According to Science Buddies, the steps to conducting scientific experiment are as follows:
- Ask a Question
- Do Background Research
- Construct a Hypothesis
- Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
- Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
- Communicate Your Results
It seems to me that Christian thinkers follow much the same method. We ask questions about life and destiny, we do research, we draw some conclusions based on research, test our experience against our conclusions and communicate the results.
Those who argue that faith and science are incompatible would quibble with this. Thanks to The Poached Egg, I ran across the following definition of atheism from the American Atheist:
“Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be. Humankind is on its own.”
The difference between Christian and atheist thinkers lies in what is allowed as evidence. If you are not open to the idea of God, nor are open to any supernatural explanation of the world, then you will not agree that the Christian world view provides an acceptable explanation of what we see.
However, if you are open to God being part of the explanation of what we see then I believe that an open examination of the evidence will bring you to the conclusion that faith is reasonable. You may still choose to disbelieve, but such an openness will allow for faith to be considered a reasonable response to the evidence.
Within the scientific community there are sometimes opposing theories interpreting a given set of data. Science is not monolithic on all topics; there is room for disagreement and interpretation. This indicates to me that there is a gap between what is certain and what is probable in the minds of the scientists.
Why then do those who consider science as antagonistic to faith not allow Christians to have similar gaps? We get criticized for not having sufficient evidence to prove the existence of God beyond doubt. We are not allowed gaps in our knowledge yet science has gaps. In my mind this is a double standard.
As with science, the existence of gaps in our knowledge does not invalidate what we do know to be true. If Jesus was right, we know how things will ultimately be resolved. As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully.” Until then, let’s act upon what we do know, while waiting for the gaps to be resolved.
May that resolution be soon!