Faith and The Scientific Method

Feb 28, 2017

Read time: 2 mins

In December of last year The New Yorker re-published a story based on an earlier story and video published in 2012, that detailed recent years of life for Rob Bell, a megachurch pastor, author, and teacher. Regardless of any preconceptions you may have about Bell or his theology, it is an interesting take from his perspective.

The story contains a quote from Bell that continually pops into my head these days.

When people think that they are defending God, all sorts of normal decorum gets tossed out the window. There is a specific kind of venom that comes up. And in some senses, it’s just the terror that the foundation, the ground they’ve been walking on, might not be as absolute as they think it is.

This concept, that much of the fear in my life may be driven by a repressed feeling of doubt in the foundation of it all, is really hitting home for me. God is slowly showing me that I should indeed have strong opinions, but weakly held. Go hard into where He leads, but allow room for mystery.

I feel I should clarify, this isn’t a crisis of faith, but rather a solidification. A way of thinking that should only serve to deepen it.

In his latest book, The Great Spiritual Migration, Brian McLaren takes a section to dive into a related idea. What I took from it, was that we have much to learn from science in this regard. In scientific fields, truth is found not in existing scientific facts, but in the scientific method itself. Scientists rely on the process, not the results of their experiments. Likewise, in matters of faith, I long for a truth founded upon the full narrative of the bible, and an interaction and reliance upon Jesus and the Holy Spirit for guidance.

With this mindset, when new evidence arrives, or I am shown something that contradicts what I’ve previously held true, I can take it in stride - test it and learn from it. I will have no fear of my foundations being shaken, because the belief itself is not as important as the method of forming it.

When I let loose of beliefs that I previously held in clinched fists, I am free to love.