Sunday, October 28, 2007

The God of Science, Atheism, and Reason

I’ve heard various discussions about science and atheism being “forms of religion” or “another religion” in contrast to the traditional religions of Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, etc. Why? Because both are “faith based.” Science is a belief system where all of reality, past, present, and future, is based on the belief that science and human reason hold all the answers worth knowing. This belief is so strong as to be held in a religious sense, denying any evidence to the contrary. In other words, science and reason become “faith based”. This may sound circular, and perhaps it is. After all, by definition, if one believes in reason, nothing is reasonable outside of it.

Recently, I heard a discussion by a former pastor, now an atheist. He claims atheism is not a form of religion. Atheism is based on pure “reason.” Therefore, he reasons science and reason are beyond a religion – above, superior to, and exclusive from religion. He apparently rejects the concept of “faith” altogether. He will deny he has faith in science or reason. Science and reason just are. They don’t require faith. Faith would pollute, distort, and destroy them both.

Religious people rely a great deal on science and reason as well. In fact, intelligent religious people have learned to integrate science, reason, and their religious faith. I have “reasoned” that people who deny “faith” are narrow, self-deceived, and eliminate a majority of potential answers to the mysteries that permeate human existence and purpose.

Atheists live in a world that only science has revealed. Their world is unstable, unpredictable and incomplete because science, its theories and facts, are unstable, unpredictable and incomplete. Scientific “facts” are constantly changing with each new scientific peer group affirmation. Who were the “scientists” of 2,000 years ago? Astrologists. Predictors. How long has “modern science” been in existence? Depending on who you believe to be the “father of modern science”, Galileo, or Robert Hook, today’s version of science began in the mid-1600’s. Science itself is a form of reason in a state of flux. What might science and reason reveal a thousand years from now? Something very different from what we have now is a certainty. What does that say about the accuracy and reliability of science today? It is less consistent and predictable than most world religions!

It’s amusing to see the atheist deny God, make science and reason their God, and then deny that they make science and reason their God. They deny God. They deny faith. They apparently live only in the present and reconstruct the past and guess the future based on as much faith as the most devout theist. Yet their “scientific methods” have been around for less than 400 years. Sounds like a severe case of Napoleon complex and presumptive superiority to me.

And on the topic of reason, which is the atheist’s number one value (aka “God” if they believed in one.) A reasonable person would have trouble believing reality, past, present, and future, can or should be based only on science, knowing that science is so relatively new, so changeable, and so utterly incomplete. It seems to me, being a reasonable person, that there is much more reality all around us than what science has revealed. Reason goes further. Reason has created religion. Reason has created faith. Reason leads to the belief in a distant past that science will never figure out and in a distant future science refuses to imagine. I’ll go yet further. It is reasonable that there are forces that communicate in subtle ways with humans. We don’t know the exact nature of these forces, they could be genetic, airborne, radio-frequency, or an undiscovered sixth sense. In the meantime, we call the force “spiritual.” We call the messages “revelation.”

The realities of life are tenuous and incomplete with only science as the revelator of all truth. The realities of life are richer, whole and hopeful when completed with faith that only God can create.

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