Pop Culture's Misunderstanding of God vs Science

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A comedian is riffing on the radio. He's had the crowd laughing and now says:

I'm not against religion. Believe what you want to believe. But I always side with science because religion constantly changes over time. Scientists don't suddenly say, "Turns out the moon is made of cheese."

This was yet another example of how humor turns off people's minds. And I don't like it. Let's unpack this a bit, shall we?

The Divine or the Developed?

First, science constantly changes. In fact, this is one of the top arguments for science: It is self-correcting. Religious thought can -- and does -- get stuck on itself. Humans can make mistakes. Science has a built-in feature that allows it to change as new discoveries are made. So if you side with science because what it tells us remains constant, I don't think you understand science at all. Just one minor example: When I was a kid, Pluto was a planet.

Second, while some cults pride themselves on modern revelations and "better" translations, religion doesn't change much. I was in India a while back, and Hinduism is alive and well. And Christianity has not shifted it's core values near as I can tell. So if you don't like religion because it changes to accommodate the times, I don't know what religion you're talking about.

Third, we need to be quick to admit when we've been wrong. Truth does not change, but our understanding develops. Where we have misinterpreted the Bible and misapplied Christ's teachings, we should be the first to declare our mistake and decry our failure. Just as the reality behind science does not change, we must joyfully embrace a better understanding of God and His will.

Fourth, if I understand creation properly, there is no need to side with either God or science. This is a false dichotomy. But if we're forced to choose between man's interpretation versus God's revelation, it may be better to side with science.

[See what I did there? No? Let's chat in the comments!]

Common misunderstandings are popular. But we, as life-long learners, have the opportunity to seek to better understand both God and science.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Guardian

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  1. Pingback: Chariklo and Why Life-Long Learning Matters | Sonlight Blog