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Can You Believe in Science and Religion?

News 2011/08/17 11:00:00
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Can you be a religion professor at a Christian school and still believe in science? Apparently not.

Which might explain why after 25 years at Michigan's Calvin College, religion professor John Schneider decided to step down after causing a furor over his scholarly paper that raised questions about the traditional, literal interpretation of the creation story in Genesis, the story of Adam and Eve and the fall of humanity out of Eden.

According to Inside Higher Ed, the trouble began in January when Schneider and another Calvin professor wrote papers suggesting that "evidence of genetics and evolution raised questions" about the Genesis story.

Though evolutionary theory is no spring chicken, Schneider claimed in his report that recent breakthroughs in genetic research have strengthened the evidence for evolution and raised specific questions about Genesis. What many people commented on was Schneider's doubt that there were just two original humans, but instead a much larger group of early Adams and Eves.

Keep in mind, neither professor was disavowing the role of God or the church, but readers of the Christian Reformed Church of North America's publication, "The Banner," were clear in their reaction to the paper: no thanks.

"To protect the church and college from false teachers and contrary orthodox beliefs it would be right to let these guys go," read one comment. "Clearly, professors who deny the scriptures as interpreted by our creeds and who have broken the promise they made when they signed the Form of Subscription should be fired," another reader claimed.

Those kind of comments were also sent to college officials, who investigated the two professors. Tenured Prof. Schneider stepped down, while the other instructor, Daniel Harlow, refuses to back down from his views. Orthodox Christian Schneider said the decision to leave after a quarter century was mutual because he didn't want the tensions caused by his writings to be a "harm and distraction" to the university.

Calvin's mission statement makes clear its expectations of faculty member, requiring that they affirm that "the Bible is the authoritative, Spirit-breathed Word of God, fully reliable," and that "God, the almighty creator of a good world, is sovereign over all of creation, granting to human beings, made in his image, the responsibility of caring for this world."
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  • Bastion 2011/08/17 13:30:35
    No
    Bastion
    +39
    There is no "belief" in science. There are facts, hypothesis, theories and experiments.

    If you think science involves belief, then you don't understand it. Just like religion and "facts" - no connection.

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  • Hanniba... Old Sol... 2011/08/18 23:35:51
    HannibaltheCannibal
    +1
    I would be delighted! :D
  • Old Sol... Hanniba... 2011/08/19 00:21:46 (edited)
    Old Soldier
    Oh, boy, it is a very long read, maybe I can get in a couple of post through the mail portal. Ready for a read?
  • Hanniba... Old Sol... 2011/08/19 00:28:03
    HannibaltheCannibal
    +1
    Hahaha, well it is summer...I'll take a rain check on that. XD But someday, I will read it!
  • Old Sol... Hanniba... 2011/08/19 00:34:43
    Old Soldier
    I don't ask for e-mail addresses except when it is offered. I meant the mail portal of SodaHead.
  • Hanniba... Old Sol... 2011/08/19 00:35:34
    HannibaltheCannibal
    +1
    Nahhhhhhh. But if I ever am up for a read, I'll make sure you're the first one I come to. XD
  • Old Sol... Hanniba... 2011/08/19 02:28:09 (edited)
    Old Soldier
    All right, however, I post parts of it on other questions from time to time depending on the question. The study covers astrology, Contintental science, and heathen worship.
  • Kyra 2011/08/17 17:44:58
    Yes
    Kyra
    +5
    If my religion is correct it cannot conflict with science. Any religious person that rejects the laws of GOD's universe such as thermodynamics or the laws of motion, rejects GODs creation for exactly what it is. 9/11 a perfect example, the bible tells me how to locate the people that did it with moral and spiritual tests, science tells me that WTC 7 falling 570 feet into itself in 6.5 seconds defys the laws of GODs universe, unless there were explosives used. The root of all evil is the love of money, Satan is the father of ALL lies, especially lies that lead to a million dead humans for "good and security", Satan literally is death, anybody that supports the slaying of another man, has fallen to Satan and let themselves become a sociopathic serial killer inside, using the troops by proxy to do your lust killing. Religious persecution is also Satanic. War is Satans greatest tool, it brings only blood sacrifice, murder, pain, suffering, misery, and spiritual condemnation to the victor. My dad wakes up crying about Vietnam still. How do you know whos real? By their fruits you shall know them ......
  • sbtbill 2011/08/17 17:42:40
    Yes
    sbtbill
    +1
    Religion should be validated by science.
  • VenomHalos 2011/08/17 17:39:12
    Yes
    VenomHalos
    +1
    "Can you be a religion professor at a Christian school and still believe in science? Apparently not."
    Okay, that kind of pisses me off. I've gone to Catholic schools my entire life, and religion teachers never day anything against science, and the same goes for the science teachers. And even of they did, it really wouldnt natter much. Oh course, Catholics don't take the Bible so literally, so I suppose that helps. Also, to be honest, I believe in science more than religion. I may have been raised Catholic, but I'm Agnostic. Plus, I'm studying to be an archaeologist. So science is really more my thing.
  • will 2011/08/17 17:34:13
    Yes
    will
    +5
    Science explains a portion of God's intelligence, while religion is living by example of His intelligence.
  • Ken 2011/08/17 17:32:18
    Yes
    Ken
    +4
    There is no "conflict" between the Bible and science, unless you are a "young earther" who attempts to count the days since creation in the book of Genesis literally, and claim Earth is only 5,000 to 6,000 years old. Gerald Schroeder who holds two PhDs from MIT, in nuclear physics and earth science, has written a series of books reconciling the Biblical story of creation with science, including "The Science of God: the Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom."

    It is significant that two of the greatest scientists in history believed in God, or the presence of a "superior reasoning power," as Albert Einstein put it:
    “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.” The Quotable Einstein, p. 161, citing New York Times obituary, April 19, 1955

    “It is agreed that the supreme God necessarily exists, and by the same necessity he is always and everywhere. . . . He totally lacks any body and corporeal shape, and so he cannot be seen or heard or touched, nor ought he to be worshiped in the form...

    There is no "conflict" between the Bible and science, unless you are a "young earther" who attempts to count the days since creation in the book of Genesis literally, and claim Earth is only 5,000 to 6,000 years old. Gerald Schroeder who holds two PhDs from MIT, in nuclear physics and earth science, has written a series of books reconciling the Biblical story of creation with science, including "The Science of God: the Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom."

    It is significant that two of the greatest scientists in history believed in God, or the presence of a "superior reasoning power," as Albert Einstein put it:
    “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.” The Quotable Einstein, p. 161, citing New York Times obituary, April 19, 1955

    “It is agreed that the supreme God necessarily exists, and by the same necessity he is always and everywhere. . . . He totally lacks any body and corporeal shape, and so he cannot be seen or heard or touched, nor ought he to be worshiped in the form of something corporeal. . . . We know him only by his properties and attributes and by the wisest and best construction of things and their final causes, and we admire him because of his perfections; but we venerate and worship him because of his dominion. . . . All the diversity of created things, each in its place and time, could only have arisen from the ideas and the will of a necessarily existing being.” Isaac Newton, The Principia – Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, General Scholium, pp. 942-943

    It is also significant that these words from Isaac Newton, affirming his belief that God "necessarily exists", were written in his epic "Mathematical Principals of Natural Philosophy," which Stephen Hawking has called the greatest scientific work in history.
    (more)
  • getu Ken 2011/08/17 18:26:34
    getu
    +1
    Thanks for the quotes! It's nice to be reminded of what great company we [who find no conflict between faith in God and science] are in!
  • HannibaltheCannibal 2011/08/17 17:31:56
    Yes
    HannibaltheCannibal
    +1
    Christian Scientists? Hello?!
  • Orsino Hanniba... 2011/08/17 18:22:41
    Orsino
    +2
    Contradiction in terms
  • Hanniba... Orsino 2011/08/17 18:25:21
    HannibaltheCannibal
    +2
    Actually, when I was a kid I wanted to be a Christian scientist really bad. Not a contradiction, God is the ultimate scientist. :)
  • Orsino Hanniba... 2011/08/17 18:26:58
    Orsino
    +1
    God doesn't treat illness or put a man on the moon scientists did
  • Alex 2011/08/17 17:29:06
    Yes
    Alex
    +3
    "Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but both look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided, neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect." --Freeman Dyson
  • sarah 2011/08/17 17:28:01
    Yes
    sarah
    will of corse yes science is amazing but i also am religouse i think ppl who only believe in science are stupid i mean c'mon god created all and gave us science to make medical breakthros and save ppl lifes not to sit back and cross our fingers and say god save my daughter or father or what ever
  • DeanoBeany 2011/08/17 17:27:08
    Yes
    DeanoBeany
    IT doesn't mean that religion is made more valid if a professor is a member, but one can believe in both.

    As long as they leave their imaginary friend out of the equation, I don't see why someone of religion couldn't be a benefit to a scientific field
  • Mechelle 2011/08/17 17:26:52
    Yes
    Mechelle
    +1
    Creation demands a creator. Without one the other does not exist. I believe God created man. And man went on to search and learn and develope new ideas and concepts. We have come a long way and God has allowed us to do so. But... I also believe that God can stop us for going as far as he wants us to go. We achieve NOTHING without the power of Gods approval. Make no mistake in that. Think what you want, believe what you will, but God makes the final call.
  • Experience 2011/08/17 17:25:38 (edited)
    Yes
    Experience
    +1
    Yes, I believe in Science and Religion. I think God gave us science so we could learn our potential, and experiment with our world. God does not readily interfere with our free will, but with science we can interfere with nature's natural course and help each other to not suffer like our ancestors did. For instance,...when people got the bubonic plague back in the day,...they had to let nature run its course and they died painful, disgusting deaths..but with science we can put an end to all that..and for the most part we have. bubonic plague nature run died painful disgusting deaths science bubonic plague Thank God our loved ones don't die like this anymore...
  • THE SCARY GUY 2011/08/17 17:25:20
    Yes
    THE SCARY GUY
    +3
    THE RELIGION OF SCIENCE. AND THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION.
  • zkittle06 2011/08/17 17:24:57
    Undecided
    zkittle06
    +1
    I think religion puts a lot of restriction on science, but I think its possible to believe in both.
  • Prometheus~phaet~ 2011/08/17 17:22:21
  • goblue1968 2011/08/17 17:22:06
    No
    goblue1968
    +3
    This is actually a trick question: A true religionist can believe in many scientific principles and scientific theories, e.g., evolution, atomic structure of matter, quantum mechanics, etc. But a true scientist cannot believe in all of the dogma that any religion claims in their belief system.
  • hellocello goblue1968 2011/08/17 17:28:10
    hellocello
    +2
    Aren't both scientists and students of the Bible just searching for truth? It seems like there is some common ground to be found in the issue. Most of the people that are commenting on this are acting as if scientific theories that conflict with well known religious beliefs are the only theories out there.
  • goblue1968 hellocello 2011/08/17 18:04:48
    goblue1968
    In answer to your question, scientists are searching for the truth (and that includes their willingness to throw out formerly accepted scientific theories if newly discovered facts render the older ideas obsolete). Students of the Bible may be searching for the truth, but I would be a little skeptical of their sincerity of motive in their particular searching activities. If certain scientific analyses were to contradict some Biblical scenarios, would the Bible students then forsake the Biblical version? Sorry to answer your question with a final question, but I don't expect you to answer my question. I'm just offering food for thought.
  • Orsino hellocello 2011/08/17 18:27:59
    Orsino
    +1
    Science searches for the truth constantly, it seems to me like religions think they already know the truth
  • hellocello Orsino 2011/08/17 18:48:53
    hellocello
    Most religions yes. Mine though (I hardly like to call us a religion because we are separate from what most people think when they think religion) knows that that the bright light is "getting lighter and lighter". Proverbs 4:18.
    Progress and refinements are constantly being made. True religion should also search for the truth constantly. I respect scientists who do the same
  • JackSchitt goblue1968 2011/08/17 18:25:44
    JackSchitt
    +1
    How many religious people believe in "ALL of the dogma that any religion claims in their belief system"?

    I'm a Christian person from a large Christian family with many religious friends and acquaintances. I haven't met another believer YET who has unquestioning belief in EVERY single rule and principle of their church's doctrine. If you knew anything about religion you would know that it is a very personal thing and each believer finds his/her own level of conviction.

    So does that mean if you are a scientist who attests to ALL of the scientific theories and will defend them against the bible.... but believes that somehow it all originates from intelligent design..... does that disqualify you from being a "true scientist"?
  • getu JackSchitt 2011/08/17 19:04:11
    getu
    You're right! For some reason, most people get dogma and faith all confused.. Those who follow a "religion" are following a group's interpretation of God's word. Those who believe in God, follow the Bible's teachings and turn away from the various church doctrines that don't coincide with the Bible. For years I could not find a church that did not depart seriously from the Bible's teachings.

    Now, I'm attending a wonderful church that does not dictate HOW you feel you should worship God, only that you should. "Doctrine" is direct from the Bible! I've noticed a huge lack of bickering and squabbles that often occur around churches.

    Regarding your last paragraph, I don't believe a "true scientist" has to "defend" his or her findings against the Bible. At least, if he or she is also a "true Christian" it will be unnecessary because there are no real conflicts that I've ever heard anyone speak of. Just frequent mis-interpretations that cause confusion.
  • goblue1968 JackSchitt 2011/08/17 21:53:18
    goblue1968
    +1
    You presented an example which is different from what I stated in my post. In this particular case, the origin of the universe is still a matter of discussion among today's cosmologists, with many different proposals. The true scientist always remains open-minded about any concepts and will accept those which meet the rigorous standards of the scientific method of proof. The intelligent design concept is not favored by very many scientists any longer because it fails the criterion of Occam's Razor, and also has not provided the requisite proof.
  • socokid 2011/08/17 17:20:28
    Yes
    socokid
    +1
    Most Christians understand the reality of evolution, for example. However, extreme fundamentalists find it very difficult to let go of firmly held, utterly faith based beliefs, no matter how unreasonable. It is how the human mind works, unfortunately.

    To note, it is amazing this is still happening in the US. Denying evolution in favor of ancient mythology is seriously strange to me. This school, that can do whatever it wants as a private institution, is losing a good teacher. Their problem, not mine.
  • getu socokid 2011/08/17 19:07:01
    getu
    Just a note, since you mention the evolution issue, have you heard any of the very quiet murmuring since the ongoing DNA and later discoveries have been making great strides? One little thing about cell structure that can't be explained... And so far, it points to the fact that apes and man could never have been related/descended, etc...! Now, wouldn't that be the shock echoed round the world, if it proves true?!
  • socokid getu 2011/08/17 19:54:21
    socokid
    +1
    since you mention the evolution issue
    No, it was the cornerstone of the article posted for this question. I did not bring it up out of thin air.

    have you heard any of the very quiet murmuring since the ongoing DNA and later discoveries have been making great strides?
    Yes. Genetic research has furthered and solidified the theory of evolution. It did this quite a while ago, however.

    One little thing about cell structure that can't be explained
    Like what?

    fact that apes and man could never have been related/descended
    Oh goodness... I see you know nothing of biology. Your statement here is nonsensical, because humans ARE apes. By a very long, very precise definition. Cannot be changed.

    Now, wouldn't that be the shock echoed round the world, if it proves true?!
    Sure would! We'll be waiting...
  • getu socokid 2011/08/17 23:19:01
    getu
    +1
    Sorry, I was listening to someone else and typing and didn't say what I was thinking. Not a multi-tasker!.

    And you are right. I'm not a biology major, but I read quite a bit and am good at listening! What I started to write was that man and today's great apes both descended from a COMMON ancestor - we are not a descendant directly of the apes.

    As I understood a recent conversation, the issue with cell structure came about when they tried to extract a human mother's DNA from an egg. The triggers (no, I don't recall the scientific name for these little bits of direction to our cells) are destroyed by the extraction process and so they can't be cloned. Great apes share this unique quirk. Other animals' - included in those tests - DNA did not lose this factor and could, therefore, be cloned.

    One of the scientists involved - who was discussing this - seemed to feel that this could changes something about evolution. And no, again, I'm not a biologist and haven't a clue what, or why he felt that was a possibility... I was really hoping that someone here would also have seen similar information and could explain it clearly.
  • socokid getu 2011/08/18 16:25:28 (edited)
    socokid
    +1
    today's great apes both descended from a COMMON ancestor - we are not a descendant directly of the apes.
    Sort of correct. The first part is spot on. The second part is still a little fuzzy.

    To be clear, humans are apes. By definition. We merely share a common ancestor with the OTHER ape species we still alive today. Also to note, the word "ape" is not the name of a species of animal. It is the name of a parent GROUP of animals, of which humans are most certainly included.

    With that said, if you meant "we are not descendants of the other ape species we still see alive today", then yes. You are correct. We are not the spawn of Gorillas or Chimpanzees, we merely share a very distant, but common ancestor with them. Spot on again (I "believe" this is what you meant, just making sure).

    We find new information that hones certain portions of biology and the very encompassing theory itself almost daily. It is wonderful, and how science works. These new finds, however, have been only solidifying the fact of evolution for over 150 years. Through dozens of scientific fields of study, it has all pointed to the same conclusion. It is crystal clear.

    Thank you for the neat biological find. I guarantee it will not alter the general theory in any way but will help our understanding in this one corner of biology (egg DNA retraction issues in apes, etc...). Neat at any rate and will attempt to search for it later.

    Thank you.
  • Epistemically Justified -- BN7 2011/08/17 17:12:22
    Yes
    Epistemically Justified -- BN7
    +1
    I wouldn't say that I "believe" in science, but yes, it is possible for someone to have faith and at the same time accept the facts that tested science has proven.

    Something my graduate adviser told me -- you will need to reconcile your faith with the truths you learn here. Faith should never cause you to be blind to the truth.
  • right-choice 2011/08/17 17:09:36
    Yes
    right-choice
    +2
    God made science keep us alive with interest in Him, True science proves Him to be true.
    Definely can't prove Him wrong, never have and never will.
  • RobThatGuy 2011/08/17 17:08:17
    Yes
    RobThatGuy
    +5
    Yes you can! Besides I'm tired of "Religion" mucking up my "Faith".

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