June 17, 2009

Good Answer

In reference to my last blog, Matt said the following:

I think the distinction between religion-based faith and science-based faith is that when I believe in a scientific theory, I do so with full knowledge that it may (and probably will) be supplanted by a more complete theory in the future. This doesn't mean that it was wrong to believe in the theory in the first place. It can be viewed more as a stepping-stone on the way towards the real truth.

Maybe this is the point that you've been getting at the whole time in regards to religious faith. I think what Christ ultimately wants is for us to search for truth throughout our lives. We may not learn everything there is to know about this world, but the mere act of searching (within his guidelines) is what makes us better people. I believe that doing so will bring us farther ahead than those who thought they knew the whole truth from the beginning.

I love this idea and concur with it completely. It raises, however, an interesting view of religious faith. When Einstein delivered his General Theory of Relativity, did people of science throw up their hands and say, "Newton was an idiot. He deceived us."? Of course not. We still revere Sir Isaac for the classical physics he developed (which is still a pretty-darn good description of the world) but we understand that it misses a few ingredients.

Someday, we'll probably learn that there's another physical law--that elusive Theory of Everything--that will combine General Relativity with quantum mechanics. Will we then say, "Einstein was a bonehead. He led us down the wrong path"? No, we will still see him as a brilliant man, whose shoulders we've climbed upon to gain a view to higher ground.

Why can't people of religious faith do the same? Why can't we assume that there is more to learn regarding spiritual matters than what's written in the Bible? To believe it should serve the same purpose for me as it did for a people steeped in superstition who were living a hand-to-mouth existence, defies reason. I don't own an ox that might get stuck in the mud on the Sabbath. Though the Bible is a wonderful guide, we must use it as one of many guides that puts us on higher ground in order to deal with issues the Children of Israel must have thought highly improbable.

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