My friend, Pedro S. Silva, recently made an interesting point, which is that Science and Faith both begin from the same place. They both start with something that is invisible to the naked eye, approachable only through the functioning of the human mind.
In the case of science, all matter and energy begin with subatomic particles, mixtures of quarks and leptons in various configurations: interacting with each other at the behest of forces like gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force. And yet, none of these elementary particles are seen, heard, tasted or touched. Instead, we observe their effects on other things, or throw subatomic particles at each other at ridiculously high speeds to see what flies out when they collide.
And we see invisible things in other ways – using telescopes to see the universe as it was back in time, even up to shortly after the “Big Bang.” Or, assembling myriads of data observations to find patterns that have would otherwise be hidden, patterns which have meaning to us, such as global warming, or economic trends, or opinion polls. (…If you believe that opinion polls have meaning, which I often do not!)
Science is all about seeing the unseen, employing specific tools to help us see and appreciate things that were previously hidden from us. Science is a useful tool, one we cannot ignore (even though some try). Science helps us see clearly where seeing was not possible before.
Faith is no different: like Science, it also makes it possible to find meaning in the unseen.
Like Science, Faith also begins from an invisible place, a place that cannot be directly observed, a place that can be inferred only through its effects upon other things. Those of us who are people of Faith call that place “God.”
Just like Science, Faith employs various tools to better understand the mystery of that which is invisible to our senses. We read scriptures. We pray. We look within ourselves and listen carefully to the unspoken thoughts, feelings and currents we find there. We observe the world around us and find purpose and meaning in it.
Like Science, Faith sees a bigger pattern than can be discerned with the naked eye by beginning with those things that the naked eye cannot discern at all. And yet, Faith differs from Science in one crucial aspect. Science is about finding those patterns. It is about the How and the Where and the When of things. It is not about the Why of things. Faith is about the greater purpose and direction of existence as a whole, and our individual existence. Science focuses on the mechanics of that existence.
- Why am I here?
- Why am I, at all?
- What purpose is there to my life?
- What’s the point of life at all?
So, when I see folks dismiss the value Faith for whatever reason, such as because they believe that Science already tells us all about how the universe came to be; I am saddened, for they are not seeing the value of Faith in their lives. They are confusing Fact with Truth…
Science tells us how the Universe started with nothing and came to be what it is.
Faith tells us why.
Science tells us how the Human body functions, and how various aspects of our environment, or our genes, influence our behavior and the quality of our lives.
Faith tells us why life is worth living.
Science tells us of all the wavelengths of light that are to be found in a rainbow, and can even tell us the chemical composition of the source from which that light came.
Faith tells us the Rainbow is beautiful, and how it is a reflection of God’s love for us.
Science helps us understand the World around us.
Faith helps us find hope within it.
Science tells us What we are.
Faith tells us Who we are.
Copyright (c) 2014, Allen Vander Meulen III, all rights reserved. I’m happy to share my writings with you, as long as you are not seeking (or gaining) financial benefit for doing so, and as long as proper credit for my authorship is given (e.g., via a credit that gives my full name and/or provides a link back to this site).