People often don’t like religion because they don’t want to obey
A lot of people react to religion and want nothing to do with it. Not because they’ve considered its truth claims but because they feel it is constricting. Interestingly, we got our modern English word “religion” from the Latin word religio meaning “obligation” or “bond.”
So, it has been recognized for a long time that religion is binding. The question is, why? Why should anyone obey a religion?
If the religion’s truth claims are accurate then there would be a good reason to obey. Otherwise, I’m not going to be bound by a religion just because that’s what my grandma believed… No. If you’re going to tell me what I can do and not do, you better offer some good reasons why I should listen.
God demands obedience
1 Kings 8:60-61 says, “The LORD is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD.” It is admittedly a big claim that “the LORD is God,” and He alone. But if that claim is true it seems to make sense that the LORD could demand obedience.
So, the question it seems we need to answer is not: “Should I obey?” But: “Is it true?” A lot of times it seems we’re tempted to go at it a different way. We’re tempted to think: “I don’t want to obey, therefore I won’t consider if it’s true.”
We can see the ridiculousness of that thinking when we apply it to a different context…
Imagine you’re driving on the highway with me. I’m going 95 when the speed limit is 70. You’re concerned because you know there are often speed traps in the area. Also, you don’t want to die. So, you say, “Perhaps you should slow down. There could be a speed trap.”
I, however, am rather content with the speed I am going. But you see a police car ahead. You very kindly warn me: “Um, that’s a police car… See it?! He’s right there! Slow down!”
But I don’t listen. I want to drive fast so I ignore the possibility of a cop car.
Religion and obligation
Ignoring information that might be pertinent because we want to do what we want to do might be problematic. Just because we don’t want there to be a cop to enforce the rules does not at all mean there is no cop.
I understand people not wanting to be obligated by a religion. We all naturally want to be in charge; we want to do what we want to do. We want to be God. But we can’t be God if God is God.
If God is, then God is in charge. He is God. If the religion is real, it necessarily leads to obligation.
That brings up the very important question: “Is God?”
Imagine I gave you a pill that made you feel morally obligated to give me money… Kinda random but hear me out. After the pill wore off, what would you think of your moral conviction to give me money? Would you regret it? Question it? Probably both.
That’s what moral conviction is if we’re simply evolved creatures. Why? How is that so?
Naturalistic evolution teaches that our sense of morality evolved
Naturalistic evolution teaches that our sense of morality evolved. That is, our “moral genes” just happened to make us better suited for survival, and thus those with a moral characteristic passed on their “moral genes.” And so, we have morality. But, so the thought goes, just as the Neanderthals died out, morality could have died out. Or certainly, a different form of morality could have won out.
In fact, Charles Darwin says in The Descent of Man that if things had gone differently for humans they could have evolved to be like bees, where “females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters.” The atheist Michael Ruse in his book, Taking Darwin Seriously: A Naturalistic Approach to Philosophy, says, “Morality is a collective illusion foisted upon us by our genes.”
So, if we’re simply evolved from monkeys, morality is the equivalent of taking a pill that makes us think certain moral convictions are right. But the reality would be different. We, based on this view, only have those convictions—whatever they are: treat people nice, don’t murder and maim, etc.—because we happed to evolve that way (“took the pill”).
Of course, just because the way that you arrived at a conclusion was wrong, does not mean that your conclusion was wrong. In a test where the answer is A, B, C, or D, I could just choose “C” because it’s my favorite letter. I may be correct in my answer, but I certainly don’t have a solid reason for believing in the validity of my answer. In fact, probability would say my answer is likely wrong.
Another problem with wholesale naturalistic evolution is if we believe it explains everything then it in some ways explains nothing. Gasp. Yeah, that’s not a good thing.
If evolution explains morality, then I’m moral because of evolution which at least in some ways undercuts morality. Some people even say that religious people, like people that believe in Jesus, are religious because they evolved that way. Believing in a higher power brought some type of group identity which led tribes of our ancestors to be more likely to protect each other and thus survive and pass on their genes. And so, religion is the result of random mutational chance.
In fact, you could argue all of our thinking processes are the result of evolution. We’re just matter in motion. We’re all just responding to random whims. From belief in morality to belief in evolution, we’re just evolved to think this way… We can’t do anything about it. It’s programmed into us. It’s the pill we were given…
But if all this is a pill we’re given—what we’ve randomly evolved to think—what should we think?… Isn’t all our thinking just built into us through evolutionary processes?…
Alternatively, Christians believe that humans are created with an innate moral sense.
So, it seems morality is either a fiction with no basis in reality or God created us and explains reality—explains why we have an innate sense that we should treat people nice and not murder and maim.
There are big implications for either view. What is your view? And why?
Here’s some somewhat random reflections on knowledge if you’re interested…
How Can We Know Anything at All?
Wow. That is a super big question. And it’s a question that some people are not asking at all. That’s problematic. And in some ways ignorant. However, others are asking that question but they’re asking it in a proud way. That’s also problematic. And ignorant.
Let me ask you a question, how do you know your dad is your dad? Well, some of you will say, “He’s just my dad. He’s always been my dad. I’ve always known him as my dad.”
But I could say, “But, how do you know you know for sure he’s your dad?”
Others will answer, “I know he’s my dad because my mom told me.” But how do you know your mom’s not lying? Or, how do you know she knows the truth?
Perhaps the only way to know your dad is actually your biological dad is through a DNA test. But could it be the case that the DNA clinic is deceiving you? Is it possible that there’s a big conspiracy to deceive you? What if you are actually part of the Truman Show? Everything is just a big hoax for people’s entertainment?… How could you know without a shadow of a doubt that that’s not happening?
You really can’t. Not 100%.
We Can’t Know Everything
We, I hope you can see, can’t know everything. There’s a healthy level of skepticism, just as there is healthy humility.
Also, if we think our knowledge must be exhaustive for us to have knowledge, we will never have knowledge. And we will be super unproductive. I, for one, would not be able to go to the mechanic. And that would be bad.
Our knowledge is necessarily limited. We may not like it but that’s the cold hard truth, we must rely on other people. We must learn from other people. There’s a place for us to trust other people. Of course, we are not to trust all people or trust people all the time. But we must necessarily rely on people at points.
Philosophy and the History of Careening Back and Forth Epistemologically
John Frame, the theologian and philosopher, shows in his book, A History of Western Philosophy and Theology, that the history of secular philosophy is a history of humans careening back in forth from rationalism to skepticism and back again. One philosopher makes a case that we can and must know it all, every jot and title. And when they’re proven wrong, the next philosopher retreats to pure epistemological anarchy, claiming we can’t know anything at all. Again, when it’s found out that that view is wrong and we can in fact know things, we swing back the other way. And so, the philosophical pendulum goes and we have people like Hume and people like Nietzsche.
The history of philosophy shows that we should be both skeptical about rationalism and rational about skepticism. Both have accuracies and inaccuracies. Which helps explain the long life of both.
The Bible and Knowledge
The biblical understanding of knowledge takes both rationalism and skepticism into account and explains how both are partly right and partly wrong. And it explains that though we may not be able to know fully, we can know truly. It also explains that there are more types of knowing than just cognitive and rational. The Bible not surprisingly understands who we are anthropologically and so is best able to reveal the whole truth epistemologically.
The Bible also understands that there is experiential knowing, tasting—experiencing something—and knowing something to be true on a whole different level than mere cognitive knowing. When the Bible talks about “knowing” it’s intimate, tangible, and experiential knowing. For example, it says Adam “knew” his wife and a child was the result of that knowledge. That, my friends, is not mere mental knowledge. It’s lived—intimately experienced—knowledge. It’s knowledge that’s not available without relationship.
Job says it this way, I’ve heard of you but now something different has happened, I’ve seen you (Job 42:5). Jonathan Edwards, the philosopher and theologian, talked about the difference between cognitively knowing honey is sweet and tasting its goodness. It is a world of difference. The Bible is not about mere mental assent. It is about tasting. Knowing. Experiencing. Living the truth.
The Bible says and shows that Jesus is Himself is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is what it means to know the truth. He is the truth and shows us the truth. He is truth lived, truth incarnate.
The Bible communicates that some people don’t understand, don’t know the truth. There’s a sense in which if you don’t see it, you don’t see it. If it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense. The Bible talks about people “hearing” and yet “not hearing” and “seeing” and “not seeing.” Some people believe the gospel and the Bible is foolishness (1 Cor. 2:14).
How Should Christians Pursue Knowledge?
First, our disposition or the way we approach questions is really important.
How should we approach questions? What should characterize us?
Humility! Why? Because we are fallible, we make mistakes. However, God does not. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Also, kindness, patience, and understanding are an important part of humility and asking questions and arriving at answers. So, “Faith seeking understanding,” is a helpful and common phrase.
Second, where do we get answers from?
Scripture. Why is this important? Again, I am fallible and you are fallible, that is, we make mistakes. And how should we approach getting those answers? Are we above Scripture or is Scripture above us? Who holds more sway? Scripture supplies the truth to us; we do not decide what we think and then find a way to spin things so that we can believe whatever we want…
Third, community is important.
God, for instance, has given the church pastor/elders who are supposed to rightly handle the word of truth and shepherd the community of believers. We don’t decide decisions and come to conclusions on our own. God helps us through Christ’s body the Church.
Fourth, it is important to remember mystery.
We should not expect to know all things. We are… fallible. So, we should keep Deuteronomy 29:29 in mind: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” There are certain things that are revealed and certain things that are not revealed.
Fifth, our questions and answers are not simply about head knowledge.
God doesn’t just want us to be able to talk about theology and philosophy. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “that we may do…” So, God also cares a whole lot about what we do. Knowledge is to lead to action. We are to be hearers and doers.
What explains the contradiction of humanity?
Hinduism & New Age Spirituality on Suffering
What does Hinduism say about suffering?
The most prominent of the six schools of Hindu philosophy is Vedanta Hinduism. It teaches that suffering comes from ignorance (maya). This view teaches that we can be freed from suffering when we recognize our oneness with the Divine. This form of Hinduism thus says since all is divine, there is truly no sin and no suffering. Salvation is thus through knowledge, the knowledge that one is actually God.
It is important to realize that Hinduism “does not technically name one religion but is a broad term that includes the various religious beliefs and practices of India. Hinduism has no founder and no single authoritative text.” But, “all Hindus share some core beliefs, including the eternality of the cosmos, reincarnation, karma, the caste system, affirmation of Vedic scriptures, and liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth as the ultimate goal of life.”
A second view of suffering from Hinduism is that our suffering comes from a previous life in which wrong was done. As the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler say in The Art of Happiness, “In the Buddhist and Hindu models… suffering is a result of our own negative past actions and is seen as a catalyst for seeking spiritual liberation”
We, in this life, are thus paying for the wrongs we did in our previous lives. All suffering thus has its antecedent sin, somewhere. We may not understand it but all suffering is thus just. This is the doctrine of karma: people get what’s coming to them.
A few questions come to mind. What acts of compassion to alleviate the suffering of others do you expect from Hinduism that does not believe in the reality of suffering? Also, as we have seen, Hinduism teaches Karma, people get the suffering that they deserve in this life. Does that lead to compassion for those who are suffering? Sadly, often it does not.
Think of the caste system. If someone was born into poverty that’s what they must deserve. If someone gets sick and dies that’s what they must deserve. Hinduism holds that humans “are directly responsible for the suffering (physical, mental, spiritual, existential, and so on) that they are experiencing.”
That’s very briefly what Hinduism says about suffering.
The Bible as we will see teaches that we are not divine, we are not God; we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Ignorance is a problem but it is not the problem.
The Bible teaches the decisiveness of this life, we had no other life in the past. What we do matters more than we can know. It does not just affect the next life where we get a retry. It affects eternity. So, the way people live and how they treat people has a lot of significance.
Also, from a Christian perspective, there is judgment. People will get what they deserve, we can be assured of that, but it’s not through Karma. It’s through Jesus, the good and just Judge (Rev. 22:12).
Lastly, Christianity places huge importance on compassion (Col. 3:12-13). Jesus came and suffered for us to ultimately alleviate our suffering even when we didn’t deserve it. Therefore, Christians are to be compassionate and even sacrificial.
What does New Age Spirituality about suffering?
First, what is New Age Spirituality? It is a mix of Buddhism and Hinduism and personal feelings. It is kind of the “mix n’ match” of religions.
It’s basically impossible to distill down what New Age Spirituality says about suffering because you’d probably get a different answer from each adherent to the many forms of New Age Spirituality. I hope here, however, to give a general perspective.
It seems suffering in this view is a result of not being awakened to our inner power. We need to relinquish negativity so that “the universe’s healing power might flow unimpeded.” If someone is in your life that you’re having trouble with, then the solution is to cut them off. They are not helping your inner calm so they need to go. New Age Spirituality seems to teach that the solution to suffering is to focus on yourself.
New Age Spirituality seems very self and inward-focused. Of course, they say they are very inclusive and accepting of everyone. So, New Age Spirituality is also very pluralistic. ‘You have your truth and I have my truth. And that’s fine.” That’s what proponents of this view would likely say.
Primarily, though, suffering is something to be avoided. What is messy and unlikable is to be avoided. New Age Spirituality in that sense seems to be an escapist mentality. In contrast, “the Christian path of obedience, sacrifice, and suffering can seem foolish, even masochistic.”
Suffering exists for various reasons, but Christianity teaches that it is primarily a result of sin. Sin is not really a category for the New Age Spiritualists. Christianity also differs in that it says suffering is not always to be avoided.
Jesus waded into our suffering to provide salvation. And Jesus very often calls us to also take up our crosses. And love people. Even when it is difficult. Even when it means sacrificial suffering. Christians believe that they cannot agree with everyone (for example, Jesus is the only way to God) but they are to love and sacrifice for anyone—even when they disagree with that person and caring for them requires sacrifice (think of the Good Samaritan).
 E. Stanley Jones, Christ and Human Suffering [New York: The Abingdon Press, 1937], 58.
 Tawa J. Anderson, W. Michael Clark, and David K. Naugle, An Introduction to Christian Worldview: Pursuing God’s Perspective in a Pluralistic World [Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2017], 269.
 The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, The Art of Happiness, 200.
 Jones, Christ and Human Suffering, 51.
 Some would take this to mean that we should not relieve the sufferings of others because it really is not helping them. They are getting their just desserts for their wrongdoing. If we relieve them in one way they will just suffer in another.
 Jones says, “There is a deep and abiding truth in the law of Karma. We do reap what we sow” (Jones, Christ and Human Suffering 54). See Galatians 6:8. However, the doctrine of karma is wrong although God does justly mete out justice.
 Scott J Fitzpatrick, Ian H Kerridge, Christopher F C Jordens, Laurie Zoloth, Christopher Tollefsen, Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Michael P Jensen, Abdulaziz Sachedina, Deepak Sarma, “Religious perspectives on human suffering: Implications for medicine and bioethics” in Journal of Religion and Health 2016; 55:159–173.
 The Bible says that it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes the judgment (Heb. 9:27).
 Nicole Watt, “A Reiki Master’s Redemption,” 95 in Christianity Today.
 Watt, “A Reiki Master’s Redemption,” 95 in Christianity Today.
*Photo by Min An
Science brings solutions. Solutions I thank God for. Without the breakthroughs in medicine that science has brought, my wife and son would not be alive because of a dangerous birth. The Bible tells us to be thankful for good things like science. It doesn’t say science isn’t real, or anything crazy like that. Instead, it says, “every good gift… comes down from heaven” and “should be received with thanksgiving.”
But, science is not everything. Science is not our salvation because science is wielded by humans, and humans do something that is unpopularly referred to as sin. So, in the most scientifically advanced century, there were also the most mass inflicted deaths. If the past is an indication of the future, science will continue to be a place of ethical stress and struggle. Science has been good in many cases, but science has also been used to propel genocide.
So, I’m super thankful for science but science is not our salvation. Science can’t even begin to tell us the meaning of life. It only answers questions that can be found through reproducible observations. It can tell us about the way the world is, but it cannot to us about the way the world ought to be.
Science might provide solutions, science might help us out especially physically, but our problems are deeper than that. Our problem is not just physical, it’s spiritual. And science knows nothing of the spiritual. It can’t see or do tests on what ills us at our deepest levels and so it can offer no final solutions.
If humanity is to be saved we need more power than even science offers. And we need it welded by a perfect person. Christians believe in just that person.
Christians believe Jesus is the Solution
Christ’s resurrection proves both that the world is more than meets the eye and that science, though often very good, is not our salvation. Jesus the Bible repeatedly shows, is our salvation.
“For the Christian the natural world is real and full of strangeness and wonder, but it is not the only reality or the higher reality, so important though science is, there are ways of knowing other than through science… After all, there are many sounds that humans cannot hear, but they are still objectively real and completely audible to dogs, bats and bears.”
Yet, just because Christians believe more is needed than just science, does not mean Christians discount science. And just because Christians believe that Jesus is the solution, does not mean Christians discount reason.
Christianity is a reasonable religion. Or, it at least certainly claims to be. Each person has to decide for themself. But, the Bible indeed gives reasons to believe. It’s arguing for something. It’s proposing a full-orbed philosophy of life.
Christianity has been reasoned since the beginning. In fact, the Bible makes the huge claim that reason (logos) was fleshed out as Jesus walked in the flesh (see John 1:1-14). Wisdom walked the earth. Philosophy was not abstract, theoretical, and locked up in a far-away lecture hall. No. Philosophy was flawlessly lived out by Jesus who perfectly loved people and God.
Science cannot save us but it points us with a whisper and a roar to the One who can. Jesus can do the surgery on our hearts that we all need because He is knowledge and wisdom incarnate. He is philosophy. He is Logic made flesh.
Jesus the sovereign over science is the one who brings salvation. He is the sinless solution. The one alone who perfectly welds His power.
 Os Guinness, Fools Talk, 150.
Suffering? What does Buddhism say say about it? Why does it happen and what hope is there in the midst of it? How should we respond to the reality of suffering?
Why does suffering happen?
Why does suffering happen? What hope do we have in the midst of suffering? And what do the major views of the world say about these questions?
There are a bunch of different forms of suffering. Suffering because of the actions of others, because of our own choices, from loneliness, from financial distress, from the death of a loved one. Statistics say there have been millions of deaths worldwide from COVID-19 alone. Suffering is sadly part of our world.
But, why? And did it have to be this way? Does it have to be this way?
In the upcoming posts we’re going to briefly look at what Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age Spirituality, Islam, Naturalism, and Christianity say about suffering.
What does Buddhism say about suffering?
Buddha said, “Existence and suffering are one.” And Buddha explains, through the four noble truths, that suffering is a result of desire. Therefore, Buddhism says, the solution, the way to end suffering, is for us to end desire. To get to our resting place then, to get to Nirvana, where we no longer suffer, we must cut the root of all desire.
Issa, an eighteenth-century poet from Japan, went to a Buddhist Zen Master for help. He was grieving. He tragically lost his wife and all five of his children. In Issa’s distress and grief he went to the Zen Master. The Zen Master said: “Remember the world is dew.” That was the solution that was given, “Remember the world is dew.”
Dew is fleeting. “The sun rises and the dew is gone. So too is suffering and death in this world of illusion, so the mistake is to become to engaged. Remember the world is dew. Be more detached, and transcend the engagement of mourning that prolongs the grief.”
The answer given, then, is basically, “Be more detached. Care less.” After Issa received his consolation he composed one of his most famous poems:
I appreciate something E. Stanley Jones said:
“Buddha was right in diagnosing our difficulty as ‘desire.’ It is the desires of men reaching out to this thing and that thing that return to them disillusioned, pained, suffering. We seem to be infinite beings trying to find satisfaction with finite things. The result—suffering! Yes, Buddha was right in finding the root of our difficulty to be in desire, but he was wrong in the remedy. He would try to get rid of all desire, when the fact is that there is no possible way to get rid of one desire except to replace it by a higher desire.”
What’s the Christian View?
The Bible actually agrees that we have desire and that it is strong. For example, Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that we have eternity in our hearts. Therefore, the Bible as well as Augustine and Aquinas say we have great desire but they also say our desire can be met, but only by God Himself.
So, let’s think through the implications of the Buddhist view of suffering. The Buddhist view leaves people wanting to leave earthly existence altogether and arrive at the passionless state of Nirvana; that is the true solution from the Buddhist approach.
One of the problems with this kind of belief is that it does away with the significance of good and evil. And thus it also does away with rescue. C.S. Lewis said it this way: “Confronted with a cancer or a slum the Pantheist can say, ‘If you could only see it from the divine point of view, you would realise that this also is God.’ The Christian replies, ‘Don’t talk damned nonsense.’”
The Christian view of suffering looks at suffering as much more multidimensional. From a Christian perspective, there are many reasons for suffering:
- sin and wrong desire
- war and human conflicts
- living in a fallen and cursed world in which there are physical calamities such as hurricanes and pandemics
- health issues and physical infirmities
- economic distress
- humans sinning against other humans in various ways
- the abuse of secular and religious authorities and even at the hands of parents within the family structure
- Suffering, for the Christian, can also happen as result of living for Jesus the Lord
For the Christian, the solution is much different too. The solution is not leaving earthly existence, the solution is Jesus coming to earth. And Him always having the right desire and doing the right thing and suffering in the place of humans.
 Of course, in the space we have, we cannot come close to an exhaustive account of each view. Instead, we’ll look at what I believe is a fair representation.
 This is what the four noble truths say: (1) Suffering is an innate characteristic of existence with each rebirth and (2) the cause of that suffering is desire. (3) We can therefore end all suffering by ending all desire. And (4) we can end all desire by following the eightfold path.
 E. Stanley Jones, Christ and Human Suffering (New York: The Abingdon Press, 1937), 49-50.
 As Psalm 16:11 says, “In the LORD’s presence there is fullness of joy. At His right hand our pleasures forever more.”
 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
*Photo by JD Mason
What is a Miracle?
David Hume, a skeptic philosopher believed a miracle is a violation and even a transgression of a law of nature. That view assumes the impossibility of miracles at the outset. It makes sense that someone who doesn’t want to believe in God, or God’s interference with our affairs, wouldn’t want to believe in the possibility of God’s intervention. So, I understand where he’s coming from.
The Importance of Starting Places
Is Science able to Disprove Miracles?
Should we Believe every Miracle Claim?
Does Science Disprove Miracles?
Can an outside hand reach into the fishbowl of our universe?
Newton, a scientist that also happened to be a fish, was a keen observer of the ecology of the fishbowl. He was surprised to observe regular patterns in his fish universe. But he did.
For example, Newton observes that food daily falls upon the surface of the water at the same time each day. It is a law of nature. It’s just the way the world is.
Newton observes other natural phenomena like the temperature of the water. He further notes that each death of a goldfish results in a distant flushing noise and then in reincarnation of that goldfish. Newton, awestruck by his discoveries, publishes his findings in his magnum opus entitled Fishtonian Laws.
Many read his groundbreaking work and are convinced that the laws of the fishbowl are unassailable. After all, the patterns observed have always been that way and so always will be that way. No outside source can act within the fishbowl. The reality is food appears every day and as a goldfish dies, a new one appears. That is the unbroken chain of events we observe. That is the way it’s always been. How could it be different? Who or what could act on these laws of nature?
We are in a closed system; the aether of the universe—in which we live, move, and have our being—is constrained by an invisible force. There is an unknown unobservable wall that keeps us from knowing what is outside nature, what is outside the physical universe. There is no way for us to know the metafishbowl.
In the post-Fishtonian world, there were still whispers of the metafishbowl—of the supernatural hand of God—but most of those stories were dismissed as baseless dreams. After all, even if there were a God that set up the fishbowl, he no longer acts in the fishbowl. Such a being is wholly other and transcendent and would not care about lowly fish.
Everything just goes on swimmingly by itself. We shouldn’t expect an outside hand, right?… There is no reason to think an outside being or force could act within our world.
Or, does something smell fishy about this story?
The Bible talks about a lot of crazy things like walking on water. We can walk on ice but we can’t walk on water. Doesn’t that automatically prove Christianity is false and even foolish?
Also, the Bible cannot be tested in a laboratory so we cannot have scientific proof that it’s true. By this criterion, however, we can’t prove most things. We can’t even scientifically prove the assumptions of science.
If you buy a bookshelf from Ikea and the tools you need to build it are not included, then you’ll be limited to the tools you have. If you don’t have enough tools to build it then what happens? The bookshelf is either left completely unbuilt or in some haphazard condition.
It’s a similar situation with science. Certain philosophies of life provide different ‘tools’ for the assembly of the scientific method. Without those tools science will not be able to stand. So, what “tools” do you need to assemble the scientific method?
Reasons to believe in the predictability and regularity of nature
A controlled and orderly creation rather than a capricious one is necessary for science to get a foothold. There must also be reasons for people to believe that the world is ordered. As John Frame has said, “For science to be successful, the world must display a high degree of regularity and predictability.” But, for the scientific method to work, we need more than just regularity, we need to also believe in that regularity. “Unless we assume predictability and regularity in nature, it is impossible for experimental science to conduct its work.”
Nature is orderly, not out of control. And because nature is ordered it allows for the study of that order. The idea that the universe is ordered did not arise from ordinary experience. From casual observation, creation often seems capricious.Yet, trust in a cosmic Creator and Lawgiver provided such things as the laws of motion.
Belief in the rationality of God not only led to the inductive method but also led to the conclusion that the universe is governed rationally by discoverable laws. “This assumption is vitally important to scientific research, because in a pagan polytheistic world, which saw its gods often engaged and jealous, irrational behavior in a world that was nonrational, any systematic investigation of such a world would seem futile.”
The Christian account of the world gives reason for believing in mathematical precision. Other accounts expect unreconcilable mathematical problems. If the gods, for example, are at war or not in control of nature then one cannot expect exactness, only various levels of ignorance. That level of confidence does not lend itself to space travel and brain surgery, let alone the scientific method.
Nature is good, not a god to worship
The physical world is also real, not an illusion. Creation has inherit goodness but not godness. One’s view on the nature of reality not surprisingly affects how one can think about science. If one believes that reality is that we are all unknowingly god then it’s going to impact the way they think about the physical world around them.
The view that holds that we can and should escape from the sufferings of the world by ridding ourselves of all desire does not lend itself to scientific discoveries. And so, one would look in “vain for as much as a rudimentary concept of science, of scientific enterprise, or of scientific spirit, in the rather depressive pages of the Vishnu Purana. Its main purpose is rather to teach man how to escape from the clutches of the sensual, tangible world.”
Time is linear, not cyclical
The basic choices in the origin and development of the universe “are only two: cyclic or linear, or rather, chaos or order.” If the cosmos were cyclical—time repeating itself over and over again—then it would seem we can’t make gains. Optimism would be abolished. Many civilizations have, however, believed in cyclic cycles.
Take the Chinese for example. They have a very long and, in many ways, incredible history yet their cyclic notions of the world kept them behind scientifically for many years. In China, “the interpretation of cosmic and human history in terms of cycles was far more than intellectual entertainment for a few scholars. Rather, it acquired at a very early age and enjoyed until very recently a semi-official status.” And so, in that culture, casual connections were not observed. Even “measurable, quantitative aspects of events occurring closely in time could have no particular significance” for the Chinese. Thus, not surprisingly “despondency about man’s ability to decipher the exact patterns of nature made itself felt time and again.”
Without the optimism of a linear understanding of the universe and of time, science is servilely paralyzed.
“The spirit of experimental method simply could not assert itself in a cultural ambience in which the urge to escape from reality constituted a pervasive pattern. With the slighting of reality there came a weakening of the search for truth about the external world. Science, however, cannot arise, let alone gain sustained momentum, without an articulate longing for truth which in turn presupposes a confident approach to reality”
Whereas, many Christians during the scientific revolution believed that they could do science to the glory of God. They wanted to, as Johann Kepler said, “think God’s thoughts after Him.” Thus, they had a lot of motivation for practicing the scientific method. Christianity provides the intellectual attitude, ethics, and assumptions that make modern science possible. As Peter Harrison said, “religious considerations provided the motivation to pursue science, provided its core philosophical presuppositions, informed its methods and content, and lent it social legitimacy.”
So, to the question: “Doesn’t science contradict what Christianity teaches?” I’d say the answer to that appears to be no. In fact, Christianity seems to have been part of what led to the blessings of modern science.
 Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism (Oxford University Press, YEAR), 271.
 John M. Frame, Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2015), 72-73.
 See Charles Colson, How Now Shall We Live, 423
 Alvin J. Schmidt, How Christianity Changed the World (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 222.
 Stanley L. Jaki, Science and creation: From Eternal Cycles to an Oscillating Universe (Gondolin Press. Kindle Edition).
 Jaki, Science and creation.
 Johannes Kepler, Peter Harrison says, “had wanted to become a theologian but eventually came to the realisation that ‘God is also praised through my work in astronomy.’ For Kepler, the whole world was the ‘the temple of God’ and hence to study nature was ‘to honour God, to venerate him, to wonder at him’” (Peter Harrison, “Religion and the Rise of Science” Faraday Papers 21).
 Peter Harrison, “Religion and the Rise of Science” Faraday Papers 21.
 Harrison, “Religion and the Rise of Science” Faraday Papers 21.
 Mark Noll, “Science, Religion, and A.D. White,” 7.