Sunday, April 23, 2017

Making America Good Again: A Few Thoughts on Earth Day

Faith seeks understanding. I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand.   - St. Anselm of Canterbury

I don't know when or why Earth Day started.  This year there were "Marches for Science" across America.  I checked out the "March for Science" website and it is almost like reading a church's mission statement, except there is no mention of God.  Even the parts about the scientists feeling mistreated by the government could have been written by churches concerned about religious liberty.  It was weird because science as a general rule is held in high-esteem in our national conscience and education system. We like its benefits, especially in medicine and technology.

It is almost like science has taken on a cult-like place in our culture, so why are scientists feeling so abused?  Perhaps its because they are finally getting some public pushback for overstepping their bounds in asking us to take their findings on faith.  A re-evaluation of the rightful place of science and its applications in our society is long overdue.  

As throughout much of history, there continues to be unnecessary tension between science and religion.  A little humility on both sides is very much in order.

The teenage daughter of a friend wants to be a research scientist, perhaps in some area of genetics.  They are both deeply committed Christians, and the daughter is concerned about pursuing a career field where her faith could be a professional liability.

This is part of what I shared with my friend.  While it might seem that finding other scientists who are also Christians will be difficult, it is possible.  They are out there!   Many scientists know that when there appears to be a conflict between scientific findings and faith, both more research and more prayer are in order!  They have the Biblical worldview that recognizes God as the Creator, and that role of science is to help us understand God's creation and apply what we learn to make the world a better place.  When secular scientists remove God from their considerations, they will fail to grasp the full picture of whatever they are studying.  Belief in God helps scientists understand the focus of their inquiries and puts proper ethical boundaries on the uses of their discoveries.

Think about it this way.  God is the perfect Father.  He takes great pleasure when human beings, children of God if you will, figure out how creation works.  Remember the joy you felt when your kid put Legos together into some incredibly creative design.  That's how God feels when we turn trees into houses, cotton into a dress or oil into energy.  Think about the pride you felt when your kid figured out how to multiply.  That's how God feels when we understand the mysteries of physics.

Take this a step further:  you were proud when your child learned to safely light a fire on your first camping trip.  You were crushed when you found out they later used fire to destroy a neighbor's house.  Fire's not bad; it's how we use it.  Science isn't bad; it's how we use it.

Much of what I heard on Earth Day sounded a lot like a pagan religion, elevating "Mother Earth" and science to god-like status.  That is dreadfully, terribly wrong and will only cause the universe and its inhabitants great grief.

Scientists should take great joy in discovering facts about God's creation, all the while being humble enough to accept that they don't know it all and that they won't always get it right. Asking God for guidance isn't a weakness, it's a strength.  God is God, after all, and we are not.

Christians need to eat some humble pie in this area as well. Science isn't the enemy.   Science helps us be good stewards of the universe God has entrusted to us.  Ignoring scientific evidence by saying, "God won't let us destroy the world," or "God will return before this or that happens" is irresponsible.  We need to continue to care for creation until that day happens and not stop a second before. Science plays a vital role in helping us do that.  

On this Sunday after Earth Day, take a moment to thank God for this amazing universe we live in, especially this incredible planet we live on, and ask for His guidance to help us use it wisely and well.

Let's Make America Good Again by putting faith and science in proper perspective.

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