The NG Times Newspaper

One of the many misunderstandings that exist in the general population about Christians is that they believe in something without any evidence. Some would even think that they believe in spite of any evidence. Not only is that not the case, but it can be easily argued that the same thing could be said about what are usually called non-believers. This deserves some thought.
Christians believe in concrete historical events and persons, and their faith is not a blind faith. Faith, for the Christian, really means trust. When I say I believe in Jesus, that is not just saying that I believe in a Jesus who lived in time and space, someone for whom evidence exists, etc. That is true. But having faith in Jesus means, much more importantly, that I trust him to be and do what he said he was and would do. And, because that faith is supported by experience, historical facts and evidence, it is far from being a blind “leap in the dark”.
Oddly enough, something similar is true of non-believers. First of all, they cannot prove “scientifically”, that there is no God. Nor can they prove that Jesus is not that God, etc. But it goes well beyond that. The vast majority of people believe what they do about God, life, the universe and everything because they have faith in something else, besides themselves. In most cases, what they have faith in is some school of Science, and the scientific information with which they are presented.
If you are not an experienced and qualified physicist, archaeologist, paleontologist, geologist, etc., then what you believe concerning the things taught by those disciplines you accept on faith. Put simply, you believe they know what they’re talking about, and so you take their word for it. What, though, are your grounds for believing? Where is your authority upon which these ideas can be judged? Christians have the books of the Old and New Testament, thousands of years of testimony from millions of people, as well as their own personal experience and relationship with God.
It may be claimed, as it often is, that these are no reliable authorities, because Christians don’t agree on everything and the Bible can be “interpreted” in many ways. So, where is the firm foundation upon which to build? What is less often claimed, but is equally true, is that there is seldom a common and agreed position by scientists in various fields, and even those positions change from time to time. What’s more, the many schools of science are so specialised that people in one area, geology, for example, rely on colleagues in other disciplines, say theoretical physics, for their information.
The danger is that people with authority in one field can just as easily say something stupid about something outside their expertise as any ordinary person; but, because of their professional standing, their stupidity is not exposed. For example, world-renowned political economist, Francis Fukuyama, published a book in 1992 called “The End of History and the Last Man”, in which he claimed that the end of the Cold War meant “the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government”. This has not been the world’s experience since 1992.
Perhaps the most famous scientist on the planet is Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose most famous work is “A Brief History of Time”. Hawking is undoubtedly a giant in his field, but that didn’t prevent him by claiming in a later book, “The Grand Design”, that the universe created itself out of nothing. He wrote: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.”
How can laws create anything, since laws are a scientific way of explaining why things are they way they are. The law of gravity cannot pre-exist the world it describes, but Hawking goes further than any creationist Christian ever has. If it is nonsense to claim that God created the world out of nothing, it is far more nonsensical to say that creation didn’t even need God. We can have a design without a designer. Non-being can produce being spontaneously, something out of nothing.
The fact is that we all live by faith, faith in something, or someone. The question is, do we have strong evidence for resting our faith on that source? Science is about studying and reporting on what can be observed and verified through repetition. But a great deal of what is called science is simply suppositions and assumptions based on ideology. Science is, or should be, about verifiable facts. No-one can argue against that. How we interpret those facts may vary among scientists far more than interpretations of the Bible vary among Christians. There’s more to this than we think.


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