Has Science Killed God?

a-little-hope

~ “When I was a kid back in the 1930’s and we would drive to church on Sunday morning, there wouldn’t be a car in front of any of the neighbor’s houses because everyone else was on their way to church as well. But now, well, on my way to church most Sundays I look at all the car’s parked in people’s driveways and…..” he began tearing up and didn’t finish his sentence.

That is an excerpt I had with a 82 year old minister. A few years later he died and I spoke at his funeral. I said nothing but positive things, I left out how sad he had become with American culture. I left out of my eulogy all of the sorrow he grappled with as he often confided in me,

Kenneth, I believe it’s my generation’s fault for what our country has become”.

Although he was a Christian minister, and he often looked at things from the angle of the ministry, he was also a retired school psychologist and had a lot of empathy for the poor and meek. On more occasions than I can count, I remember him tearing up has he would tell me stories about people who were hurting emotionally, and how he wished he could do more to help him. He was convinced that as the church had become more irrelevant to people’s lives, it had led to an overall breakdown in the moral and community fabric of America.

The world has changed quite a bit from when that minister was born in August 3rd, 1925. It was the month before his birth, in July of 1925 that John Scopes went on trial in Tennessee. Scopes was a teacher who had been charged with illegally teaching evolution in the classroom. Seems wild to think that it used to be illegal to teach evolution, but then again, I was born more than fifty years later! What would be eventually referred to as the “Scopes Monkey Trial” became a national phenomena, it is credited with being the single biggest moment in 20th century Americana when it came to bringing evolutionary science into the mainstream.

90 years later here we sit in an entirely new country,

—) Our country has lived through numerous wars in that time

—) The evolution of the television, and the Internet has given us a society that few could have imagined back in the Roaring Twenties.

—) The automobile was in its infancy in the 1920’s, it has now become engrained into every element of our culture; we build cities, houses, and communities based on the integration of the automobile into our everyday lives.

—) The cell phone which all of us carry in our pockets, and connects us to the entire world via the Internet, is a far cry from the old style phones of the early 20th century.

—) Women’s  suffrage led to monumental breakthroughs in women’s right to vote, and equal pay in the workforce 

Everything about our society has changed dramatically since 1925 and in many ways I often find it difficult to imagine what daily life was like back then. After all, what did people do after work each day without televisions and the Internet? Did they really sit out on the porch and talk to their neighbors all night?

While all of this new technology envelopes our every waking moment in the 21st century, it is possible that we might forget the significance of science in the 20th century; not merely in the awesome scientific discoveries when it comes to disease and invention, but in the way science changed so many of the cultural aspects of our society.

After all, it doesn’t take a nuclear physicist to notice that as the percentage of Americans who believe in evolutionary science increases, the number of Americans who attend church decrease <article>.

Has science replaced God?

It was German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who said, “God is dead” because humans killed him, and perhaps there is some measure of truth in Nietzsche’s thought if we connect the dots and realize that 21st century has all but killed God.

Is a belief in God and a belief in evolutionary science compatible? Some religious people believe they are; many Jews and Christians believe there are no contradictions in adhering to a belief in the divine alongside believing in evolutionary science. Yet many scientists, people like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking, would suggest that science and god are not compatible; that the two are mutually exclusive.

Whenever things get bad in a society, people tend to look for signs of hope;

—) Hope that tomorrow can get better

—) Hope that things will change

—) Hope in people who will help make things better

Many people look toward Providence and hope that the Divine will reach down and make things better; they “hope” that God will see them in their plight.

In a world rocked by science, a culture that has experienced earth shattering changes thanks in large part to technology and scientific innovation; is there any place left to have hope in God?

–) As extremist religious groups in the Middle East and Africa continue their purge of the land, is their any hope that the region will ever see peace?

–) In the Middle East, where women are more often than not, second class citizens, is there any hope that they will ever be treated equally?

–) In the United States, where depression and loneliness are fast becoming an epidemic, is there any hope that people will be spared lives of lonely desperation?

–) In Europe, where countries such as Greece and Spain are on the verge of economic and social collapse, is there any hope for stabilization?

In a world where Science has become an all encompassing force, engrained into the very fabric of our cultures, is there any hope that God is there, and he is not silent?

Many thoughts to ponder as I sip my coffee this morning,

Kenneth

p.s. thanks to Callie from Colorado for being on the *Live* show last night! We had a great time discussing community! Thanks to the many people who tuned in and all those who watched the video later in the night as well. Monday we will be back with an all new *LIVE* show.

Here’s last night’s show;



Categories: Science & Culture

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20 replies

  1. If God is dead it’s the church that killed him. If you put a contradictory message next to a verified fact-based massage most people will choose the one the one that’s proven to be the truth. You can absolutely believe in a higher power and also acknowledge that evolution is a real thing. The problem lies in how the church chose to handle the increase in scientific embrace they’d long been suppressing. Instead of offering their congregation the option to accept that the scientific findings had merit but didn’t mean that there was no longer a place for God they reacted from a place of fear and self-preservation. A place of insecurity, if you will, that only caused many people to start questioning everything they’d been told by the church. If the church really believed in their own message they shouldn’t have had any issues with science. They should’ve been focused on helping the less fortunate and encouraging people to lead respectful and morally inclined lives where family was important and honesty encouraged. Except, they didn’t do that. They started building mega churches and using flashy tactics and fear mongering to try and rebuild their dwindling memberships. How many stories about alter boys have we heard on the news? How many stories about pastors taking off with the collection money? The church didn’t need science to kill God, they were doing a fine job of it on their own the minute they stopped practicing what they preached. It just took science to help people see just how much deception the church had been pulling over on them all those years. The message of Christianity is a valuable one, as with most religions, but what good does it do if no one is actually following it?

  2. I think it has killed some Gods. But not the Christian one. The God of certain Christian Fundamentalists likes to fight science. But when we look at Christianity as a whole science doesn’t seem to be the issue. In any case, fundamentalists, and the atheists who argue with them, make allot more noise than their numbers justify.

  3. Science proves God’s complex designs. There are those who are too puffed up to insert their own theories into science. Science is actually a discovery through experimentations.

  4. God is not dead.

    The hope many of us are seeking is God WITHIN us waiting for us to enact the changes we seek. I am of the God and science camp. I believe science gives us a bit of insight into the mysteries of God. I don’t believe man will ever learn all there is to know about science anymore than I believe our limited minds could fully comprehend all there is to know about God.

    God gives us choices. Many of us are not choosing Him. I think the lack of fear and reverence of God has allowed society to devolve. That love for neighbor is no longer a fundamental belief taught to the next generation and it shows. There is a lack of community associated with church that once generated face to face interaction and connectivity with people.

    I think the cultural role of church in Western society has drifted away from what God intended. We now have to make an effort to go to “church” whereas in decades past I believed the church overflowed into the community.

    You made some great points this morning. I good read as I finished my coffee 😉

  5. Richard Dawkins’ or Stephen Hawking’s view of God and science may be mutually exclusive but not science and God itself. And who’s suppressing the truth here? They, of all people, should know better. What people reject about God is a caricature of Him, not who He really is. Our “go to church on Sunday morning” culture may have changed, for better or worse, but not the desire to know God. People may reject what they have seen as “church” but not God. But we are in a time of great transition. I believe science and faith are actually converging. Astrophysicists like Dr. Hugh Ross and help us understand this compatibility. Things like dark matter were talked about in the oldest book of the Bible, yet we’re just beginning to understand it. What has to change is old mindsets on both sides, too many straw man arguments on both sides stuck in the 19th century. Western rationalism may become incompatible, whether it be with the spooky quantum world or the world of faith. We may find that science and God are totally compatible, if we will lay down our preconceived biases, old interpretations of what we think God is like, and our unwillingness to actually see God’s work in the universe.

  6. I know I will sound like the “crazy” one here…the outcast who by some seems to be living in the dark ages…
    But I hate the advancement in technology. And I can even say that as I type from my keyboard…on the computer.
    Cell phones….it is now the norm to have that cell phone attached to us…it seems to make us bleed inside when we are at a separated state from it. And even in the ability to have that cell phone we still screen calls and keep people at a distance. We use the phone with its bells and whistles to create bells and whistles in us..we be the drama wanters and creators..we keep everyone at a distance…and much longer than arms length…and thus we keep all those things we need to deal with…far far away…when all these distractions were not present we had to deal with things. You could not ignore them..and we did not send coded messages to each other in hopes they would grasp our sickness.
    I have so many friends that cannot look or say over the phone to anyone…hey I love you…or tell them something from their heart. It is always in a text..or some damn email…and what we need right now..is love..and to speak the truth…so we can stop parading ourselves around as doing so well…and really we are sick and rotting away…and we beat the crap out of anyone who tells us something outside of our plastic world…the world of addicts and drunks..who text hearts and smiles..through the airways..instead of saying …”hey daddy…can you stop drinking…because I am afraid to get in the car with you and be part of you killing yourself and most likely another person….”
    How scary we have become that we cannot speak…touch…pay attention…without some device to numb us to everyone else…and we are never satisfied..we always get the latest and greatest…and how we get it is through our death..our destruction of our spirit…
    Because tell me something…and I will admit I am pissed…and that is so nice for what I feel right now…
    Tell me…when was the last time…we sat with anyone and talked..? Or held a door for someone or saw another hold the door for us…or had a conversation where you looked at another…or said thank you…not for the cute text of I love you…with a smiley face…but a thank you…for…holding the door..merging in traffic…looking at me in the eyes when we talked…saying thank you to the person working in the cafe who poured your coffee or made your food…or the spouse or friend who cooked your food..went for the thing you like…when was the last time you saw that picture…and saw the pretty color…you know the one sitting behind the 50inch television..that you just customized with a stereo system befitting of a coliseum…
    When was the last time…you thanked another…paid attention to the life they bring onto you…the color the beauty…rather than crank on them…because they are interrupting your text mania…
    Tell me…when was the last time..you were not a monster…

  7. I think that Religion (and to qualify, I am religious) MUST reckon with the facts that science has demonstrated about our world. American Christianity has been something of a poster child for what can go wrong with religion. At the turn of the twentieth century, there was a surge in religious fervor that was capitalized upon by what I would characterize as snake oil salesman. The product of this period was a religious fundamentalism that has been accepted all the way up to the Presidents of our great country. This phenomenon has led to

    • Characters like Pat Robertson presuming to speak on behalf of God.
    • People speak familiarly of Gods intentions, plans, preferences, and so on.
    • Armageddon is predicted regularly.
    • Corruption and justification of sinfulness are found in twisted interpretations of the Bible. God wants you to be prosperous! God wants your preacher to own 3 cars.
    • Religion has typically stood in the way of social progress. Scripture has been quoted from the pulpit to justify racism, sexism, homosexuality, banning intermarriage, so on and so forth.
    • Religion has consistently stood in opposition to science (from Galileo to the Scopes trial you sited)

    But this phenomenon isn’t restricted to Christianity. I’m Buddhist and we have our own demons; corruption, sexual predators, and hate mongers all live within the fold. The institution of religion is one of society’s most efficient incubators for death, destruction, and darkness. This is quite a contrast to the hope that people look for when turning to a faith tradition. Richard Dawkins and his pack of friends don’t have to work very hard to develop a cogent and appealing argument for anti-theism.

    That’s why the story of your friend is so sad. There are decent people, strongly dedicated to carrying out the message of wisdom and love that Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, all proclaimed. These people find a home and support in the temple, church, and mosque. In this way religion offers hope and great promise. But the church also harbors and abets the demons, hate mongers, and criminals.

    People have two choices when it comes to dealing with the problems associated with religion in the US. They can stand up and fight within the church. Or they can vote with their feet. Your friend witnessed the latter.

    Perhaps the nobler cause would be the former – taking up the fight. But its hard work and the institutions of religion are designed to repel such reform. The charges of heresy and blasphemy await those willing to take on this mantle. To enter the door of faith we’re conditioned to lower our guard and suspend disbelief in ideas that would otherwise be considered contradictory to what we know is true about the world. Religion can have the effect of intellectually disarming us.

    Now despite my tone, I do believe there is some mystery to be explored here. I feel strongly that religious exploration is worth the effort. But ignorance is not a viable path in this endeavor. The world is what it is, whether it was created by God or not. Through our curiosity we have discovered that buried within the inner workings of the universe lay clues to its origin. The most effective tool in the history of mankind to do this work has been the scientific method, not religion.

    However, religion harbors some wonderful and important questions. But until the current collection of faith traditions get out of their own way, they are going the end up like Atenism, Mithraism, and Tengriism (religions that are now extinct).

    I see a future where a collaboration of science and seekers of the divine will produce a much deeper and richer religious experience. In fact there are many who have probably enjoyed this experience already. My hope is that religion would not stand in our way.

  8. You asked the question “Has science killed God?” The answer is no. 😄

  9. Yeah, “killing God?” Ha! Good luck with that one. (Next, they can try to do away with Reality.) But I think they might be able to eradicate Him from normal social conversation through ostracism. Everything is compatible in God. Science is ABOUT incompatibilities. How could those atheists have any other opinion? Science, in its nature, is quite totalitarian.

  10. I wouldn’t say that god could be killed because that assumes that there ever was a god to kill. What I think happened is that people started NOTICING that the world was run by natural laws but that it does not appear to have been planned. I take the differences in religions as evidence that there is no divine force guiding them.

    Beliefs are still powerful even when the things believed in are false. Children may try to be “good” so that Santa will give them presents, but they will most likely figure out the lie eventually.

  11. Kenneth, thanks for this intelligent post. Any time we can think about this, we come closer in our relationship to God. I agree with a couple of those commenting: science can absolutely prove God exists, and therefore are not mutually exclusive.I think the fear of the far right, evangelical biblical literalists went a long way to turn people not only away from church but away from God. I believe God was wounded by them, but far from dead.

    Thanks to an emerging population who love Jesus and seek to follow him (rather than man-made rules, regulations and dogma), healing is occurring; people are beginning to see the truth about the gift of grace.

  12. Had thought of re-blogging this, my Dear Ken! But had quite a lot of thoughts, and, as WordPress suggests, am making mine a separate post, giving reference to Yours. https://specificallychristian.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/science-and-god/ …Hearty Regards.

  13. Is God so weak that he can be killed by knowledge? Is the fundamental success of religion based on the need to have an unthinking people? Maybe that is the irony of the Adam and Eve story, that they ate ‘from the tree of knowledge’ and ‘there eyes were open’, maybe it was that they became free thinking individuals and that did not suit the agenda, and therefore were kicked out of the garden.

    • We often get up in arms about the implications of religion, specifically “what were they thinking” or “religion is a vehicle for power” or “the religious are scheming to harm the human race”. While religion does harm and it does serve those in power, I think we should apply Hanlon’s Razor to the situation i.e. do not attribute to malice what can be explained by simple human stupidity!

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