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Faith as a science?

19 Jun

James D. MaxonI think one of the biggest mistakes Christians have made is to treat faith like a science. I’m not talking about the long exhausted debate between evolution and creation. I’m talking about the roots of science, which say that if “this” happens then “that” results; cause and effect. If I apply pressure on a door it will open. However, if you tell a person such-and-such and expect a certain result, this will not necessarily be the case. People are not objects of absolutes. We are all different in many ways.

Proverbs says, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.” And in the next verse, “Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.” So which is it? Is the Bible contradictory? By no means. What this is saying is that both are correct, it is the circumstances that are different.

Situations in life are not as black and white as science. They require wisdom, insight, understanding and compassion, but most of all they require the direction of the Spirit.

I believe God designed it this way deliberately so that man cannot boast about his own cleverness or behave as if he is the one who is in control. As Simon the Sorcerer nearly found out the hard way, mankind cannot force the Spirit to do their personal bidding. It is more than an insult to the being that created all things.

Christians who apply the teachings of Christ as a science–one which applies to all mankind and at all times–are misunderstanding the purpose behind the cause, and perhaps to an ever greater degree, the effect.

Unlike Christ we do not have the ability to look into each person’s heart. He was able to meet everyone where they were at, and tell them what they needed to hear. Be careful about repeating His words to someone they were not meant for, and without truly understanding the circumstances, as you can end up doing more harm than good.

We are to blame for coming across as judgmental and hypritical when we demand the world to live up to our misguided expectations. So often we act as if all is perfect on the outside, when the truth is that we are all struggling through issues of our own. We have become so known for what we are against that we have destroyed any chance of sharing what we are for. People just want something real and are sick of all the lies. When they see Christians they often see another lie, but we are robbing them of something more real and tangible than anything they could ever experience.

Faith is not a science that always behaves and performs how you think it should. Rather than throw a book in the face of your brother or sister, take the time to get to know him or her. If we actually start listening to people’s hearts, really listening, then maybe, just maybe we can reach them in a way that really matters.

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3 Comments

Posted by on June 19, 2009 in Biblical Topics

 

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3 responses to “Faith as a science?

  1. Will Hadcroft

    July 12, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    It depends what you mean by “science.”

    Faith is as reliable as whatever it is founded on. If the foundation isn’t solid, then neither is the faith based upon it. The unchanging physical laws of the universe are dependable, so one can predict how things will go with accuracy. Regrettably, though, people are not as dependable. So sometimes we apply Bible principles and they don’t work out – not because of the principles – but because of the person we’re applying them to.

    Faith can be a problem if it is based on a false premise. The apostle Paul wrote: “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge.” (Romans 10:2) Sometimes faith lets us down because we are trusting in something that isn’t really sound.

    Another interesting aspect is the Bible’s definition of faith. Most people define it as “believing in something for which there is no proof.” But that’s not how the Bible defines it. Hebrews 11:1 says: “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.”

    So true faith is based on evidence. For example, there is design and order evident in the natural world. This gives us faith in the idea of a Creator God. There is wisdom and a depth of understanding in the Bible (not to mention historical accuracy and prophecies that have come true bang on time) that suggest it is the product of the same God.

    In these ways, I think faith can be likened to science.

     
  2. James D. Maxon

    July 13, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Good points and I totally agree. I guess the definition of Science that I was going for here was “cause and effect” rather than “evidence.”

    I was perhaps a little too “all over the place” in the article because I was looking for brevity, but my main goal was to point out that Christians should not take everything mentioned in the Bible as applicable to everybody and all situations. As in, “I do this, then that happens” when the complexities of human beings are not as black and white as the chemical properties of a rock.

    In other words, it’s a commentary about anti-legalism.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

     
  3. Will Hadcroft

    July 15, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    I can certainly agree on the “Cause and Effect” problem.

    For example, Jesus said we should treat others as we would have them treat us. On the surface, this would seem to suggest that others would respect us for it. In my experience, this is not always the case! Sometimes I say things to people, thinking “Well it wouldn’t offend me,” and then find to my horror that they ARE offended. It’s not because the scripture is wrong – it’s because people are different.

    I guess the principle of what Jesus was saying is “Treat others as you would want to be treated, and they will be more likely to recipricate.”

     

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