Science as a Rational Foundation for Personal Belief Systems

Religion is often treated as the antithesis of science. In many cases there is a war going on between science and religion. In America this is most easily seen in the debate over evolution. The Church has often butted heads against science. Sometimes it has proved to be right and sometimes it has proved to be wrong, yet the church still exists as does science and it is generally accepted that if science was created by God then it should in some way help us found a rational belief system in which both can exist.

Galileo Galilee once said “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” This is perhaps one of the most profound joining of science and religion in a single statement in all of human history and it must be the basis for any attempt to use science as a rational foundation for a personal belief system that includes God.

Before anything else can occur in the discussion it must be accepted that the supernatural can not at its base be proved by the natural. In addition it is impossible to prove a negative and as such the existence of God can not be disproved by science. Yet if this is true then how can science be used to create a more rational belief system?

In many ways, so long as we are willing to accept some amount of uncertainty. Creationism and Evolution are again thrust to the forefront as the modern focal point of this debate. A rational understanding of the universe will tell you that it on a whole doesn’t not appear 6000 years old. Even discounting evidence on earth as uncertain we can measure clearly the speed of light and that light has been traveling for more than 6000 years. This by no means discounts the theory of Creationism but it must be calculated into that belief system in some way. On the other hand scientists still have little explanation for the Cambrian Explosion and it must also be taken into account in order for a reasoned understanding of the universe.

In the end it is nothing more than a balancing act. We must at least consider the possibility that science will disprove some things and when those questions appear we must think them through and not react with anger and fear any more than we should react by automatically assuming that they are right and in the end it something has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect and we should not discount them for the sake of faith but use those gifts, from whatever source, to understand as clearly as possible what we are, what the universe is and what we are supposed to do in it.