Even before Charles Darwin published his finding on evolution, religious people disavowed scientific discovery. Galileo Galilel, considered by some as the father of the scientific method, was threatened with execution for daring to say the Earth revolved around the sun.
At the time, the church taught that the Earth was the center of the universe. No one claims that today. A backyard telescope will confirm Galileo’s assertion.
Yet, there continues to be pushback by religious people toward scientific fact. Part of the problem lies in their biblical interpretation.
We would not let Grimm’s fairy tales keep us from eating apples (Snow White was poisoned with an apple.), yet people let stories from the Bible dictate some of their basic ideas of right and wrong.
Is it wrong to eat lobster or shrimp? Most would say “no” but the Bible says it is an abomination (Lev. 11:10-11). Should we kill people who work on Saturday? The Bible says we should (Ex. 35:2).
Obviously, these are ancient prohibitions that are not rooted in scientific fact. But other ancient sanctions are still observed. Why?
Part of the reason is because we may be ignorant of scientific facts. In these cases we can learn and change.
Many take literally the story of Eve and the serpent in Genesis 3 and think this makes discrimination against women permissible. Some even believe that were it not for women there would be no sin in the world. Of course, if we had no women, we would have no people.
In the story, when confronted with their sin, the man blamed the woman and the woman blamed the serpent. Passing the buck continues to this day.
The story in Genesis is meant to teach us that we all come upon moral crossroads in our lives. Jesus taught that we all are responsible for our own sin, and only the one who has no sin has the right to judge another.
There is no conflict between science and the Bible, but only in the minds of those who confuse the two. They teach entirely different subjects.
Science teaches us about the natural world and how it operates. The Bible teaches us about God and God’s interaction with human beings.
Once we get that straight we can let both teach us about their respective issues. We will stop trying to discern scientific fact from a book of theology.
– Mike Mitchell, PhD, is pastor at Gault Avenue Baptist Church, Fort Payne