Yesterday at Mount Olive College, a forum was held entitled “How to reconcile Christianity and Religion.” What a hot topic. How do we Christians answer questions of evolution and scientific theory? How do scientist explain phenomena and such that is unmeasurable? Is there a mediation between the two disciplines? All good questions that need to be dealt with, but not necessarily answered. What I mean by that is in Christianity and Science, things often go unanswered. Honestly, there is no way to prove most things in either discipline, but asking the questions with humility, and discussing them in a civilized manner turns out to be the best resource for beginning to think about answers. I could go on about what we discussed and how the arguments got heated and such (which at one point they did), but most of the time it was not heated at all. To be up front, it was a “kumbaya” atmosphere were we all got along to a certain extent.
During this forum though, Dr. Hollis Phelps, professor of Theology here at MOC, gave and interesting quote which I believe need to be shared. As we were discussing the idea of scientifically describing religion and Christianity, Dr. Phelps said ” that we cannot scientifically analyze religion in its essence, without destroying it. In the same way, we cannot scientifically break down a piece of art without destroying the piece itself.” What that means is that if we break down the different colors, textures, materials and brushes used to create a piece of art, you still do not understand what the piece of art means. Art is to be experienced in the sense that you look at it and experience it as a whole. Likewise, if we break down Christianity to its nuances and tiny details, we lose its essence. If we scientifically choose to prove that resurrection is impossible and miracles do not happen, then we separate Christianity from what it was intended to be.
Speaking of my post last week about Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith, I do not believe we can separate the two. Of course, we can separate all the “mythological” happening of Jesus from his story to get a more “accurate” view of who this mysterious man was, but then in turn, we lose what the writers of the gospels found necessary to tell us who Jesus was and more importantly, who he is for us today.
Again, more coming on these ideas in the future, but these types of discussions are important if we are to begin to answer these questions.