Science as an evangelistic tool

Rather like the one that forever posits mind apart from matter.

Is that an assumption or a reasoned position?

I’d say both are on similarly shaky ground. A couple of glass houses.

Fun answers to an “either/or” question are: (a) Yes, (b) No, or “Both”.

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It’s the only possible rational and incidentally the simplest assumption. Not God-done-it until we can prove He didn’t. Like He didn’t leave any trace at all, apart from that ‘lack’, in 99.9…% of reality.

What’s the universe got to do with eternity?

Which is obvious how?

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As an atheist, I would agree with Dawkins that the fine tuning argument is one of the better arguments for God. However, being better does not make it convincing to the skeptic. IMO, the best answer to where the universe came from is “I don’t know”. We simply don’t know how many universes there are, how they form, or how different they can be.

What I think evangelism should shy away from is a God of the Gaps approach. Equating God with ignorance does everyone a disservice, IMHO.

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By simple induction we know that there have been infinite and that there are infinite. Head lurching isn’t it? We have a fag packet on how they form. I very much doubt they can be different in the slightest. Not in terms of c, G, h, mu and epsilon zero and whatever the sixth we-can’t-explain-it-so-God-done-it constant is. The charge on the electron? Its ‘mass’? (Which I imagine are related, so are one thing really.).

God is humble and instantiates what would otherwise be of itself. He leaves no trace whatsoever. But the first 50 years of the Church, maybe.

At first, I was attracted by the notion of using science as a tool in evangelism. Then as I thought about it further, it seemed like a betrayal of both science and the Christian Faith. That needs further clarification, so here I go.

Science must proceed in a way that is led by the evidence. This evidence leads to theories which look backward to interpret past data, and look forward, to predict and thus be tested. Science has a hard enough time because established theories take on emotional investment. Despite the common view that science is an objective procedure, one needs look no further than dialogue between many scientists involving vitriol and obstruction, cherry-picking of data, dubious statistical manipulation, and so forth. As much as they would like to be otherwise, scientists are human beings who are as affected emotionally as much as they are rationally. Egos get invested in theories and rivalry leads to concealment of data. If certain theories of science are manipulated as a tool for evangelism, yet another layer of sticky glue is added to scientific methodology which is unlikely to assist in the search for truth. What will happen when new data presents a challenge to the scientific theories you have been using as evangelistic tools? Will you be found resisting new science because it does not suit your evangelistic goals? My response to this is, leave science to be science.

I have no interest in discussing “science and religion”. “Religion” is simply a miscellaneous category into which all sorts of value systems and beliefs and philosophies are flung. Religion does not exist as an entity. Religion does not have an AGM where policies and beliefs are defined. Particular religions do, but “religion” as such does not. Discussion of science and religion is most commonly used as a way of broadening out arguments by atheists when their criticism of Christianity is obviously wrong.

Let’s make it, “science and Christianity”, and keep things on that path. Unfortunately, when we think of Christianity and science today, we tend to think of two things as being in opposition. That is a clear sign that we have fallen victim to the propaganda of others. The best solution is to go back to the beginning and see where pitfalls have arisen along the way.

Christianity is a belief in God the Creator and God the Redeemer. The roles are so close that redemption can be described as a new creation. If we truly believe that God is the Creator of the material universe, then Nature is a book written by the finger of God. To explore Nature is to explore the mind of God. Christians see the Scriptures as a way in which God addresses humans for the sake of their redemption. From the very earliest times in Christian history, Nature and the Scriptures have been known as “God’s Two Books”. If you did not know this, then it is worth asking why. Has your church failed you, by failing to instruct you about your Christian heritage? In historical, mainstream Christianity, science is not an option, it is an obligation. There is a reason that for more than two millennia, Christians have led the advance of science.

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I think that is where the opening article was coming from. Rather than having science being something presented as contrary to faith, it can be an introduction to this idea of being a book written by God, and that can lead into a deeper discussion.
In some ways, you have to be a Deist before you can be a Christian.

At he very least, a Deist. Otherwise, I’d be left wondering how a fellow resurrected himself, visited some friends, and lifted himself up into a cloud in which he disappeared.

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Amen. Waving around simplistic solutions to currently unanswerable questions isn’t convincing.

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I find science as a beneficial evangelical tool, just like I find horror as a fantastic evangelical tool and none of it has anything to do with proving God exists but proving that there is more to Christianity than what you might see on Fox News and the typical Christian channel televangelist.

Science is beneficial in that by showing that I basically accept all of the typical scientific consensus that they don’t have to ignore or misrepresent all the facts in the world just to have faith. Many agree that Yahweh is a god of love and compassion. People with a softened heart are more likely to be open to god than someone with a heart of stone. Nature , hiking, wildlife and ect gives purpose to a lot of people. It makes them feel like they are contributing to the world. I’ve used a insect caught in a spider web as the starting point to bring up how if we are not careful, sin will get us trapped and sin will often call unwanted attention to our lives and it will destroy us.

So while I don’t believe science is a tool that can prove God exists, I believe it’s a tool that can be used to showcase the fruit of the spirit, give hope and wonder and draw someone into friendship with a believer.

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Interesting reference to the existence of time. It seems likely we will never know (ooh, another time word ; - ), considering that time had a beginning. Maybe the Goddidit answer is appropriate, especially given certain other evidences. I doubt if the manifold numbers of believing scientists would call that waving around a simplistic solution, speaking of slurs. You need to be better, Mark.

And speaking of believing scientists (his day job is as an elementary particle physicist), and science as an evangelistic tool, this is for those who haven’t seen it before (and there is nothing forbidding those who have to read it to the end again ; - ). It’s kind of cool:

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The problem I have with looking at science in that kind of way is that it reduces it to nothing more than a set of results curated by a high priesthood of scientists who expect to spoon-feed them to everyone else. As such, it sort of dumbs the subject down, and ultimately feeds distrust of science in general.

Instead, basic scientific literacy needs to focus on learning and teaching about the methods that science uses. To be sure, some of them are pretty esoteric (I wouldn’t expect everyone to be able to handle partial differential equations) and some of them do require hands-on access to the raw evidence, but there are a whole lot of useful techniques that we can all apply nonetheless. For example:

  • Checking your sources and making sure that they really say what they are being made out to say
  • Applying basic mathematics
  • Understanding basic laboratory techniques such as how error bars are calculated and what they signify
  • Understanding logical fallacies and cognitive biases
  • Knowing how to tell whether a conspiracy theory is plausible or not (e.g. too many people involved, too much expense for too little benefit)
  • Identifying potential significant conflicts of interest
  • Assessing whether an individual or organisation has a track record of making false or misleading claims

And so on and so forth. Many of these are questions that any intelligent person can ask, and teaching and training people how to ask them is what scientific literacy should really be all about.

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Talk about hand waving. “Simplistic solutions to unanswerable questions.” Last time I checked Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris all addressed the God arguments in their books. And guess what they got it wrong. Sure the argument from design is compelling and so is the argument from suffering. My professor from university, Paul Draper, took these two arguments and made an argument for agnosticism. Who would call that simplistic?

It’s the ontological and cosmological argument that must be swept under the rug and as I said - Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris got it wrong.

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Checking him out, it seems he coined the term skeptical theism. Good for him.

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Yeah, I haven’t looked him up in a while. He has a 2019 paper where he has coined the term ‘panpyschotheism’ (all-minds-[are]-God-ism).

“These implications can be summed up as follows: even if the future of religion is naturalistic, it is still reasonable to hope that there is a God who, by making a significant form of life after death possible, saves us from death without being blameworthy for our needing to be saved.”

I don’t know about other minds, but mine takes absolute, ultimate, and unquestionable delight in the triune God… in more ways than one. He is too good not to be true.

Who knows, maybe Draper came around on the cosmological argument after I said to him that one may only add to an infinite set at the beginning of it.

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And we have other evidence.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another"

The name of God on our lips is powerful evidence when this happens.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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