The Virtual Extension to Faith Forward Forum | Jan 22-24, 2007

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Will Science Destroy The Christian Faith?

Michael Guillen, PhD [bio for event]

For all of our vaunted sophistication, we scientists aren’t very good at predicting the future. We can’t tell you what the stock market will be doing tomorrow or the next day … or how long you’ll live … or (notwithstanding the scientific hyperbole you read and hear about in the media) how warm or cold our planet will be three decades from now. Why, we can’t even predict what temperatures will be like three weeks from now!

So it’s with a great deal of caution and humility that I’ve agreed to speculate about what effect I think science will have on the Christian faith in generations to come. To tackle tough, big questions such as these: Will Christianity survive its present-day confrontations with science? If not, then what will replace it? And if so – if Christianity does survive – what will it look like? Will tomorrow’s believer bear any resemblance to today’s? Will changes among our brothers and sisters in Christ be for the better or the worse?

In pursuit of some reliable answers, I’ll:
I. Take a look at the current spate of anti-religion books authored by angry, hostile atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett. All of them seek to pit science against religion, mind (IQ) against faith (SQ). How does the logic and certainty associated with science differ really from the logic and certainty associated with religion? And are IQ and SQ truly antagonistic, as these authors insist? Or synergistic?

II. Take a look at where Christianity presently stands in relation to science. Is science – with its systemic repudiation of God and the supernatural – causing scientists and others in droves to lose their faith? Can a smart, scientifically-sophisticated, 21st century person believe in God? I’ll offer answers by looking at what the latest polls and statistics are telling us … and at my own experience as a theoretical physicist.

III. Take a look at what exactly we mean by the Christian faith. Are we truly talking about the future of the “faith” as perfectly defined by the Holy Scriptures? Or about the “church” as imperfectly defined by the physical, bureaucratic, and in many cases political institutions we support with our tithing and attendance?

IV. Finish by taking a look at who or what I believe poses the greatest threat to the faith and the church. Is it science? Is it the secular world? Or is it we ourselves … we “self-described” Christians?

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