Science is definitely an area of our society placed on a pedestal. Why shouldn’t it be, any fields of scientific research has yielded some great discoveries and essential inventions. Without the studies of physics, mathematics, and computer science I could not be communicating with you through the internet right now. However, the term science in the broadest sense is being misused everyday by people who probably have no business using the term.
In the broadest sense, Random House defines science as, “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.” This notion of science is not rejected by anyone, let alone Christians. However, it never fails when a Christian debates an atheist, the atheist will accuse the Christian of rejecting science and the scientific method. This is a ludicrous logical fallacy and an attempt to embarrass the Christian. This petty argument also tries to place the atheist on the scientific pedestal, which sadly to say, I believe many Christians have bought into. This false premise of the atheist defending science has caused many Christian to doubt their belief so much that they end up leaving the faith. I believe this argument keeps a lot Christian out of scientific endeavors, but let’s deconstruct this base accusation and trash it as it should be.
The use of the anti-science accusation is a logical fallacy called a red herring, meaning that when the person does not have anything productive to say, they draw attention away from the argument at hand by bringing in an irrelevant conclusion. Unfortunately, this tactic can be very effective because nobody wants to reject science, right? However, debating an atheist is not the same as debating science. Atheism is defined by Random House as, “the doctrine or belief that there is no God.” This definition is no way similar to the definition of science we saw earlier in the article. This begs the question, how immersed in the sciences is the average atheist anyway?
I believe a lot of Christians have psyched themselves out, through exposure to media and other worldly factors, into believing that every time they debate an atheist, they are debating the equivalent of Richard Dawkins or Stephen Hawking. Well, this is simply not the case. The average debated atheist is basically an undergraduate or high school level educated person who may or may not have studied the sciences. So, really, they know little more, if not less, about the physical realm than the average believer. Also, in terms of Biblical knowledge, do not be fooled by the notion, “I have studied the Bible.” More times than not, an unbeliever who says this has not even cracked open a Bible and can be refuted be asking for chapter and verse.
The preceding realization alone should take the atheist off the academic pedestal for the Christian; however, there is even more to discuss. God, Himself, has a lot to say on the subject of atheism. Psalms 53:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.” That’s pretty harsh and it gets even better. 1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” So the natural man or the unbeliever cannot understand spiritual things because he has no spirit. In turn, what the natural man cannot understand, he labels as foolishness. This goes hand in hand with 1 Corinthians 1:27: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” See, what we believe actually confuses and confounds the unbeliever and they are unable to process it.
Another fallacy I hear Christians say all the time is, “We should read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins to understand the other side.” This goes for any atheistic book or website. Why do we need to understand the other side exactly? As intelligent as someone like Richard Dawkins may sound, there is one issue that he can never move pass. This issue is the question of the existence of God. Answer this question, “When did you become a Christian?” For me, I was saved when I was three years old. I answered a question at three years old that Dawkins or any other atheist cannot hope to move beyond. The age of salvation does not really matter. What matters is that at one point any average Christian answered the question of God’s existence with a resounding, “Yes,” and moved on. So, basically, a Christian who wants to read The God Delusion is actually reading a book totally irrelevant to their current intellectual state and a huge step back in terms of spirituality.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” The “childish things” in this passage is not referring to actual children but Godly knowledge. There comes a point that we, as Christians, through studying of the Word will no longer think like a child in Biblical understanding. However, the atheist who so points out that we reject science is not even a child in the understanding of the Truth.