By Ryan Weber
When Science Challenges Your Faith
Last year, Journey Students did a series called God Science. Our goal in that series was to figure out what went on between God and Science: “vs,” “or,” “and” “hates,” “loves.” What fits? In the series, we touched on many of the apologetic discussions regarding the dichotomy between God and science.
Unsurprisingly, the discussion centered upon two different things: Creation vs. Evolution, and the verifiable and historical proofs for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those seem to be the biggies when it comes to any apologetic discussion in the realm of science, and PhD’s and theologians have been arguing and debating for centuries about these. The answers are out there, you just need to check your bias (we ALL have a bias… I’ll explain more this weekend) and do a little research. Those discussions are ancient.
The tension that we’ll be discussing is our view of PROGRESS. Should we embrace it? Should we reject it? What is the line between being a progressive and a conservative when it comes to scientific discovery? What progress comes from God and what comes from scientists with an anti-religious bias? This is tension! Because Christians have a reputation for being completely anti-progressive (you’re not… even if you’re an “ultra-conservative”), this narrative is spoken everywhere.
I want to spend the remainder of this preview talking about the greatest tension that science poses to our faith moving forward. And this is in the areas of transhumanism and bioethics. And before you think I’m more of a genius than I actually am, I hadn’t even thought about these things before I sat down with Donnie to prepare for the message I’m preaching on Sunday morning.
Transhumanism = Artificial Intelligence
Bioethics = the ethics of medical and biological research
These two areas are going to be instrumental in shaping our future and if we as Jesus followers don’t engage in the tension that these areas will present, our world could potentially move in a direction that we don’t want it to move.
We need to begin engaging our minds in scientific discussion. And believe me, I hate science just as much as you. I hate it. Can’t stand it. Throw up when I think about it. But we need to begin to learn how to learn. Google is your friend if you use it the right way. Because this world is moving, and we cannot be left behind.
The questions that we must engage in revolve around the inevitable progress of science in these two areas and the position in which we stand as advocates, campaigners, champions… for people. We as Jesus followers stand for people, their intrinsic value, their will, their standing in the eyes of God.
Is it appropriate, then, for artificial intelligence to replace humanity in jobs, displacing them and perhaps any value or purpose? Or will it make everyone’s lives easier? We can just sit on cruise control and let the machines do all the work? What about cloning? If a person was created in a lab, were they created in the image of God? What about micro-whatever’s that scientists can potentially implant to track your movement, track your vitals, or even change your brain chemistry to help you avoid certain overt criminal activity? Progress?
What about an article I read on BBC where scientists are creating life-size, talking, moving sex dolls? (Wish I was joking, but I’m not). Is it adultery when you trade sex with your spouse with sex with an animatronic doll? You’re not hurting anyone. right? You’re not technically sleeping with anyone else, right?
This blog post is littered with questions marks. That’s because these questions are so complex and wide-ranging. It’s also because nobody is having these conversations, which is why we’re starting the conversation this Sunday at Journey! Invite a friend and let’s talk about it!
By Matt Dawson
I’ve had the awesome privilege of being married to my amazing bride for the past 23 years! It’s that amount of time where we can actually tell what each other is thinking about 80-90% of the time and ALMOST finish each other’s sentences.
My wife challenges my faith. Not in a bad way – in the BEST way! We love having discussions about what the Bible says and what we think it means. Sometimes, we have differing opinions and try to convince each other of our position. I LOVE THIS! My wife is extraordinary studious so even if I’ve come close to convincing her about my position, there’s no doubt she will continue to study the subject until she’s satisfied. I’m so fortunate to have a partner in life who challenges my faith!
However, we’ve had many friends who don’t share in this joy. Their faith is challenged constantly, but not in a good way. It’s challenged from an unbelieving spouse who doesn’t support them. It’s challenged from their children who walked away from the church at 14 and have yet to return. It’s challenged from their adult siblings who raise kids differently, or from parents who don’t see value in your faith, but instead see it as something that separates them from you.
It’s a difficult path to walk when those closest to you…those that are supposed to “get you” at every level challenge one of the most important parts of your life. If there’s power in the tension, its often impossible to see past the pain and hurt we are experiencing.
This Sunday (Mother’s Day), we’re going to continue our discussion of how to manage the Tension between Fear and Faith when challenged by those we love most.
MOTHER’S DAY AT JOURNEY: We will have free cafe drinks for all mothers, as well as neck massages in the lobby (by a trained professional). Don’t miss the photo opportunity as well (provided by the awesome folks at SocialBooth) to take a picture with your mom and/or send your mom some love via social media from the lobby.
See you Sunday!
By Matt Dawson
In preparation for this week’s installment of “What Happens When…” I want to point you to a PODCAST that Tracie and I did last year concerning this topic.
If this doesn’t happen to be an issue for you or anyone in your family…then it’s hard to understand how the tension around faith plays itself out in a family. Although we will tackle this from a broader spectate this weekend at Journey, this podcast dives into the issue of husbands and wives who have different beliefs.
By Matt Dawson
Whenever I have a conversation with someone around a culturally charged issue (gay marriage, HB2, racial prejudice, anything political…), there is usually an interesting dynamic that comes out in those conversations. It seems that either someone is fully embracing the cultural stance of what “everyone” thinks and should adhere to OR someone is talking about how “Christians” should be and why failure to stand up, fight, argue, or band together is sending the nation to hell in a hand basket.
However, I really have never understood why we approach cultural concerns this way. After all – aren’t we a part of the culture? Doesn’t culture constantly change? I mean, what is “normal” and what “everyone,” thinks today is so different than it was 10 years ago – won’t it be different 10 years from now? Many Christians just want to RETURN to the way things were… WHEN WAS THAT? I’m only 42 but I’m not really sure there is an ideal time in history that didn’t have conflicts between culture and faith!
Many Christians have their own “sub-culture” of what they think “everyone” should and shouldn’t do. The temptation for many believers is to just ask the world to swap their pagan culture for our more moral Christian culture and we think it’s a win-win! However, most of those outside the church have zero desire to trade one culture for another… their culture suits them just fine!
The truth is, for as long as we draw breath on this earth, we’re going to have to find a way to navigate between WHAT GOD SAYS about everything and WHAT OTHERS (CULTURES) SAY about everything!
This is not only a challenge for most religions but especially for those of us who follow Jesus Christ. Jesus challenged us to LOVE others in such a way that reflected how much He loves us! This doesn’t allow us to just adopt our own sub-culture of belief… He called us to ascribe to HIS KINGDOM! That’s a completely different way of approaching cultural issues.
In our new series, “What Happens When…” we are going to tackle some tough conversations that we are having around those areas that challenge our faith. What happens when culture challenges my faith? What happens when my family challenges my faith? What happens when science & progress challenges my faith?
How do we manage the tension between FEAR and FAITH when approaching these topics?
Join us at Journey for the next several weeks as we spend some time discovering “What Happens When…”