Faith, science and evidence
We talked about faith and evidence, with one view being that we’re asked to believe even without solid evidence (like Abraham being asked to leave Ur, going ‘out in faith’) while another stresses that faith isn’t ‘blind, but evidence-based - noting that the Bible devotes much space to rehearsing evidence that showed God can be trusted to ‘deliver’, because He’s done so in the past.
We talked about not always taking things literally or viewing the simple ‘surface’ meaning as the main one – drawing a comparison with parables – and about promises not always being fulfilled in the way we expect (some Jews rejected Jesus because they were expecting a liberator from the Romans).
Are people fearful of combining faith and science? Extremes are attractive, and beget other extremes. Moreover, views and predictions can be more readily believed if expressed with certainty and confidence, even if those characteristics aren’t fully justified. Uncertainty, on the other hand, is something that’s often difficult for people to handle.
So dogmatism is a problem – but that said, one shouldn’t call into question the genuineness of the Christianity of fundamentalists or of others – that’s not for us to do.
We moved on to think briefly about some positive impacts on faith that a scientific worldview can bring. For example, realising that God (and Jesus, when with God?) is outside time and space helps dispose of the long-running argument about the ‘preexistence of Christ’ and makes sense of Jesus’ enigmatic words ‘before Abraham was, I am’. Other doctrinal controversies can fade away, too.