I laughed when Ron related the incident to me.
Before I tell you about it, let me remind you that as a dedicated Christian, I worked in the scientific community for more than 21 years. I respect and admire many of those with whom I worked even though we disagreed on several important issues.
As we enjoyed many discussions, we didn't attempt to brow-beat or force each other to change our world-views, but neither did we soft-pedal our convictions. Rather, we presented our views, supported them with facts -- or at least what we considered to be facts -- used the opposing views to test our own beliefs, and resumed working together as friends. Or in some cases, at least as good acquaintances.
Some of my friends considered themselves atheists, some agnostics, yet many in the scientific community were Christians -- followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. In our experience, there was no such thing as a division between scientists and Christians; that's a hollow and an erroneous separation. The division was between believers in Christ and non-believers.
I should add a clarifying note here. In the myriad of discussions I heard in the scientific laboratory, many Christians didn't understand their own beliefs very well, but neither did many scientists fully understand their own scientific theories. To use the reference regarding the old flintlock rifles: many people on both sides of the discussions went off half-cocked. Nevertheless, the Christians often got the worst end of the deal because they wouldn't take time to read up on and understand the religious beliefs of other people.
I didn't make that mistake, and I enjoyed my relationship with my non-Christian, even atheistic, friends.
Religious beliefs of non-Christians? Yes. Even atheism is based on religious beliefs. We don't have time to delve into it today, but I'll say this: The Christian believes Jesus Christ is God, and the atheist believes Jesus is not God. Both are convictions, both are religious in nature. However, although some scientists and some Christians may not adequately understand their own world-views, there is no conflict between real science and true Christianity.
Now, I'll relate the comment made to Ron, my son.
Also a dedicated Christian, Ron was in discussion with a man who called himself an agnostic. The man was attempting to scientifically brow-beat Ron into submission. But Ron is, also, well-read on other belief systems, and simply asked questions that revealed discrepancies in the man's argument. The agnostic's temperature was slowly rising because he couldn't punch any holes through Ron's Bible-based world-view.
Finally, in exasperation, the man yelled, "I can talk religion, but you Christians need to stay out of science!"
I laughed about that for five basic reasons. 1) The man didn't understand or couldn't support his own belief system. 2) While claiming that he could "talk religion" he was obviously ignorant of Christianity. 3) In ordering Christians to stay out of science, he revealed his ignorance of science. 4) He is ignorant of history -- including history of scientific endeavors. And 5) That's not a proper way to debate or win an argument.
The sad thing is, the man's prejudicial statement proclaimed that all Christians are ignorant of life. History declares that man to be wrong.
What is science? The word means knowledge. So, a scientist is in search of knowledge in his chosen field. What is Christianity? It's a belief system based on the fact that Jesus, the Christ, is God Who came to earth to redeem humanity from eternal destruction. So, what is a Christian? A Christian is a disciple of Jesus Christ, is also in search of truth, and uses the Bible as a source of truth.
The following is a short list of dedicated scientists who were or are Christians: Sir Francis Bacon, George Washington Carver, Nicolaus Copernicus, Michael Faraday, James Maxwell, Sir Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, Galileo Galilei, Hugh Ross, John Baumgardner, Robin Rylaarsdam, Roseanne Sension, Kristine Johnson; and I can name hundreds more. They are Christians who got into science, and a little research reveals how the world has gained from their work.
Today starts a brand-new year -- Jan. 1, 2020. Let's look forward with 2020 vision. With 2020 vision, let's present Jesus Christ to people this year. Don't let anyone intimidate you because of your faith in Christ, and don't you be pushy or abrasive. But present the Gospel -- the Good News of Jesus -- simply and clearly. Let people see Christ in you.
Happy New Year.
-- Gene Linzey is a speaker, author and mentor. Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.Religion on 01/01/2020
Print Headline: The Agnostic and the Pastor