The Atlanta Journal Constitution (a newspaper that isn‘t going out of business March 21), has a very trenchant piece on science vs. religion online right now. One point in it is that the “culture wars” of the last decade or so have made discussions about religion and science into an either-or proposition. The Pat Robertson’s among us have given a bad name, IMHO, to all believers; creationists who cling to young-earth theories and deny all science don’t help much either.
But, at least among Catholics and the mainline Protestant groups (not to mention Jews and Bahai’i’s), science and religion are not enemies, and belief in God does not preclude love of science and the discoveries of the natural world. Most of us believe, as the Rev. Patricia Templeton wrote in the AJC, that Jesus and “came to take away your sins, not your mind.” (She was quoting from a poster that is one answer to the flippant ‘you’re Christian, ergo you must be an idiot’ comments popular atheists have come to embrace.)
I spend more time nowadays explaining to lapsed believers or nonbelievers that not all Christians think the Grand Canyon was created 4,500 years ago than I do explaining transubstantiation. These discussions are about as draining as the argument I have with literalists who cling to first creation story in Genesis as gospel truth (a bad pun, since Genesis isn’t in one of the four Gospels, but so fun to say!) and ignore the second. (You didn’t know there were two? See the AJC article for a quick explanation.)
But it is better than staying silent in either case: Atheists who think all religious faith is ignorance run amok are no more informed than believers who refuse to accept carbon dating. Both could use a little truth in love.