I am a person of science. I’m also a person of Judeo-Christian beliefs. As a mere mortal who doesn’t know it all, it would be outright arrogance coupled with sheer stupidity to say that one outweighs the other and that the answers to everything can be found in only one realm.
Religion and science have fed off each other since the time that humans have walked this Earth with the cognizance of both. And it is with this that I find many a flaw in Troy Baker’s letter to the Nexus (“The Reader’s Voice: Our Future Should Rely on Science, Rather Than Faith,” Daily Nexus, Jan. 20).
There exist many consistencies within religion and science. One of these consistencies is the basic fact that scientific theories, like the interpretations of the Scriptures, will always be argued about. Amazingly enough, just like in religion, there are a lot of scientific phenomena that will never be fully understood or explained. That’s the beauty of it — it keeps the thought process going.
Science relies on faith. To put one’s neck on the chopping block to prove a theory is an act of faith that the world of science recognizes. Sometimes a theory becomes established, sometimes not, but it takes faith to believe in something not yet proven, like many scientists have done.
Science has relied on religion for centuries. For example, ethics in scientific research are based on religious tenets. These require honesty and integrity to be introduced into research while calling for the elimination of pain and suffering in research subjects. Sounds pretty Christian to me. Martin Luther’s 95 Theses are basically a Boolean logic analysis of the flaws within the Catholic Church and it is written in a format that could almost be compared to a computer language.
Conversely, science has also helped the ethics of religion. Franciscan friars used scientific skills such as agriculture, civil engineering and medicine, learned in the seminaries to adapt to hostile environments. Even just things in the Old Testament as simple as not eating shellfish or the “bris” (circumcision) are based on what could be termed as common sense medical practices.
If religion is a hindrance to survival of our species, then why do we still exist and in greater numbers than ever before? Sure, there have been technological advances to keep us alive longer as well as those to end lives in mass quantities. But even with all of the technology and industry on this planet, religion has not gone away from many cultures and yet we keep thriving as a species. Go figure.
Sure, many a conflict has been a direct result of religion. The Spanish Inquisition, The War of the Peasants, The Field of Crows, The Crusades and even 9/11 can be attributed to religious belief. But from these conflicts arose the means to fight and these were scientific in nature. World War I was called the “war to end all wars,” due to the introduction of destructive technology on a mass scale. World War II gave us the specter of the mushroom cloud and the Cold War that would follow soon after. With all of the death and destruction going on in the two major conflicts, all some had in their favor was simply a prayer.
Finally, to blame Christian faith as the reason for Dubya’s re-election is way flawed. There were many Jews, Sihks, Hindus, Muslims, Agnostics and Atheists who voted for Bush simply for political reasons. There were also many Christians who voted for Kerry basically out of their faith. The funny part of this whole argument is the hypocrisy that someone like Mr. Baker exhibits by decrying Christianity as some form of ill in our society, thus lumping all Christians in the same ilk. Smacks of some kind of -ism (racism, sexism) to me. But hey, judge not, lest ye be judged.
In all, I don’t believe that Mr. Baker’s problem is with the Veritas Forum itself. His problem is evidently with Christianity in general. If you have a political/personal agenda against Christianity, at least admit so.
It’s OK to be merely human with the same God-given inconsistencies that afflict all of us, especially those of the anti Judeo-Christian PC contingent.
But don’t confuse ignorance with righteousness. If anything amounts to hindrance of our species’ survival, it is the confusion of those two components of the species itself. Therein lies the true problem.
Henry Sarria is a longtime Isla Vista resident.