Thursday, September 29, 2011

Can You Really Keep Your Religion Out of It?

I recently got a year’s subscription to Time Magazine with my expiring airline miles. I listen regularly to Albert Mohler’s The Briefing program and noticed he comments a lot on articles in Time, and I thought it appropriate to make a comment about current events once in a while too.

I read an article by Lisa Randall, a professor at Harvard University. She’s a little concerned about politicians (read: republicans) “invoking God and religion [more] than… presenting facts or numbers.” She cites examples of Rick Perry defending teaching creationism in school and praying for the end of a drought (rather than worrying about man-made climate change). These examples, she says, “[are] not so much a clash between religion and science as a fundamental disregard for rational and scientific thinking.”

I can certainly grant that Ms. Randall is right to point out that disregarding science and rational thought would a major mistake for anyone, politician or not. But her examples betray her bias. It seems that what Randall is most concerned about is not the disregard of science (can you really envision any politician—democrat or republican—who disbelieves the value of the scientific method or rational thought processes?). She’s more concerned about the influence of religion and religious views in politicians’ policy decisions and public life. Religion apparently is neither rational nor scientific to her.

I don’t intend to comment on the religious beliefs of Rick Perry or other politicians. The principle is what's important. Christians cannot really divorce faith from life. The gospel is so life-changing that one cannot withdraw those beliefs from public life without denying the faith. The Bible reveals things to us about the earth’s and our origins. It teaches us to rely on God (while obeying Him and living justly). If God really exists and He really does listen to our prayers, going to Him first during times of trial is not disregarding science. It's rational.

Lisa Randall, “How Science Can Lead the Way: What we lose when we put faith over logic.TIME Magazine, October 3, 2011.

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