The YouTube channel Jubilee has a series called Middle Ground where people of opposite perspectives get together to discuss their differences.
One episode is called, “Can Scientists and Religious Leaders See Eye to Eye?” You can watch it here:
I want to address the comments made by Don, a paleontologist and geologist.
Don first talked about his view of how science and religion interact. He said, “I’ve battled creationism most of my entire career” and that religion “brings in a whole category of things that violates my rules as a scientist as well.”
He goes on to give three objections to religion throughout the show. I believe that Christianity has adequate responses to each of them.
1. The Universe is Poorly Designed.
“I look at this [the universe] and I say, now if anything, what we see now about the universe shows how poorly designed it is, and how sloppy it is and how painful it is, and all these things which don’t speak to a very benevolent creator, because if anything it makes him look bad.”
Don looks around at the universe and notes that it is far from perfect. Things seem poorly designed and these flawed features are often harsh and painful to humans. Surely, these facts don’t point towards a loving Creator.
In response, Christianity does not teach that creation now is the same as it was when God first created it. Namely, the consequences of the Fall had a ripple effect throughout the universe. After Adam and Eve sinned, God said “Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you” (Genesis 3:17-18).
Paul picks up on this idea by saying, “Creation was subjected to futility” and one day creation “will be set free from its bondage to corruption” (Romans 8:20-21).
The whole Christian story is one of redemption, where God restores all of creation back to the way things are supposed to be.
For more on this issue, check out my friend Logan’s article: Bad Arguments Against Christianity: Cruelty in Nature.
2. Morals are Innate Within Human Beings.
When asked where morals come from, Don responded:
“I think they’re innate in humans. All societies have had certain things that they have agreed on regardless of religious background…we don’t require a deity or any kind of religion to give us those things. We come with them as part of our species.”
First, I am curious as to how Don knows what all societies agree upon when it comes to morality? That seems to be quite a claim to make.
Second, I am perfectly fine with Don believing that morals are grounded in humans, just so long as he doesn’t think that they are objective. If they are grounded in humans, then they come from within us, not outside of us. Morals then are subjective to the person and society that a person lives in.
That leaves Don with the problem of evaluating the moral values of other societies. Who are you to say that cannibalism is wrong for another society to practice?
Much more could be said about this, but in the meantime check out William Lane Craig’s article here: Can We Be Good without God?
3. Religion is Subjective and Cannot Be Evaluated.
“In science you are pretty much not even allowed to consider the supernatural because it’s beyond testable hypotheses, it’s beyond anything that you can evaluate in any what we might call an objective manner.”
I get the idea that God or the “supernatural” are not physical objects that you can test repeatedly in a laboratory. But Don goes a little too far by saying that all supernatural claims cannot be evaluated in an objective manner whatsoever.
In Christianity, I believe that the resurrection of Jesus can be tested in an objective manner, namely through the historical method. Here are two of my articles on this issue:
Is The Resurrection of Jesus Falsifiable?– Here I argue that the resurrection can be falsified and is therefore testable.
6 Signs of Historical Reliability in the Resurrection Accounts– Here I use six criteria of authenticity that historians use to test the historicity of ancient documents.
Overall, I really enjoyed the video and the discussion. It was really well done and I encourage you to check out Jubilee’s YouTube channel.
And I did agree with Don on one thing that he said: “It’s not so much that science can answer more questions, but science certainly can guide us in a lot of ways.”
4 thoughts on “Responding to a Scientist’s View of Religion”
Wanted to say I enjoyed your “The Historicity of Joseph of Arimathea” over at A Clear Lens!
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Thanks brother! Appreciate the encouragement.
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