The Science and Faith Debate

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The man and I watched Angels and Demons last night and the closing thought that lingered with us (or maybe me) was when Cardinal Strauss said this: “Religion is flawed, because man is flawed. Especially this one (pointing to himself).”

Anti-Christian advocates readily point out that religion is bigoted and intolerant. This argument comes largely from the premise of some Christians’ attempt to influence public value and politics through their belief system. And that seems just it. But the quote (above) rings true, and was beautiful persuaded by renowned historian, academic and former pastor John Dickson at the recently concluded Made Good conference organised by Ridley Melbourne. He argued that how Christians bring forth the message of Christ may be flawed (yes some bigoted, some intolerant, and others many other types of faults as capably executed by the flawed human heart), but that does not negate the truth in the message itself. Something worth thinking about. 

The other point that the movie raised was the age-old debate between church and science/rationality post-Enlightenment. It is an long-drawn yet still on-going argument. The Global Atheist Convention held in Melbourne this Easter was evident of the ‘side’ that many chose when it comes to the presence of God…or not. Reason and rationality based on science and empirical evidence stand above so-called superstitions and suspended rationality through faith.

As a minor point to the above debate but something I can relate to, being in Melbourne while most of my family is in Singapore make me very thankful for something which science gave birth to – technology. We have Skype, which defies time difference and spatial vastness, and allows us to stay in touch with people who are far away but dear to us. That is but just one of many. I hardly think we can ignore the benefits of science but like the flawed man, science is equally flawed in that while it can benefit man, it can also bring destruction. Think pollution as a good example.

Another evidence of the benefits of science is this. Growing up, watching nature documentaries with my dad have always been a great bonding time. After becoming a Christian in my adult years, I still enjoy it, and this time with fresh eyes. My dad just sent me a video today and I was amazed at how advanced technology has enabled cameras to the depth of focus that we can now achieve – far sharper than your 6/6 perfect vision.

 

Even the normally-detestable creepy crawlies look beautiful superup-close, with their technicoloured exo-skeletons. Birds and butterflies dance in slow motion, seemingly at play in the wind. I don’t know about you but what technology and science has done for me in this instance is to remove the everyday eyes that I use to observe a bug and a bird in nature, and bring me back to a place of awe. It is an awe that runs above between religion and science simply because life itself as a miracle hints of some level of supernatural AND intelligent design all at once.

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Love and Being Nice

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Even animals have conflicts.

There’s a bible study we did on Love recently that stuck in my head and in my heart for a bit. Thanks to the amazing ‘pong piah’ (loosely means ‘exploded biscuit’ in Hokkien) for leading it.

We looked at the context of 1 Corinthians 13, the famous chapter that supposedly speaks about love, and appears to define what love is.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is slow to anger. Love perseveres. Immediate catch phrases come to mind. And if there’s anything I mistakenly thought about what love means, it is to be nice.

Being too nice can a dangerous thing. In fact, it can be a dishonest thing. In a world that continues to scream ‘Make Love Not War’ even way past the hippie era when it started, conflict of any sort is frowned upon. I am tempted to live out my Christian life trying to be nice, say the right things, say the encouraging thing, be slightly firm in the wrong things but try to make it up with a whole lot of flowers, cupcakes, sugar and spice to make things all ‘good’ and ‘nice’ again. But if I just focus on having those wonderfully peaceful relationships, I’d be dishonest. Yet that being said, in times of conflict, there is a thin line to be drawn between applying tactfulness in firm loving gentleness and brash confrontations that tear the other person down.

So yes, excuse me while I learn what not trying to be nice looks like, and what loving someone means. After the study, and aided by further learning through a cool bible learning resource from the University of Notthingham (again, with thanks to the amazingpongpiah), it is apparent that Paul wasn’t trying to define love for us, but was trying to show the Corinths what they weren’t doing.

So what does love looks like then? If we’re tempted to ask that question, perhaps in practice, for me, it would be doing/saying something and desiring the other person to become more like Jesus.

HIS Name

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This is the song of my season, where the name of Jesus is above all names. His name is a name above all names created.

DY told me once from a sermon he attended where we humans have the need to name everything. Every illness has its name too, be it endometriosis or pneumonia. And HIS name stands above all that! 🙂 I hold on to that dearly. There is such power in His wondrous name!

Your Name

As morning dawns and evening fades
You inspire songs of praise
That rise from earth to touch Your heart and glorify Your Name

CHORUS
Your Name is a strong and mighty tower
Your Name is a shelter like no other
Your Name, let the nations sing it louder
‘Cause nothing has the power to save
But Your Name

Jesus, in Your Name we pray
Come and fill our hearts today
Lord, give us strength to live for You and glorify Your Name