Can’t we all just get along?
So, of course, my first attempt at a weekly blog post would be to tackle a highly sensitive topic: Science versus Faith.
This topic is one so passionately discussed, it has divided and united colleagues, friends and even family. It has been the tiniest kindle to spark a conversation, all the way to being the vessel that spawned wars amongst great nations.
The Crusades, anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
One of my all time favorite shows, which is of course the entire world’s favorite: J. J. Abram’s, LOST. Heck, an entire episode was dedicated to this debate.
Are you beginning to grasp that I’m a huge J. J. Abram’s fan, yet?
Though several critics believe the titular battle was between characters Jack and Locke, the producers insist it was actually an internal struggle of the character, Dr. Jack Shepard, a gifted spinal surgeon or “man of science” who must confront several spiritual questions by The Island, such as the concept of free will, fate and destiny. Several plot devices are the direct consequence of a “leap of faith” choice each character makes.
Now, from previous posts I’ve made, it is clear that I am a woman of faith. But I promise, Precious Readers, I’m not going to use this blog to get preachy. This is an important topic for any writer to explore, and this post is just to open the door for some friendly debate.
Keyword: FRIENDLY. Let’s keep it nice here.
Now keep in mind: religion is the “showboat” of faith, it’s the sexy representation of “faith.” But remember, “faith” is a concept. Not a religion itself. Many people forget this, but it’s true. In fact, organized religion isn’t even the top definition:
Dictionary.com defines faith as:
1. Confidence or trust in a person or thing
2. Belief that is not based on proof
3. Belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion
4. Belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.
5. A system of religious belief
Now bear with me, sciency-based peoples, you’ll have a turn too.
It’s important to note that faith was first described as “confidence or trust in a person or thing” and that “belief that is not based on proof” was definition #2, NOT #1. Having faith is not directly tied to a religion. It is the idea of believing in something. It can be yourself, in others, in another concept such as “love” or “destiny.”
And what about science? Is science strictly all numbers, equations, and hard fact? Read this next description and you tell me:
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines science as:
1. The state of knowing: knowledge as distinguised from ignorance or misunderstanding
2. A department of systemized knowledge as an object of study
3. Knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method
4. Such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena: natural science
5. A system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws
The way I’m interpreting this, is that humanity has driven a hard line between science: a concept of discovery or search for understanding, and faith: believing in something without understanding. But are these areas so clearly separated? Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. I think these two concepts are more intertwined than we care to admit.
Discovery is the journey of finding something we haven’t seen or understood. Science is the process of making a discovery. But, wait a second. Isn’t believing that “the truth is out there” its own version of faith? Wouldn’t a scientist have to believe that there is more knowledge “out there” to pursue discovering it? Research is just a method to prove their belief, whether that proof is right or wrong. A researcher must have faith that the proof is “out there.”
Now, you may be wondering, what’s my theory? It’ll probably be just another “Bible thumper” answer and that Christianity is the end all/be all. That believe in Jesus Christ is all that matters, and that’s it.
Well, you’d be wrong.
It is human nature to want to understand our surroundings. “Science,” the need for discovery and understanding of our world is a necessary thing. Nature, humanity, love, connection – these are all mysteries that should never go unsolved. Sure my foundation of how this world was created may be different than yours, but maybe you and I aren’t that different after all.
Some find it surprising, but I’m a Christian and I have a love of science fiction. I’m a semi-Trekker and paranormal enthusiast. But even Star Trek was “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Isn’t that having faith that there is more to understand, even though we don’t have proof that it’s out there?
I know. Long-ass way of getting here, but this is a lengthy topic. But…
Riddle me this:
What is the absolute question that everyone asks themselves at least once? Of course, the answer is: Why are we here? The core of any human is the pursuit of finding a greater understanding of who we are and our purpose.
But wait, a second… Didn’t we just decide that was also the entire purpose of science, too? The pursuit of understanding?
I am a Christian, but I also believe God gave me a brain. I enjoy using it. Although there are some individuals I swear have theirs shoved up their a- Oh, never mind. Back to the topic at hand!
I believe there is a place for science and faith in this world, and discovering the unknown is the the ultimate pursuit, whether it’s science-driven or faith-driven. Instead of thinking of them as enemies, think of them more as concepts that need each other. They’re not at war with each other. They’re at perfect balance and will help us to understand more than we ever dreamed of.
What do you think? Does faith have a home in science and vice versa? Or are they really two different animals?
And… Ok, I can’t help myself. Maybe ONE Thor reference. Enjoy.