First Time I've Written More Than A Paragraph In Months

I was asked the following question on a Facebook thread:  

Why do you think about your faith, religious conviction, or whatever term you like, differently than you think about anything else, science in particular, especially when your religious beliefs supersede if not dictate what you will and will not accept from scientific inquiry? I am genuinely interested in your answer.

The following is my response:

Okay, Tom -- because you asked  :) First,  you bring up a good point.  Critical analysis is important in any area of belief (I do use the word  belief interchangeably for science and faith, but realize some people do not -- as referenced in my previous comment).  Appropriate means of analysis is dictated by qualities inherent in a field of study.  For example, public health literature relies heavily on observational data, while clinical medicine most strongly emphasizes randomized trials (I am sure you know this, but I provide this illustration as a lead in to my argument).  Is one better than the other?  In different ways, each is better.  Observational data is useful when randomization is not possible, but is prone to bias.  Randomization is better for reducing the effects of potential confounding factors on conclusions, but is costly (in terms of time and resources) and not always possible. 

Similarly, I see the evaluation of philosophical and scientific concepts as requiring disparate means of analysis.  Not because one is necessarily more important than the other, but because the "data" available for each are fundamentally different and lend themselves to unique means of study. 

To answer a question you didn't ask, but I believe is central to my perspective: I am a Christian because the "story" of the Bible is compelling, illustrating how God has demonstrated incredible love towards me and all humankind.   My limited dabbling in Apologetics and Scientific Inquiry (limited despite years in church and a BS, BA, MD and pending MPH, because my knowledge just barely brushes up against the vast phenomena that can be uncovered regarding faith and science) has revealed individuals far more intelligent and educated than me have devoted their lives to the study of these topics.   I recently read an article by Ravi Zacharias (one of my favorite apologists) addressing some of the limits of human reason to accurately assess all fields of inquiry (science, religion, etc): 

As he points out, there is a certain limit to currently available knowledge.  Our brains are finite.  I am comfortable exploring the incredible characteristic of life (including biology and medicine) while remaining solidly convinced that some mystery will always remain.  You will assert that the previous sentence illustrates my faith superseding my reason, and you will be correct.  Reason is important, but is limited because I (as a human) am limited.  Faith is as strong as the object on which it is placed.  This is not to suggest we should disregard reason, since it is a God-given capacity.  To date, I have not found any conclusive evidence that a theory of origin better explains the history of the world or the uniqueness of our species than a loving God who created it and us.  And conversations with individuals of different persuasions (such as yourself) are necessary to keep me from ignorant acceptance of my previously established beliefs.


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