“On Science, Christianity, and Atheism”
Atheism is in vogue these days, yet I’ve decided to remain Christian. In this post I’d like to explain why I believe in Jesus Christ despite the recent attacks launched by the so-called “new atheists” against the Church.
1) Science and faith are different yet interconnected ways of knowing. They complement each other, but they are not the same. Some atheists posit that science is increasingly explaining things over which faith used to have a monopoly. I disagree. Science is purifying superstition, not encroaching on faith. It does not encroach on faith because it cannot encroach on faith. They are separate affairs to a certain extent. Science describes the mechanism behind a process, but faith describes the meaning of the process. In other words science answers the questions how and what, but faith answers the question why. I, personally, am more interested in the question why, but my personal interest in that question does not mean that I am opposed to the scientific way of thinking. Actually, I encourage science to tackle the questions how and what. Likewise, I encourage theologians and philosophers to tackle the question why. Catholic Answers has a wonderful video that briefly explains this topic: http://www.catholic.com/video/can-science-prove-or-disprove-the-existence-of-god .
2) Miracles do occur. There are a few “impossible” events associated with the life of Jesus. First, he was born of a virgin. Second, he broke the law of the conservation of matter. Third, he rose from the dead. These are improbable activities to say the least, yet the biblical sources claim that they did occur. Furthermore, the four different accounts in the gospels coincide extraordinarily and were written within one or two lifetimes after the death and resurrection of Christ. The question is the following: why were Jesus’ disciples so willing to spread his message and die for him if the gospel stories written about him were false? Very few people choose to willingly die for something that they don’t believe in (a lie). Yet the early Christians did die, and the died for what they believed to be true. I trust their decisions and the traditions that they share with us through the Scriptures and through Church tradition. I’d recommend C.S. Lewis’ Miracles for further information.
3) According to some interpretations of the latest research in physics, the universe has a beginning, which begs the question, “How did something arise from nothing?” This question has become unscientific because “nothing” is non-observable or non-empirical, thus impossible to explain by the tools of scientific inquiry. We need philosophy or theology to answer it. Only an infinite and all-powerful being such as God could give rise to such an event. For a more complete analysis of the issue, I suggest a visit to the following site: http://www.catholic.com/blog/trent-horn/does-physics-disprove-the-first-cause-argument .
These three argumentative sketches are the objective sources of my decision to believe in Christ as he is presented by the Catholic Church. Perhaps in another post I’ll discuss the subjective dimensions of my belief.
For more information on the topic of science, religion, and atheism, check out the following link: http://www.catholic.com/radio/shows/proofs-for-gods-existence-part-i-6821. You can also read the outstanding book Answering the New Atheism by Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker. If you would like the atheist perspective, then check out The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. For a video debate, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeQ6LWyKunY
May God bless you and your family. Let the peace of Jesus into your life today!
Please leave a comment if you have a question or a statement to share.