Religion versus science — one of the biggest showdowns of our time! Actually, many religious people are scientists, and vice versa. Yet, popular atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Ricky Gervais, Sam Harris, and Bill Maher shine a spotlight on the supposed conflict between faith and reason.
For many atheists, science can ultimately explain everything. If given enough time, we’ll see all of reality through the lens of a test tube.
But do atheists really want science to be the ultimate explanation for everything? Here’s why they need to be careful what they wish for.
Atheists depend on faith sometimes.
As much as they boast about being people of evidence, atheists constantly make acts of faith in their lives. We simply can’t verify everything we come across each day. Some former atheists have even mentioned that there were times when their atheistic beliefs seemed unlikely, and they had to make an act of faith to continue being atheists!
Reason makes us human. Trust makes us even more human. The best human relationships are those where the two parties don’t need to constantly verify each other’s trustworthiness.
As Pope St. John Paul II says in “Fides et Ratio”:
“In believing, we entrust ourselves to the knowledge acquired by other people. This suggests an important tension. On the one hand, the knowledge acquired through belief can seem an imperfect form of knowledge, to be perfected gradually through personal accumulation of evidence; on the other hand, belief is often humanly richer than mere evidence, because it involves an interpersonal relationship and brings into play not only a person’s capacity to know but also the deeper capacity to entrust oneself to others, to enter into a relationship with them which is intimate and enduring.”
If God exists, should it be any different with our relationship with Him? He does give us evidence of His existence, but to deepen our relationship with Him, He eventually requires a leap of faith.
It takes a lot more faith to think that something came out of nothing than that God created the universe.
Many atheists have heard this argument and probably roll their eyes at it. But it’s true! In our human experience, we always see being coming from being. We never observe something coming from nothing.
Now, sometimes you’ll hear atheists try to describe what the nothingness before the beginning of the universe was like. Richard Dawkins tried this in his debate with the late Cardinal George Pell. Problem is, as soon as you start to ascribe positive attributes to nothingness, then you are no longer talking about nothing, but something. Nothing is just that — nothing!
Atheists may want to reflect on their lived experiences and then compare them to their belief in the supremacy of science. They’ll realize that their lives would actually be impoverished if they took a scientific approach to everything. Faith opens new avenues in our minds and hearts!