Are Christianity and Science Incompatible? Abridged

What follows is an abridged version of a much lengthier paper dealing with the relationship between science and Christianity, specifically looking at evolutionism and creationism. For the full version, see here.

May 8, 2015

Introduction

            Have you ever felt like there’s a tension between science and faith in the Christian church? Like the church is “out of step with the scientific world” or that “Christianity is anti-science”?[i] Different people have tried to explain the relationship between science and religion. While some would say science and religion are more or less distinct, others feel they are actually answering the same questions from two different perspectives, and one must be wrong.[ii]

            Which perspective is true? Are religion and science involved in a winner-take-all death match? Or is it possible that science and religion, and Christianity in particular, are compatible ways of looking at the world? This paper will answer this question, first by clarifying what is meant by both “Christianity” and “science”. When definitions are unclear, it is easier to conflict. Second, we will show the integration of Christianity and science by examining the fossil record. Continue reading “Are Christianity and Science Incompatible? Abridged”

Advertisements

Are Christianity and Science Incompatible?

What follows is a lengthy paper addressing the relationship between science and Christianity, specifically focusing on evolution and creationism. For an abridged version, see here.

April 6, 2015

Introduction

            A recent research project revealed that a major reason young people leave the church is the tension between science and faith. According to this report, 29% of 18- to 29-year-olds who currently or formerly attended church believe “churches are out of step with the scientific world we living” and 25% feel that “Christianity is anti-science”.[1] Different people have tried to explain this tension, hoping to either ease or increase it. Stephen Jay Gould coined the term “non-overlapping magesteria” stating that science and religion addressed two completely different spheres: facts and values, respectively.[2] Richard Dawkins pushed back, claiming that the truth is, the magesteria are nearly completely overlapping.[3] That is, there are some things that only one or the other addresses, but essentially, science and religion are answering the same questions from two different perspectives, and one is wrong. Denis Alexander holds a more moderate view dubbed “non-overlapping levels of explanation”, that is, science and religion look at “the same reality from different perspectives”.[4]

            Which perspective is true? Are religion and science involved in a winner-take-all death match? Or is it possible that science and religion, and Christianity in particular, are two compatible ways of looking at the world? This paper seeks to clarify the answer to this question through three main approaches. First, we will clarify what is meant by both “Christianity” and “science”. When definitions are unclear, the lines of conflict are also blurred. Second, we will attempt to engage the evidence regarding the diversity of life by examining the fossil record. Finally, we will engage with a viewpoint called evolutionary creationism, attempting to unveil whether this view is merely a compromise or if it is truly the best way to explain the evidence, and just so happens to unify biblical Christianity and evolution. Continue reading “Are Christianity and Science Incompatible?”

Isaac, Jacob, and Judah: Blessings to Non-Firstborn

March 30, 2015

            Contrary to the common tradition in the Ancient Near East, Abraham’s descendants did not pass on blessings and birthrights to their firstborn sons. Instead, beginning with Abraham, sons born later in the birth order received these blessings. Though this shift away from tradition seems to be the consequence of the actions of man, God seems to affirm this shift by reiterating to both Isaac and Jacob the covenant which he first established with Abraham (Gen 26:1-5; 35:10-12). In the midst of this upset of tradition, there are unique interactions between the different family members which play into the development of each family member as an individual.

            This paper will examine this multigenerational transmission process utilizing Bowen’s family systems theory. Some parts will be quite technical; for example, assigning levels of differentiation to individuals or analyzing various triangles. Other parts will be more loosely observational, such as noting the generational tendency toward deception. Ultimately, I will discuss possible treatment for this family, including spiritual direction options. Continue reading “Isaac, Jacob, and Judah: Blessings to Non-Firstborn”

Engaging with “Culture Making” by Andy Crouch

March 2, 2015

Having grown up in the last couple decades immersed in the Christian world, I have heard a lot of discussion about worldviews. I was taught to be conscientious about how I think about the world and to look for the worldviews that are communicated in the media that I consume. But lately, I had started recognizing that there was something missing. It was good to be aware of how I thought about the world and to expose the subtle messages that are communicated in music or movies, but it didn’t feel like enough. Enter Andy Crouch and Culture Making . If culture is what we make of the world, as he so often asserts, the way for Christians to influence culture is by producing something and thereby influencing culture
through that thing. Crouch’s solution makes sense to me. Where discussing worldviews or critiquing culture seems to fall short by staying almost completely in the realm of talk, Crouch pushes the discussion a step further into proactivity and production. If the Church wants to impact the cultures of the world around it, it must make something of the world. Continue reading “Engaging with “Culture Making” by Andy Crouch”

A Biblical Perspective on Family

February 23, 2015

Biblical Perspective on Family

            The family is one of the most important and fundamental units of existence, particularly in a pluralistic culture such as the one typical of Bible times. Since the Bible represents multiple thousands of years of history, this paper will focus on a broader understanding of family as laid out in Scripture. First, we will start at the beginning of a new family: marriage. We will move into a short discussion on extended family and living arrangements. Third, we will address children. Finally, we will discuss the New Testament concept of the church as family. Continue reading “A Biblical Perspective on Family”