Professors explain belief in both Christianity and science
Questions regarding the existence of humanity remain present because no one, scientists and Christians alike, can prove how humanity came into existence, assistant professor Collin Hobbs said.
At the Professing Christ in the Sciences event Sunday, IU science professors, lecturers and leaders in their churches said the perceived conflict between science and Christianity is not present.
“There is no conflict,” said senior lecturer Ben Burlingham from the Department of Chemistry. ”I couldn’t be a scientist if there was.”
Much of the disbelief in Christianity comes from the lack of scientific proof and many Christians support life’s unexplainable phenomena, such as miracles, Burlingham said.
Professor James C. Williams, from the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, said science is a field where they can only study what is repeatable in the world. Because miracles are not events that are repetitive by nature, they can’t be studied.
Burlingham said science and Christianity can only be contradictory if miracles are not possible, but just because they can’t be studied does not mean they are not real.
Williams said there is a hypocrisy in the sciences because the supernatural is also a field that can’t be studied because it is not repetitive in nature, but scientists study it anyway. Many scientists believe in other life forms, such as aliens, without any sound proof, he said.
“Just because we only study what’s natural in the universe,” Williams said. “That doesn’t mean that’s all there is.”
Hobbs, a professor at Huntington University and an IU alumnus, said for most of human history science and Christianity have gone hand in hand. It is only since the Age of Enlightenment that individuals have created the belief that the two are contradictory, he said.
Hobbs said he believes the concept of Christianity and science as two separate entities comes from humans trying to categorize things into different boxes, making them feel as if it is a choice between the spiritual world or the natural world.
“As a human being, I find that to be a dishonest way to live your life because we were made both as spiritual and physical organisms,” he said.
Hobbs said there are different perspectives from which individuals approach scientific topics. Because everyone is inclined to their natural biases, two people could look at the same information and draw different conclusions based on the outcome they want he said.
“Whether you like it or not, we all have agendas and biases,” he said.
In most situations, scientists have made up their minds about the validity of Christianity before they enter their field, which adds to their biases and blocks their ability to understand both perspectives, Williams said.
The three men, who don’t follow the beliefs that are socially pressured upon them from their field of study, said they would rather stand up for their faith then believe in theories that can’t be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Burlingham and Williams said they believe in young earth creationism, meaning they believe the earth is 6,000 to 10,000 years old, although they admit there is proof that suggests the Earth has existed for a longer time.
They said there is a lot that can still be debated about the many scientific theories, but that most scientists believe they can’t be wrong about what they think they know.
Although Williams said he reads Genesis in a literal manner, he could imagine coming before God, only to have him admit it was written poetically.
Although all three men said they admit there is proof to suggest their beliefs are unsound, there is evidence to suggest many theories which contradict Christianity are unsound as well. Hobbs said both scientists and Christians do not know the answers to every question, which is why they must live their lives with humility.
“I definitely would be the first person to say that I do not understand every fact,” Hobbs said. “If you were to bring out every individual fact and say ‘Well, how do you reconcile this fact? How do you reconcile that fact?’ I would not be able to do that.”
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