Why do Christian apologists keep saying this?

I know very few former Christians who could honestly point to science as the thing that shook their faith. Most people hardly think about, or even understand the most crucial debates between theologians and scientists; it’s enough that someone on their side has an argument to offer at all. When we want to believe, we make those pieces fit. And the more complicated it sounds, the easier it is.

But science is a method for finding answers. Not the answer itself. So when Christians ask not only us, but their own to not trust science…. it’s just another way of saying that we should never question the answers Christians have already provided. It’s one thing to disagree with a conclusion that was found by means outside of the Bible, but it is quite another to rule out the process for getting there altogether. After all, science allows us to debate our conclusions– and even to start over and try again if necessary. That sounds far more trustworthy than a method which constantly tells us to never ask questions.

Science will always lead to more questions than answers, and science becomes more trustworthy each time it is proven wrong. Science can never lose. Science does not offer “the other option” in opposition to God; it offers infinite options, most of which we haven’t even dreamed of yet. The Christian narrative is that we have somehow narrowed the meaning of life down to two possibilities: the current scientific theory, and God.

That, my friends, is a lie.

If you are speaking to believers about how flawed scientific thinking is, you will no doubt inspire many of them; but don’t fool yourself into believing you offer answers for those who have doubts. Real doubt isn’t about science. And for believers, it isn’t even about the existence of God. It’s about questioning our interpretation of God, and asking questions like: “How much of what I believe is manmade? Is it possible that God is being used to fill in what we don’t know? And if so, is it for some things—or all things? Which things? Do we really know God at all?”

Sometimes I would ponder the endless tiny holes my brain was drawn to; like how there really is no compelling reason to believe the words of Paul are equivalent to the words of God (and what that would mean). Or how the Bible tells us almost nothing about the afterlife or recognizing our loved ones in Heaven. Those are fair things to wonder about. Would God judge me for thinking about such things?

“Proof” of the Bible’s overall validity can be hard enough to swallow, but when you break down the details…. Well, few Christian apologists would recommend doing that. It’s an “all or nothing” thing, I guess. But when I present these questions, inevitably at least one Christian will ignore everything I say and turn the conversation toward science and the holes in the theory of evolution.

Who taught them that atheists exist because of the theory of evolution? Do they think there is some argument against evolution which somehow proves Christianity? Is that where the Christian answers about Paul and eternity will suddenly appear as truth for me? The best Christian apologists know the difference between “inspiring the troops” and answering the one who is desperately clinging to a disappearing definition of God.

I have been accused of choosing faith in science over faith in God; but science represents “everything else” now that the one specific option of God makes no sense to me. That is hardly a choice one makes.

Christians, if you think you are ready to answer the questions of someone in a true faith crisis (or who has lost faith altogether), then you don’t understand the depth of the inquiry. And you shouldn’t want to. Anyone who is asking can probably offer the most convincing argument for Christianity you have ever heard. They are searching for a better answer– and they have been actively seeking that better answer with an intensity you have never required. You are going to need to catch up.

At some point Christians must rely on faith to come to any conclusion, because there is always room for doubt. That space will exist no matter how much you insist otherwise. Remember, faith is not evidence of God. It is a conclusion drawn before its time.

Some Christians are so afraid of doubt, they become angry with ex-Christians like me for revealing its very existence. They use the Bible to tell us we are wrong in a dozen different ways. But those of us who once searched in vain, with all the bias in the world for our beloved Christian faith…. we are not satisfied with those answers, either. We know the Bible is wrong about us. The verses explaining why we turn from faith may comfort a believer; but for us, they are only a reminder of how untrustworthy the Bible really is. This is another example of “inspiring the troops.”

I am always open for discussing lost faith with Christians, and I have never asked someone to stop believing. But sometimes it is overwhelming how many Christians respond with anger, and then throw the same worthless verses at me. Is anyone listening at all? If the only conversation you can offer is to tell me I am wrong and then write paragraphs designed to inspire yourself– why bother?

Christian friend, you have never addressed doubt at all. Sure, you have thrown stones at it. Mocked it. You have held the Bible up to it and wondered if it could see its reflection. But you still cannot define it.

And when you talk about science and creation, you are never making a case against doubt. Your arguments are nothing more than talking points designed to defend a literal interpretation of Genesis—one of many books designed to keep your definition of God as narrow as possible. And the only thing that is a bigger red flag to me than your narrow definition of God, is your requirement that I never question it.

But that’s what faith in God requires, right?

I doubt it.

 

16 thoughts on “Warning: Do Not Put Your Faith in Science

  1. I have a friend who always tells me, “…but science is wrong all the time. Science used to say that leaches could cure sickness.” It’s absolutely maddening that, no matter how many times you explain it, no matter how many times you explain what science is and isn’t, some people will still cling to such perverted understandings of science.

    1. Yes, I do not understand how this thinking persists that if science was ever wrong about anything then we should just stop thinking and focus on the Bible. For many Christians it’s as if the truth of Christianity comes down to the Bible vs any scientific theory they choose. It is a fascinating way of compartmentalizing to protect one’s faith. Of course, if Christians were not forced to believe such specific details about their religion, science would never feel like a threat at all. But if there is one thing this type of believer becomes more angry with than an atheist…. it’s a Christian with a loose interpretation of God. And this will ultimately be their undoing.

  2. Great stuff as usual Jenny. I think you make a great point that even beyond reconciling differences between the Bible and science the Bible itself leaves so much unexplained and begs a lot of questions. When you look past the internal contradictions, and things that are a vague and open to interpretations, you are also left with wondering about all the stuff that just isn’t in there at all. One of my biggest beefs is just how little there is about creation itself. The making of the entire universe and all life as we know it takes up, what, about 2 or 3 pages? I mean it seems like such a monumental creation deserves more details, more facts, figures, diagrams, etc. I mean to me if something really was the word of God it would be more like reading an advanced textbook that would be really hard to understand until we had done the ground work ourselves to understand the concepts. But of course that’s the scientist in me speaking. lol There are species never talked about, the Americas and Australia don’t exist, and it’s just hard to understand why people don’t see it as a book that describes a very small region of the world over a very narrow time period.

    In my opinion the anger you get from Christians at your doubt is out of fear themselves. There has to be some doubt still buried inside them somewhere, because at one time they most definitely had the questions even if they were afraid to voice them. Through an internal struggle they had to violently suppress it…almost like fighting that war between good and evil within themselves…and that warrior projects outwards to others.

    As you said, science just wins, because it is quite simply the best method we have for acquiring knowledge. It is the best way for asking questions and for trying to find the answers. Even if we don’t always have the full picture, or get it wrong, it demands that we keep trying until we get it right. If there is a God and we truly want to understand what God created, then I’m pretty sure he or she or whatever would want us to know God through understanding the complexity of creation, and not settle for what in the end is a very bland, ambiguous, un-detailed story.

    1. Thanks for the always thoughtful reply! You say “almost like fighting that war between good and evil within themselves” and that is exactly how they see it, too. I have talked with people who actually believe Satan is using me to get to them. A Christian is always prepared for battle. Everyone is either for God or against him; which is a tricky thing to reconcile against the idea that one should also love and attempt to “save” the unbelievers.

      I think Christians have defined God into a corner– and they have no idea how many blanks they have had to fill in to get there. They make up their own interpretations and use the Bible to make it fit. Even if we were to believe that God exists and had some hand in producing the Bible, Christians would still know practically nothing about God. And if they simply understood that…. it would change the world.

  3. THIS!!

    “Christians, if you think you are ready to answer the questions of someone in a true faith crisis (or who has lost faith altogether), then you don’t understand the depth of the inquiry. And you shouldn’t want to. Anyone who is asking can probably offer the most convincing argument for Christianity you have ever heard. They are searching for a better answer– and they have been actively seeking that better answer with an intensity you have never required. You are going to need to catch up.”

    1. You know, I say this all the time, and I usually get the same responses: Either a Bible verse about why I am blind to the obvious truth, or a story about how they used to not believe, either. This doesn’t help. Are you really going to tell someone who is questioning the Bible that the answer is in the Bible? And not believing is one thing– but having faith and then losing it is quite another.

      This is usually the point where questioning Christians seek out former Christians. They will find better answers here. And this is probably the number one reason I think it’s so important that ex-Christians are growing as voices in atheism.

  4. I am convinced that when the christian says “don’t trust science” they don’t mean science as a way of learning and exploring the world, rather they mean some sort of nihilistic, materialist ideology that they in turn call” science.”

    You can really see this when you hear then make sweeping statements about what “science believes” about philosophical ideas or the like. It then becomes painfully clear that they actually have no idea what they are talking about when they use that word.

    1. Well, of course they only mean any science which conflicts with their specific interpretation of the Bible. On the other hand, science which agrees with their specific interpretation of the Bible is proof of accuracy. Because in most ways they use science the exact same way we do; the only difference is that for them, everything in the Bible is an absolute truth– so scientific conclusions which do not line up cannot possibly be right.

      It’s clear to the rest of us that the Bible must first pass a test (which it cannot possibly pass) before we grant it such a place in the equation…. and skipping that step is where religion and science cannot mix. Faith is not an acceptable reason for cementing an idea in stone and re-arranging all theories around it. I will never understand how that concept is not obvious to everyone. But it isn’t. And how can we even discuss science when we can’t agree on such a basic thing?

  5. 1. The reason not to put all your eggs in the science basket is very simple. Science is very limited in its scope. It can tell you how something is done, but can never say why it’s done.

    2. It’s impossible to conduct science without faith. One must have faith that there is something to be discovered to even begin. Scientists must make assumptions (many of which cannot be proven) in order to carry out the scientific method (there you go, faith in something that cannot be proven – why – in the pursuit of truth). Hypotheses can never be proven true, only disproven.

    3. The pitting of science against religion (and vice-versa) is always short-sighted and foolish in my opinion.

    4. It’s not the most convincing or brilliantly articulated argument that’s going to turn a heart to Christ. So waiting for someone to present such an ‘argument’ is unwise.

    LAD: “Would God judge me for thinking about such things?”
    God is no longer judging people. He already judged Jesus instead of us. Yes, there’s a final judgment -which is not 1 single judgment, but 5 separate judgments- (don’t have time to get into the different categories)

    If you can find one single Christian who can believe without faith, then that’s not a Christian. Likewise, you’ll never find any human being on planet earth who can believe in anything (God, idols, self, no-god, etc.) without faith. IT IS SIMPLY IMPOSSIBLE.

    I hate to inject some reality here, but you’re not the first person to entertain doubt; neither did you create it. This happened eons ago in the Garden. I think it’s very dubious and unserious to say that Christians mock doubt, as doubt is perhaps the single largest barrier to the Christian relationship with the God of the universe.

    1. As always, I appreciate your comment. So forgive me if I sound frustrated.

      The point I was making is that Christians often look at science as the main source of doubt when, in fact, most former believers would say science is irrelevant to our doubt. Why do apologists continue to attack “faith” in science as if it leads to proof of God?

      Your first two points are just another example. I have no idea what you think those words should tell me about the Bible as truth. The dots will never connect to the Christian God. So what makes it relevant to my lack of faith? There is no argument for or against science that can be pointed to as the source of my doubt in the Bible. It’s a wasted argument, designed these days mostly as a defense for a literal Genesis.

      That was my point.

      I said: “If the only conversation you can offer is to tell me I am wrong and then write paragraphs designed to inspire yourself– why bother?” What do you think I meant by that? When you make points that start with an assumption that the Christian God is real, you are talking for your own benefit. It’s not as if I am going to say, “Oh, that’s right– doubt DID first happen in the Garden.” Right? Why are you doing that?

      If you are interested in influencing thought, you can only use the tools someone has. Start there. Otherwise I can only assume you are here to congratulate yourself on your own brilliant thoughts. I am saying how I feel, and attempting to connect with others who have the same experience. Remember, I have never asked you to agree with my beliefs– but maybe attempt to understand them better.

      And I know you will disagree…. but you are not there yet.

      1. Your frustration mostly stem from you wanting to have it both ways.

        1. You want to speak for Christendom but get frustrated when you are rebuffed. It’s easy to tell from your writing that you have very little understanding of Scripture and Christianity.

        2. You invoke and make reference to God when you think it makes your point, then deny His existence the rest of the time.

        3. I highly doubt most ‘de-converts’ and unbelievers will say science is irrelevant to their doubt, as that is exactly what the majority cite for their doubt in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.

        Only a fool would set aside their beliefs in order to appear as something they are not to someone who neither knows nor care to know.

        I have not asked you to believe the way I do; however don’t expect me to delete God and a knowledge of Him from my response in order to be palatable to you. It’s just not going to happen. You don’t believe, that’s your business. The reality is, it’s of no consequence and totally irrelevant to me whether or not you agree with me. I’m here to present my side.

        LAD: “If you are interested in influencing thought, you can only use the tools someone has.”
        What? How did you come up with such nonsense.

        When Jesus was speaking to a crowd and was misunderstood by them, He didn’t ‘tone down His speech’ to make it more palatable to them; or only ‘used the tools they had’. No. He spoke the truth regardless of who understood it or believed it.
        You influence and inspire by elevating thought.

        You think because I reject your points that I don’t understand them. Well, it’s exactly because I understand them why I discredit them.

        The reality is, whether or not I am there – wherever there is – you are one of the last persons who would know. How would/could you know.

        [It’s easy to read tone that does not exist… this is simply my matter of fact, straightforward response to the above.]

        1. Nothing I write is about you. I speak for myself. I talk about God in relation to my own experience– and it is my personal experience which you are rebuffing. But why do you care enough to rebuff it? It feels like you are only interested in convincing me that you know me better than I know myself. And I am not interested in that conversation. Please correct me if you have some other intention, because it is not clear if you do.

          “It’s easy to tell from your writing that you have very little understanding of scripture and Christianity.” How can I take you seriously if that’s your approach? This post was not about whether or not God exists, or whether or not Christianity is correct; it’s about how Christians miss the mark when attempting to reach the people who have lost faith. So while you are taking time to miss the point entirely, why don’t you go ahead and start working on that promising apologetic book “It’s Clear You Have No Understanding of Scripture and Christianity” and let me know how effectively God uses your words to save souls like mine.

          But what takes the cake is your misunderstanding of what it means to build from the knowledge your opponents already possess. Did the word “tools” confuse you? Because this method of communication isn’t exactly controversial. FYI…. it’s the whole reason Jesus used parables. It’s why Paul gave the Corinthians milk before solid food. I know you are much smarter than me about scripture (because you told me), but I don’t remember him complaining that it meant he had to “set aside his beliefs.” So I guess you and I will have to agree to disagree on the definition of a fool.

          You seldom reject any points I am actually making. And the fact that you miss the point so often is a perfectly logical reason to suspect you might not understand. I have taken your compelling evidence of saying that you do understand into consideration, but for obvious reasons I am still on the fence.

          When discussing a topic, it is commonplace to use words to express our understanding of what the other person means. Our discussions typically revolve around you dissecting my personal experience, often with a numbered list of criticisms. In this context, I am actually the FIRST person who would know whether or not you accurately understand MY beliefs. After all, you have written your best guess down for me. And yet you asked: “how would/could you know?” Maybe the same way you can tell from my writing that I know so little about scripture and Christianity.

          I cannot figure you out. You are always looking for a debate, even if it is on the most insignificant topic. I just don’t know what you are looking for.

          1. Unfortunately, you see my responses as an attack on you personally rather than the philosophy or the idea or the narrative itself that you choose to present.

            I don’t know you personally. I like you. I don’t agree with your point of view on some of the things you share here, especially in regard to God, Jesus, Christianity.
            The fact I do not agree with you doesn’t mean I’m attacking you. My goal in responding here is to present the other side – how it really is – not how you say it is.

            This does not mean I’m negating your experience. No. But it does say, your experience does not determine the truth of the Gospel or Christianity.
            So far from it, I’m not looking for a debate. I try to correct misconceptions, misunderstandings and outright untruths.

            Believers were never commanded to save souls. We’re commanded to disciple nations – to teach, by example. I cannot save a soul, and neither can anyone else. If you think your soul needs saving, then waiting on someone to come with the “right argument” to persuade you is not very wise. It’s not arguments that draws anyone to Christ.

            In Corinthians – Milk is learning the word. Solid food/Meat is actually doing the word.
            Jesus says – My meat is to do the will of the One who sent Me
            He also said, no point in calling Me Lord when you do not obey/or do what I tell you to do.

            Jesus used parables to sift out those who had no interest in hearing and doing His word.
            Jesus: “You have been given knowledge about the secrets of the kingdom of God. But to others they are given in parables, so that ‘they might look but not see, and they might listen but not understand.'”

            Why was Jesus’ response so different to the rich young ruler than to Zacchaeus when they were both seeking the same thing.
            It’s all in our approach.

            Have a nice day.

            1. It may not be evident, but the bottom half of my response is an explanation for why we receive the types of responses that we receive. [It all boils down to our approach].

  6. Hey, remember me? the Atheist writer Michael Vito Tosto? I’m just letting my old followers know that I’m up and running again. Feel free to connect or follow me again! I appreciated your support on my former blog.

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