Science, logic and geeks are going mainstream and it’s killing the church. More precisely, the Church’s long-standing aversion to science and logic is being highlighted and underscored as more people embrace geek culture in entertainment.
Of course, the resistance to science and logic is understandable, right? Facts and beliefs can be such strange bedfellows. In far too many minds, science and logic challenge faith and belief. So, ironically, it’s logical for an institution founded so heavily in faith and belief to stand over and against science and logic.
I mean, we can’t have doubt can we? Not in the Church. Right? Forget about various Psalms and such. Doubt would be the end to faith, right?
I, for one, believe the opposite is true. The Church’s fear of science and logic and geeks (oh, my!) and the doubt they might cause is much more likely to be the end of faith for many. Honestly, it already has been.
From political satire by the likes of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver, which use logic to lampoon the intentionally misleading presentations of far too many news sources, to the much applauded success of a television show about geeks (The Big Bang Theory), mainstream culture is embracing things that are dripping with science, logic and general geekiness. Personally, I love it. Churches? Well, in general, not so much.
As a matter of fact, far too many Christian churches seem to be poo-pooing it all.
While he doesn’t necessarily represent all of Christianity, or even a majority, Ken Ham’s debate with Bill Nye was a good example of the crux of the problem. Ham’s argument constantly circled back to him saying “there’s a book (the Bible)” that tells me it’s true. Nye, in turn, talked facts and empirical evidence.
Now, it turns out that 42% of Americans still have a creationist view of the origins of humanity. Let that just sink in a minute. There are 42% of Americans who are willing to let facts that can be proven true through empirical evidence be outweighed by a book that they believe to be true because the book itself, in their minds, tells them it is true. Don’t even get me started on the fact that it isn’t a science book nor does it purport to be one.
I’m an ordained minister and that kind of thinking makes me want to ball up into the fetal position in a corner and rock myself to sleep. I can just barely imagine what it does to folks who already have questions about the church.
The Church has an image problem. It’s something we’ve earned. It’s something we deserve. The truth is that evangelical, fundamentalist and mainline Christian churches have long poo-pooed science. For that matter, some of the most significant “challenges” to science have historically come from organized religion. And, I’m beginning to wonder if the majority of the Church will ever be able to outgrow it.
When the re-boot of Cosmos staring Neil deGrasse Tyson (the modern day answer to Carl Sagan) opens with 8.5 million viewers and four of the top five movies so far this year are firmly rooted in things geeky, it’s time for the Church to take off its rose colored glasses when it comes to reading the Bible and replace them with a pair of black horn rims that are taped together in the middle. It is well past time for the Church to get it’s geek on.
Why? Because this is not a debate. Debating empirical evidence using your personal belief is like skydiving using a fishing net for a parachute. It’s not going to work and you look ridiculous doing it – and, ultimately, you’re not going to like how it ends. When you look at where most of society is willing to invest its time and money, it’s abundantly clear that we are beginning to understand that science and logic and geeks should be valued rather than marginalized and even villainized as the Church has been prone to do.
In Proverbs we learn that Wisdom is the thing in which God delights daily. Maybe it’s time for more of the people of God to do the same thing.