Marolt: Science and religion yielding in the cul-de-sac of truth
I don’t know what the “religious right” believe concerning science. I am not sure I even really know what the “religious right” is. I mean, is a person of any denomination who is a registered Republican part of the religious right? Is there the “religious left”? How about the “religious moderate” or “religious undecided”?
I know our nation’s president doesn’t seem to employ science in a lot of important matters, but I cannot tell whether that’s because he simply embraces agreeing to disagree with scientists or if his ignoring it is purely for political expediency. We cannot set aside the possibility that he is an idiot, either, I suppose. You must admit, there are a lot of idiots who don’t get science or even care about trying it on to see if it fits. At any rate, polls show that, generally, voters who identify with the religious right tend to support President Donald Trump, but does this necessarily mean they don’t support science, too?
I feel like I might have been able to answer some of these questions back when I was a Republican, but that was a very long time ago and I honestly can’t remember what I thought then or if I even did. Now I don’t care because I tend to disagree with Republicans and anti-science types on more things than not.
Be that as it may, I must set aside passivity this week because I read an article on the Apple news feed on my iPhone (I’ll be twixed if I can remember what the source was because all those articles are blurbs and they refresh about every five minutes so that nobody can keep track of them) and the author’s main point seemed to be that religion is a major contributing factor in coronavirus spread because religious people do not consume science in portions equal to the recommend daily allowance in their intellectual diets.
The author threw around the ill-defined term “religious right” like a lawnmower flings rocks in the un-mowed strip between feuding neighbors’ lawns, but actually talked about religion in a broader sense. It seemed all-encompassing, in fact. The evidence of this is that one generally liberal and devout religious person I am trying to get to know better, namely me, was fairly offended by the piece.
Why am I offended? It is because I firmly believe in religion. It is also because I firmly believe in science. I’m not talking about pseudo-science, either. I believe in the hard science that I will never be able to understand.
I don’t know how the popular idea came about that science and religion are mutually exclusive. I mean, what is the goal of science? To discover truth, right? Now tell me, what is the goal of religion? To discover truth, right? I sound like a parrot. The goal of religion and science are the same!
Here’s the way I see it: God created this universe that is so unfathomably vast and yet so predictable according to the laws of physics, reasoning of biology, and theories of mathematics that it is impossible for me to deny his existence as its creator. It doesn’t make sense to me, then, that studying this order, leaning about it, and discovering things through it could lead us away from him. Far from that, it follows that this would lead us toward him. Religion, in a complementary role, teaches me to love and trust him in all things. “All things” includes exponentially more things we don’t understand than things we do understand, which is why science comes in so handy. To embrace it is a yearning to know him. The more we know, the less we are afraid. I don’t think God wants us to be afraid.
Take evolution/creationism for example. God could certainly explain the creation of man in one sentence, but why do we think we could understand it if he did? Like a zillion other things in this universe, the putting together of a human being — mind, body, soul, and a sense of humor — is beyond our comprehension. Why, then, can’t we accept that God inspired a few paragraphs in the Bible that take a few minutes to read so that we can generally get our minds around humankind’s beginning and figure he was probably thinking, “That’s good enough for now”? Even the Bible has two differing accounts of creation, probably just to affirm there is some purposeful ambiguity there.
Coming at it from the other direction we observe the laws of biology, physics, geology, math, etc. and see the animal kingdom accelerating from amoeba to homo sapien in about 5 billion years. Neither of these approaches, by the way, has given us the complete answer. The truth of where we came from lies in the vast forest between where both paths disappear in the weeds on the approach from opposite directions.
That’s what I think. Thinking is not a sin.
Roger Marolt admits he knows virtually nothing about the grand scheme of things. Email at email@example.com.
I watched from that other valley for nearly two decades as the ATW flagged, then was reborn, re-energized, surely for good this time, at last, things looking up. Only to slip and the cycle begin again.