Since the rise of the scientific revolution the relation between the Bible and science has not often been harmonious. Scholars on both sides of the fence have been skeptical of those on the other side. When science seems to contradict religious belief, believers talk about “pseudo-science.” In reply, some scientists claim that faith is the great cop out, an excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. In all due fairness, neither side has always been in the right. This week”s lesson raises the question, is faith a belief in something that flies in the face of evidence, or is it, or should it be, something that is grounded in evidence? If so, how much?
Questions for Discussion:
- On the line below, circle the number that best corresponds to how you were brought up to believe in spiritual things. 1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 The Bible says it, you believe it! It”s ok to ask some questions Spiritual truths, should be carefully examined Religion is foolishness
- On the line below, circle the number that best corresponds to how you were brought up to believe in science.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Science proves there”s no God believe it! Science doesn”t prove or disprove God Science is often irrational and biased Science is the enemy of God
- The famous Italian scientist, Galileo Galilei, once said, “It vexes me when they [the church] would constrain science by the authority of the Scriptures, and yet do no consider themselves bound to answer reason and experiment.” What in your opinion should be the proper relationship between the Bible and science? And on a more personal basis, what impact does science have, if any, on your personal faith?
- The ancient library in Alexandria, Egypt was one of the wonders of the ancient world. As a source of knowledge, wisdom, and learning in the ancient world, it was second to none. In 645 C.E., the Moslem caliph Omar conquered Egypt. When asked what to do about the books in the library, some claim he replied: “If the books agree with the Koran, they are not necessary. If they disagree, they are not desired. Therefore, destroy them.” Is the tension between science and religion beneficial, as uncomfortable as it is at times? Would the world be better off if we applied the principle of Omar”s words to the issue of science and the Bible? Or do we need both?
1 This and the following question are taken from Do Science and the Bible Conflict? Zondervan, 1998.