Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
October 13, 2010
Science and religion aren’t friends
So says Jerry Coyne, a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution. My son Ryan sent me the link yesterday to this article in USA Today—it is a fascinating defense of atheism as a scientific necessity. And completely wrong about its most basic assumptions.
The essence of Coyne’s argument is a claim which atheists often make: faith is based on irrational assumptions which cannot be disproven no matter what the evidence says. While science depends on evidence and reason, faith “relies on revelation, dogma and authority.” Incompatible faith claims about the world are thus inevitable, leading to religious conflicts and wars.
Religion brings some people solace, Coyne admits, and “impels some to do good (and others to fly planes into buildings).” But he complains that there’s no way of knowing whether religious truth is true. Coyne: “I’ve never met a Christian, for instance, who has been able to tell me what observations about the universe would make him abandon his beliefs in God and Jesus.”
Let me be the first. Actually, let me quote Paul, who made the biblical answer to Coyne’s question rather clear: “If Christ has not been raised, then your faith has nothing to it; you are still guilty of your sins. And those in Christ who have already died are lost. If our hope in Christ is for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone else in the world” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19, NCV).
If someone could prove that Jesus was not raised from the dead, Christians would be forced to abandon their commitment to him. His predictions of his resurrection (cf. Matthew 20:17-19) would be proven false. He would be a mere man, not our divine Lord. Christianity rests upon solid, empirical evidence. Its “revelation, dogma and authority” stands on historical facts.
It is actually Jerry Coyne’s argument which rests on unproven “dogma and authority.” We’ll need to continue this conversation tomorrow as we explore his claim that the soul does not exist and his assertion that “we now know that the universe did not require a creator,” among other irrational statements.
For this morning, know that a commitment to Christ as Lord is warranted by the evidence of history, the trustworthiness of Scripture, and the transforming power of God’s Spirit in the lives of his people. Whatever the King of the universe asks of you today is best for you. Christianity is not a leap into the dark, but into the light.
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