Many Evangelicals Are Pro-Science But Pro-Miracle

I was fascinated by the results of a recent poll reported on Huffington Post that found that “84 percent of evangelicals say modern science is doing good in the world.” Overall, 70% of conservative Christians had favorable opinions of the world of science in their lives.

This runs counter to what most of us hear and read about how this group deals with scientific findings. As is so often the case, a vocal minority can render a sane majority in an unfavorable light merely by being loud enough to drown out the noise. One of the basic principles by which I’ve lived my life as a reporter-commentator on the human condition is that the more loudly an opinion is voiced, the less likely it is to be useful or represent truth. This is true, by the way, of some opinions which I happen to share!

Interestingly, as the article points out, “60 percent of evangelicals said scientists ‘should be open to considering miracles in their theories.’” Where some will see this as a giant step backward, I see it as fertile territory for finding common ground between anti-science religious people and scientists. Science has made a grave error in its convulsive and almost impulsive response to the negative treatment of its field of study by early church leaders. This mistake, about which I’ve written extensively, is in attempting to drive a stake in the ground that positions science as the ultimate expositor of all truth on all subjects. The word “unscientific” and its many synonyms have been brought into disrepute by the high regard in which science has been held for so many centuries and by its adherents’ insistence that it defines all of human knowledge and wisdom worth knowing.

But science, while it can tell us the what and the how of many if not most aspects of human knowledge can never tell us the why or help us understand the “should”, the moral values and imperatives behind what is and the decisions that will be most beneficial as a result of what is. These areas of human knowledge and wisdom are vital, in fact arguably more vital than knowing the facts themselves. And yet science simply not only ignores these greater questions, it tries to minimize their import by labeling them “unscientific.”

But if we — scientists (and I consider myself a serious amateur member of this fraternity) and religious and spiritual people (where I position myself similarly) — can agree that there are realms of human knowledge and wisdom that fall outside science’s purview, perhaps then we can come together to agree even on such a loaded idea as miracles merely by finding a definition that will satisfy both camps. So long as these extra-scientific ideas such as consciousness and morality fall outside the realm of science and squarely within the region of what is important to humanity, the apparent dichotomy between the two worlds will continue to seem to be real.

Findings like those in this poll can serve as stepping stones to the creation of bridges that can ultimately lead to mutual respect and sharing of insights that will propel humanity into the next stage of our spiritual evolution.

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