Faith and science

The following comes from a discussion with an atheist.

“Can you imagine if science entertained faith-based reasoning at its core?”

For centuries, it was faith-based reasoning that drove science.

” And what is to gain from the religious? What can they prove? What can they contribute? Think about this strongly. What has arisen from the pulpit that benefits all of humanity? Something tangible of course. ”

It was the religious ideas that God created the universe, God is a god of order that caused men to begin to believe that here are rules to the universe and these could be discovered through observation (which can be seen in Romans 1), that caused men to begin to develop the scientific method. 

There are many scientists who are/were deists or theists or Christian: 
Ibn al-Haytham was a devout Muslim, and helped form what is today known as the scientific method.
Nicolaus Copernicus, a priest, was the first astronomer to formulate a scientifically based heliocentric cosmology that displaced the Earth from the center of the universe in the first half of the 1500s. 
Galileo (who was religious, even though the church persecuted him because he favored Copernican science as opposed to the church which favored Aristotelian science), 
Newton (Not a trinitarian, but who believed in God none the less), 
Charles Babbage, 
Blaise Pascal, 
Ben Franklin was a deist,
Arthur Eddington, an important mathematical cosmologist, was a Quaker.
Georges Lemaitre, a Roman Catholic priest, proposed the Big Bang theory.
I don’t know whether Michael Polanyi, the notable physical chemist and philosopher, was Christian at the end of his life, but I know that he was when he wrote Science, Faith and Society, the best introduction to his thought.
Henry F. “Fritz” Schaefer – theoretical chemist
William Phillips was co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Francis Collins – geneticist, 
Rustum Roy – materials science

“Conversely, think of the immense positive contribution science has had on the advancement of humanity across all fields of knowledge. Why is that? ”

Please, give examples of how science without religion has been good for humanity? 

“Because science does not operate on faith, but fact. In other words, it searches for truth through hypothesizing, experimentation, and drawing conclusions based on observable facts. On the other hand, religion starts off with the desired outcome and works backwards to prove that its claims are accurate.”

You are mistaken. It is religious people who came up with the scientific method. They were able to do so because they recognize that God is a god of order and He set into place rules which can be discovered.

Also, religion does not start with a desired outcome. It starts out with what was, and moves into the what is, and moves into the what will be. History has shown the many prophecies of the future in the Bible have come true.

” This is not only stupid but actually retards progress by muddying up real science with wishful-thinking and thus prolonging a “debate” which essentially doesn’t need to be prolonged. Again, what tangible benefit does faith provide? What tangible benefits have the faithful generated for the betterment of man? Any? ”

As I said, the scientific method you seem to cherish was discovered by religious people. Faith is trust. You put your faith in men – how have men treated you so far? 

“And how far do we want to take faith as a potential variable in understanding our world? What good does that do? Atheism is simply the absence of this “faith” favoring fact and hard work to fiction and wishful-thinking.”

Actually, no. atheism is the faith in man. Tell me, when is the last time you knew an infallible man? Trusting in mankind is wishful thinking.

“Are you saying the Bible is actually a good moral guide? ”

yes.

“If that were the case, why did it take us 1,500 years to outlaw slavery or extend suffrage to women? ”

Because men are bad. The problem is not with God, or the Bible. The problem is with men. Men are selfish and do things that harm others. God provides an answer for that. Historically, people have long used scripture to try to support their selfish positions. At the same time, others have sought out scripture to understand what it says about certain matters and tried to adjust to live by what God has said. The two are very different things – the first is selfish and lends itself to twisting of scripture to justify sin. The latter is seeking God’s will and being obedient. People have done both through history, with more of the former than the latter. It is no different today.

But to address your question, the church condemned slavery many centuries ago. 

In 1435 (almost 60 years before the ‘New World’ was discovered), Eugene IV condemned slavery in Sicut Dudum. Again, Paul III: Sublimis Deus, 1537, and then again by Gregory XVI: In Supremo, 1839. 

“At what one point did we decide the public execution and torture was immoral? Where was the Bible in all of this?” 

Again, men are the problem, not God. 

“Isn’t it obvious that we learn as we go. Morality changes with greater knowledge. Or perhaps you’d like to return to the age when the Bible was indeed the sole law of the land; a time when war, ignorance, slavery, torture, hatred, colonization, public execution, absolutist royalty, peasant rebellions, famine, and serfdom was the the way of the world.”

I would not mind returning to the time of Adam and Eve, before they sinned. There would be no pain, no evil, no hurting others. But AFTER they sinned has not been such a good time, from what I can tell. Its not good anywhere, anywhen.

“we decide what is ethical. ”

which “we”? The “we” who say it is good to kill children as they are born? The “we” who say it is good to kill old people? The “we” who say prostitution of children is a good thing? The “we” who do not want women to be considered equal? The “we” who do not want women to vote? The “we” who do not want children who are ill to live? 

When you leave it to man, you are certain to get it wrong. The best you will get is might makes right. 

Christ honored women. God recognizes the equality and worth of women. 

People are the ones who want to denigrate others. People are the ones who want to hurt others. People are the ones who lie, steal, cheat, murder. People are the ones who abuse, rape, murder children and women.

Are these the “we” you want to determine what is ethical?

I said, “Historically, people have long used scripture to try to support their selfish positions. At the same time, others have sought out scripture to understand what it says about certain matters and tried to adjust to live by what God has said. The two are very different things – the first is selfish and lends itself to twisting of scripture to justify sin. The latter is seeking God’s will and being obedient. People have done both through history, with more of the former than the latter. It is no different today.”

Someone who believes in god has two choices: to be selfish or to seek God.
Atheists only have one choice: to be selfish. 

People who are selfish will find a way to justify their behavior. You can be selfish and claim to be a Christian or an atheist. 

Just because you claim to be Christian does not make you one. People who love Christ will admit their faults and try to correct it as they learn how to be better.

Christ came to provide us a way to be with God. God created the scientific laws man has been discovering. God also created moral laws that society has been discovering and perverting. True religion will use both science and morality to help mankind while move us closer to God.

We each have choices. We must decide if God exists. We must decide if God sent Jesus. We must decide to follow Jesus or not. We can choose God, or we can choose man. 

If we choose man, we are being selfish and short-sighted. Historically, man fails us miserably. But also historically, man fails God miserably. On the other hand, God has been faithful and patient and loving. Otherwise, He could have wiped us out with no thought to our well being. Instead, He sent Jesus to suffer and die for our sins, that we might believe. And if we believe, we can trust Him to provide us with something still better in the future.

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