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It's Different Here #10 - We Think Science and Reason are Cool.

By:
Carl Ruby

Some believe that to be part of a church, you must check your brain at the door. Such people perceive faith as anti-science and anti-reason. Our tagline is “Think.Believe.Act'' because we believe that careful thinking goes with strong faith.

Here, we encourage authenticity and honesty more than complete agreement. We don’t want people to fudge their beliefs. This often shows up when we explore how the universe began (more on that later). Some believe that God just spoke everything into existence not all that long ago, giving it the appearance of age. Others believe that God used a process of evolution that took billions of years. At Central, we have people in both of these camps, and we like it that way.

To get started, let’s list a few ways that people can discover what is true about God and the world.

  • Reading the Bible
  • Studying the example of Jesus
  • Listening to the Holy Spirit
  • Paying attention to the wisdom of others

At Central, we include two other ways of discovering truth. 

Reason

Some Christians have been taught that reason is the enemy.  We think that the ability to think deeply is a gift from God. At Central, we don’t demand that people believe unreasonable things; rather, we try to help discover how their faith aligns with reasonable beliefs.  We think it’s more reasonable to believe that God designed our world than to believe that it happened just by chance for no reason.

Science 

I grew up in churches and have worked at institutions that required the belief that the universe was created in 6 literal 24-hour days about 6,000 years ago. For many years, I never thought deeply about the science and reason behind this belief because believing differently would have excluded me from church or cost me my job. 

Here is a problem with that approach.  You can’t really require people to believe. You can only require them to agree with what they’ve been told to believe. Deep down, people either believe or they don’t. 

In churches or organizations that do this, three things happen. First, some people just avoid studying science or thinking deeply because they know that doing differently will get them kicked out of their tribe.  A second strategy is to stay quiet because being truthful will get you into trouble. And the third approach is to just flat-out lie, claiming to believe something that we really don’t. Evangelical churches and organizations, in particular, are filled with people who are bullied into lying about what they genuinely believe.

We believe that God is behind everything that is true. We view science as a valid way of discovering what is true about our world. When science and faith don’t line up, it’s not a sign that one or the other is wrong. Rather, it’s just an indication that we’ve misunderstood something on one side or the other. Sometimes, science will cause us to rethink our faith, and other times, our faith will prompt us to dig deeper into our science. Either way, learning is an adventure that we can embrace.

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