The two groups mentioned in the title of this post are indeed on the very opposite ends of world views. But I also believe that they have much more in common than either group would like to imagine. Let’s discuss some of their commonalities.
Both groups are very rigid in their beliefs; some would say closed-minded to any other possibilities.
- The atheist scientist absolutely refuses to accept any notion that there is a god controlling things. They even refuse to accept that there might be some divine origin to how the universe was formed. Any mention of God and they go on the attack.
The puritan Evangelical absolutely refuses to accept any scientific discovery that even remotely contradicts their current view of spiritual matters. They say that things like carbon dating and dinosaurs are either outright false or just God playing tricks on us humans. Any mention of these things and they go on the attack.
Both groups will totally discount any possibility that they may be wrong about anything.
- The atheist scientist believes lock, stock, and barrel in the theory of evolution. To them it is not a theory at all but a well established fact. Although they admit that they haven’t found the so-called missing link, they say that is only because we have not looked hard enough yet. They often say that if they can’t personally observe something then it is not true.
The puritan Evangelical believes lock, stock, and barrel that everything in their version of the bible, is totally 100% true and factual. They will not accept that some of the Bible was probably exaggerated as it was verbally passed down from generation to generation during the many centuries before it was put to paper. They totally discount the possibility that some of it was meant just for the times it was written. They stubbornly stick to the belief that every word of it is meant to apply to all the ages. They say that if it is not in the Bible then it is not true.
Are all scientists in the first group and all Christians in the second? Absolutely not!! As is typical of many things in the world the two groups cited above are at the very edges of their respected populations. Yes, there are even people, including me, who are actually in both broad categories but are not in either of these groups. I spent thirty years in the corporate world immersed in science. I have spent a like period of time immersed in the Christian world. To me the two worlds are not as diametrically opposite as indicated above.
I do believe in carbon dating and dinosaurs. The physical evidence is just too overwhelming to deny that this is indeed information that God has allowed us to gather at this point in human history. I believe that the Bible is doctrinally inerrant but I also believe that much of it is just an historical account of the times and is not meant for the ages. If we take the absolute literal view of the Bible and the absolute truth of the “Theory” of Evolution off the table then I have little trouble reconciling most of scientific fact with biblical text. The two are at least in my mind beautifully intertwined. God gives us science so that we can have an increasing insight into the world he created for us. He gave us much of the Bible, and particularly the words of Jesus, to spiritually guide us through that world. I am not alone in the cross category or in the beliefs that science and theology can co-exist. Francis Collins, who was the leader of the Human Genome Project that decoded DNA, has written a book about this entitled The Language of God. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the topic. While I don’t agree with everything Mr. Collins says the book it does a good job of interweaving science and Christianity into one coherent reality.