The Consequences of Dogmatic Faith in the Age of Science

 

I will go out on a limb and give voice to a nagging suspicion: that young Adventist students who take the science track in church schools are more likely to lose their faith than their non-science counterparts. This suspicion is anecdotal because I’m not aware of any studies that track this trend. But I suspect further that the losses are accretive with educational advancement.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11701
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Excellent! Nailed it on every point!

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At the risk of being placed in the box labeled “ANTI SCIENCE”, something needs to be pointed out here. Personally, I agree with 98% of what’s been said; however, since HRT was used as an example of responsible behaviour by science, it must be pointed out that for decades, anyone opposed to HRT would have been placed in the same category as the “anti-vaxers” are today.

Science must be lauded for doing the research and changing HRT recommendations, but it took a while. Covid vaccines were produced in a very big hurry. If something like HRT was allowed to be pushed so hard before tests revealed its risks, what about a vaccine that was developed in such a rush, and became part of a political tool. No wonder the older population was cautious, if not, suspicious, of all the mandates amid the confusion.

Science, itself, is the best medium through which the health industry must function, but science is not beyond manipulation - primarily through funding. What took science so long to clue into the carcinogen dangers of cigarette smoke… There, too, medical reports supported the industry until they no longer could keep it up for all the cancer deaths. To find the truth in these situations, just “follow the money”. Dogmatic faith in science can also be dangerous. It’s always good to “trust but verify”.

PS - To use the different rates of funerals between the young population of a college community, and the much older population of the village church isn’t really meaningful.

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In grade school science class, it was drilled into me that to be proven, one must be able to reproduce the results of an experiment. That is impossible with a singular event like the formation of the universe. Much of what is taught as solid science really belongs in the field of philosophy. This should be pointed out to budding young scientists.

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Interesting ! I look forwards to the replies coming !

Just a commentary on NEWSTART : The Divisions secretary for health etc., an elderly “faithful” ( I mean - strictly mainlie !) surgeon says, when asked by a humble elderly sister of our church about a treatment of Parkinson : “NO chemistry !” - So please, what else - (Oh yes, I know about auxiliary tetreatments - - ) - (dancing, for example, to improve the muscular functions) - - -

As a physician, not with se self - restriction of dealing only with the “Heathy - Happy - Holy” ones or the “Healthy -Wealthy - Young and Pretty” ones I am restricted to always rely to the state of science( ! ) and
experience, also when a case goes to court - - -

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Where is the Adventist scientific examination of Psalm 74, Psalm 89, Job 38, or Isaiah 51?

As the author of the exhortation To the Hebrews, this quarter’s subject of the SS lessons, well says: “By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God” (11: 3). There is no other way. Science will never be able to give us that understanding. Science is only concerned with the phenomenological word which can be observed by human senses. God is not an object in this world, as the formulaic account of Genesis 1 says. He spoke from somewhere in space, never entering the world he was creating. According to the author of To the Hebrews, another sophisticated theologian, faith is what open up the world in outer space, where God is, to human observation (11: 1-2). As long as faith expresses what it sees in the divine world, and science expresses what it sees in the phenomenological word, the two can co-exist peacefully and happy. Faith does not fight science. Faith transcends the limits of science. As long as Faith does not contradict science, seeking to explain the phenomenological world with “scientific authority,” and science does not claim that what it cannot explore does not exist, faith and science operate side by side with no conflicts at all. The war begins when science fails to admit its limits, and faith seek to expand its “authority” in science’s territory.

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In other words, science tells us WHAT happened; and faith tells us WHY.

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Though I have yet to meet my obviously very intelligent and well-read brother, Mr. Quartey, Mano a Mano, I’d love to, and think we’d have a pleasant, if not intense exchange. I have yet to read anything from him that I agree with; he seems to get it wrong, always, and just about as wrong as wrong could be. Which, surely, he would say about me, and why a personal meeting would be a fun experience.

I was, though, interested in his spin on Noah’s flood. I was expecting the usual local flood spiel, which as far as I can tell doesn’t solve any of the moral issues usually attributed to the flood story (God drowning a few thousand or a few hundred thousand, as opposed to the whole antediluvian world doesn’t, it seems, mitigate the issue at hand).

However, and this is the first I have see this approach, he seems to dismiss the flood story entirely; that is, if I a reading him correctly.

Which leads to my sincere question.

What, pray tell, are “the story’s implicit ethics” then? God tells us a make believe story about wiping out the whole fallen world, sparing only those on the boat, and we are to get some implicit ethical lesson from this?

I’d be fascinated to know what that ethic is. So, however much I’d love to talk about this with you in person, we will have to do it on here, instead,

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But this Genesis account, if taken literally as we’re asked to do, also presents a firmament cosmology with a sprawling solid dome, which God created on day two of creation week to divide the primal sea into upper and lower portions, allowing the dry land to come forth.

That literal premise also requires you to think that God had to literally rest from all the work he was doing.

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Happy Sabbath, Cliff.
I have no doubt that when we meet in person over some cool kosha drink to dialogue about God, much of our individual preconceptions about the other will melt away as we come to the realization that neither of us is the devil we previously imagined. So one of these days if your travels bring you to Berrien Springs, look me up. Still, you wound me (lol) by your assertion that you “are yet to read anything from [me] that [you] agree with.” Anything? Really? Not even the piece about “Jesus among Women?” As for being serially wrong, I can’t argue with you about that. I couldn’t bear the burden of being right all the time.

Now to your question about the ethic of Noah and the flood narrative. I hardly ever dismiss any biblical story, or any story for that matter. A story, once birthed exists forever and cannot be dismissed even if one wishes to. So you were reading me wrong in thinking I am dismissive of the flood story entirely. I am however suspicious of stories with dubious ethics that are instinctively assumed to originate from God because the narrator says so. I have discussed this concern in several of my articles so this should not be a surprise.

So I contest your premise, which I grant is a basic assumption in fundamentalist circles, that just because a story’s writer references God it goes without saying that God certainly, if not outrightly, dictated the narrative verbatim. Or almost.

As long as there is human agency involved in telling God’s story, I suspect we are guaranteed to get it wrong, many times over. And the test to the probity of any story attributed to God is the moral that story teaches and what Jesus would make of it. And we’re not left in the dark about this, because if the story’s ethics is contradicted by Jesus, then we almost have a moral duty to question it. I personally do not think that God is a sadist who delights in destroying his children who go wrong. Some call that justice, and that is fine if that picture of God resonates with them.

That is why I referenced the two episodes regarding Jesus’ attitude to calling fire to consume his distractors just as Elijah had done in a similar situation. And his refusal to encourage the stoning of the woman caught in the act. In both instances, history and example were on the side of those seeking the annihilation of the guilty. But he taught us differently. His actions and teachings dispelled the cloud of confusion abundant in the OT about God’s character.

You might believe God literally told “Moses” the Noah story and therefore we have to accept it as such. No questions asked. I don’t take the story literally because even apart from the morality of the near wiping out of humanity, the end result of the flood story delimits God, again if taken literally. In one generation, the remnant, Noah and his family, would, despite everything they experienced, revert to the mean and became as bad if not worse than the pre-Noahic dead. Which begs the question, “What was the point of the deluge and all that death? I think in such instances as this, we reduce God too much to our humanity, especially in our aberrant behavior.

So I don’t read that story in literal terms and therefore don’t see any moral grounding for us. Of course some see ethic as deterrence, but if so, seeing where we are in terms of what got the antediluvians obliterated, did it work?

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the technology used in the viral vector covid vaccines, like Astrazeneca and J&J, is standard vaccinology, and has been so for many, many yrs…and while the mRNA covid vaccines, like Pfizer (comirnaty) and Moderna (spikevax), are new, their technological platform has been many decades in the making, by hundreds of scientists all over the world…

the covid vaccines were made available rapidly simply because vaccinology has advanced to where it is now…all future vaccines will have this same turnover rate…gone are the days when the world will ever need to wait yrs and yrs for any new vaccine to be launched…it’s this point, among many, that the anti-vaxxers don’t comprehend…

what should also be pointed out, and generally isn’t, are the numerous unprovable premises that inform earth origin scientific theory, for example, which is almost never regarded as such…it’s one thing to be guided by medical science, which more often than not is supported by a long, painstaking history of demonstrable proof methods…it’s quite another to let any aspect of evolution piggy back onto this scientific platform uncritically…concepts like life evolving out of non-life, or order evolving out of disorder, are quite antithetical to basic science…

Hello Cliff,

Not sure if you’re aware, in the past year or so, especially, Dr. William Lane Craig has been pushing the mytho-history belief system as a plausible theory on how to best explain those early chapters of Genesis. Here’s a 2 min clip of Craig explaining what mytho-history is exactly, and where it came from. I myself do not believe in Craig’s theory - I’m more of an old universe, old earth, young-life believer myself. I thought you may find this interesting.

For something more in-depth he has a lecture which he did in July of 2020.

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Hello and happy sabbath. In the article and response you make the point that the flood story and Jesus’ teachings don’t align. However, Jesus taught that “as In the days of Noah people we’re eating and drinking etc until Noah entered the ark and the flood came and took them all away”. How do you reconcile this teaching of Jesus,(referencing the flood as a punishment from God and as an example of the condition of the world before He returns) with your idea that the flood and Jesus’ teaching’s don’t align?

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I confess to not having read Dr Brand’s contribution. However, here’s what I found in a recent book by him. What would be a reason to disagree with what he says regarding scientific assumptions?

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Tony

I read his book and wrote about it in the Review (Craig and Zacharias). It was I thought a painfully flawed attempt to harmonize evolution with Christianity. I had always so admired him; now, I have lost all interest in anything he has to say. His work will be I believe terribly damaging to Christianity.

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אחי

I will definitely look you up, though I rarely ever get up there.( Michigan is the only place in the world that consistently depresses me when there. I mean it. )

Re the Flood Story…may I suggest readers to take a look at the book, “The Lost World of the Flood” by authors Tremper Longman and John H. Walton. No it does not dismiss the flood story but…well, you will just have read it!

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The Bible is not a scientific book, it predates science. Science changes, the Bible does not.

Jesus himself states that there was a flood.
“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Matthew 24:38-39
Jesus himself gives the final interpretation of the story. Maybe this is the point we are all missing.

Jesus was a creationist. He kept the Sabbath. He does talk also about the creation story without giving away details: He did leave wriggle room for imagination. He did leave footnotes also.

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Matthew 19: 3-6.
What He points out from the story is still relevant.
It baffles me. Creation. The Flood. It would be easier if it were not written in black and white, in the New Testament at that. It is a test of faith. Perhaps it is easier to understand and have faith in the cross then faith in creation in 2022. Yet, to have faith in Recreation we need to have faith in Creation too.
Science is sweet but we do not need hard science to be saved. And thank God for that.
The problem with dogmatic faith is when we as a church want to define as undeniably true what truly is not. The scope of dogma is very narrow and it should be so. It’s difficult enough as it is so swallow.
We remember stories easily, but have we forgotten their meaning?
What is the point of hard science, when it comes to readiness, or ideal in relationships? The consequence of “dogmatic” faith to me is this, consistently missing the point. The notion of “present truth” has been coined. Dogmatic faith (wanting opinions to be truth) is deadly. Science is not needed to expose its fruits.

Cigarettes.
Alcohol.
Cocaine.
Pesticides.
Fossil fuels.
Eugenics.
Frontal lobotomies.
Slavery.
Etc, etc, etc.
So-called scientists and great thinkers (if not necessarily “good” ones) have, at various times, assured others that each of these is beneficial and safe.
The point being that dogmatic scientism (that is, the belief that science will one day have all the answers even though it cannot say today with exact precision where the next tornado will strike) can be as dangerous and unreliable as blind religious faith.
The logical “take away” from my perspective is to adopt an attitude of defiant skepticism in the face of “expert” opinion-whether religious, scientific, political, or otherwise-and confidentiality paraphrase Baron Munchausen, “No P hd’s!”:rofl: