For many evangelicals, the conflict between science and religion seems unavoidable. After all, with a literalist interpretation, certain aspects of the Bible seem to clash with the facts of modern science. Indeed, while embracing the harmony between science and faith is necessary, it is not always easy. It places a huge burden on churches to teach an understanding of the Bible that goes beneath this sort of surface reading.
Should churches accept this burden? In an interview with Karl Giberson, published in the July/August issue of Books & Culture, Francis Collins explains that if churches do not embrace the challenge to educate future generations, those generations will face a far greater challenge instead:
"...what we're doing now is passing on a burden to the youth. And it's a burden that many of them are going to be weighed down with to the point where they will not have their faith anymore. Right now, many churches are telling their young people, "You have to adhere to this absolutely literal description of what we say Genesis means," and they put a lot of energy into conveying that in Sunday school and in home schooling curricula. It's not as if the church has not already invested in providing a perspective on this issue--but unfortunately they've invested in a view that's counter to God's book of nature. This is both unnecessary and tragic."
Certainly, the task to promote the harmony of science and religion is no easy one. However, as Collins notes, we can take heart in knowing that the current battle between them does not come from God, but is one that we have created. It is also one that we can end.