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Faith and science

Faith and science

These two should go together. They are not meant to go separate ways and, worse, to go against each other. A faith without science is prone to fall into superstitions, and a science without faith can only go nowhere.

Faith without science can only provoke suspicion, disbelief and criticism. And a science without faith might give an appearance of sophisticated achievement but it will certainly lead to getting confused and lost in itself, and can pose as a grave danger to us.  All of this because faith and science in the end come from the same source—God the Creator. This is what the Catechism says about faith and science:

“Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict itself.  Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.” (159)

Faith actually needs science to be able to demonstrate its truths, though faith transcends the powers of science and its scope goes far beyond what science can reach and cover.  Thus, being a sharing of what God the Creator knows about us and the world, faith is meant to give light and direction to science. We need to acknowledge this principle and allow our scientific work to be guided by faith.

A faith that is not aided by science is a faith that is out on a limb. It tends to fall into the anomaly of fideism. And a science that is not guided by faith is blind, or is blinded by its own light. It cannot cope with all the issues and questions in life and the realities of the spiritual and supernatural world. It tends to fall into the anomaly of scientism and technologism.

A faith without science tends to build an ivory tower, unable to have any impact on the things of the world. Its relevance and practicability in the world tends to fade away. Its spread and transmission, its viability in the world would be greatly hampered.

Faith does not undermine the objectivity and realism of science.     A science without faith can become a loose cannon. It is vulnerable to be exploited by ideologues, to get entangled in partisan politics, and to come out with biased data, etc. It would not know how to play along the providence of God, since it would be oblivious of God.

Faith and science should go together. Scientific studies, for example, about the origin of the world and of life in general reinforce the truths of faith about these questions. Of course, there are differences in the language used by faith and science, but they somehow are in agreement about the core of these questions.

It is important that we always maintain the strong and intimate relation between faith and science. We have to avoid the extremes of “too much faith” with hardly any reference and support from science, and of “too much science” that practically ignores the light of faith.   Sad to say, these two extremes can be found in many places today. We need to correct the situation by undertaking an abiding catechesis, adapted to the different mentalities of the people, about the mutual relation between faith and science.