Science and Faith in the Front Lines of the Culture War
In this brief video conversation, Os Guinness, author and founder of the Trinity Forum, suggests that the religious right might have largely created the current culture war that has science and faith as its core antagonists.
He offers that while this culture war, in some cases, a world issue, in particular it is an American problem that has emerged in the last several decades. Guinness points out that religion and the religious right now makes up “the holy war frontline” of the culture war and the perceived discord between science and faith is a part of that. As a result, there is a large amount of fear, misrepresentation, and demonizing of opponents.
Guinness observes that in many ways the New Atheists have been partially created by the religious right. Historically, in America, there was no “vehement repudiation” of religion until fairly recently with the political involvement of the religious right (described in Kevin Phillips’ 2006 book American Theocracy).
Initially the concern for nonbelievers was the intersection of religion and public life, but now it is religion itself. Part of that powerful argument which rejects religion is that religious people have such a poor view of science—and are therefore characterized as uninformed, out-of-touch, and the like. In many ways we have “played into their [opponents to religion] hands and that is totally unnecessary,” says Guinness.
In thinking about this, check out the recent discussion on Jesus Creed. Note especially the statement by RJS in “Comment #15:”
Coyne sets up a view of Christian faith - knocks it down, and becomes annoyed when the reality of Christian thought is more complex. The data he takes to disprove the faith becomes data that refines our understanding of faith and revelation.
There is nothing the new atheists would like more than for the fundamentalist view of Scripture to predominate in evangelicalism. They can set it up as a straw man and then beat it to death. Tragically, along with that death goes the Christian faith of many young people. It is the only faith they know and, now dead, they have nothing to take its place.
In reality Scripture is much richer than that. It is a living document, which through the ongoing activity of the Spirit of God, transcends culture and time.
Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.
Os Guinness is an author, social critic, and founder of the Trinity Forum. He has been a guest scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies and a guest scholar and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a frequent speaker at political and business conferences around the world and has written or edited more than 25 books.