to Religion’s vanilla…they appear opposite until you actually try them together. Then you realize that, although different, they can compliment each other and be greater working together than apart.