This I Believe

Joris - Waynesville, Illinois
Entered on January 3, 2008

I believe that scientists worship the God of Christianity these days better than many religious people. No particular incident has triggered this belief. It is just as I labor through Scientific American and read about scientific advances, I see more on the side of science than religion a worship of my Christian creator, respect for His laws and a passion to use these laws for the improvement of people.

Religion uses cliches often to express belief, salvation, heaven, virtue, and love–words that too often mean something different than what I think Jesus meant.

But what I believe has come from daily living as well as from the language of science. I dig deeper, past cliches, and deal with the world we really live in–to find grace appearing in science and its products.

Deeper belief about our Creator includes I look at creation more than inherited words; it means I accept contradictions as mystery, rather than dogmas as security.

Adam and Eve wanted to be like gods, knowing good and evil. A good scientist shows humility, and allows ignorance and ambiguity to guide his hunger for the truth. Scientists maintain a childlike curiosity as they explore patterns and connections–and get satisfaction only to explore further. Many theologians and religious people too often leave wonder behind as they merely interpret traditions.

Our Christian bible seems more descriptive than prescriptive; it describes David as saint and sinner, prescribing nothing. I see our world’s sexism and genocide in that Bible, as well as heroism and history: I see my hope and endurance described in Revelations and Job–but not real assurances.

My faith runs deeper than these descriptions–or even the whole scheme of religion. And that is where science enters. Faith in the universe of Jesus is more what science is doing than what religion is doing. Scientists look at this universe bluntly, and describe it to use those Laws of God towards helping people. It size is wondrous. Its time-line is wondrous. Biological workings are wondrous. Scientists accept its contradictions and workings (like DNA) with open-minded, child-like respect. Scientists believe in things invisible–quarks and radio waves, bacteria and dinosaurs, branes, black holes and T-cells–and consistently they work to use this belief–and knowledge–to bring God’s gifts of health and life and strength to us.

My traditional Christian and Catholic words had become for me, and perhaps for my whole generation, more language than reality, more cliche than truth, more dead heritage than the living will of God. It may be more accurate to say that religion is the worn side of a coin, whose other side is the fresh attitude of wonder called science.

The kingdom of heaven comes not in the past, nor in words, but in the world around us. It is our response here and now to the non-verbal world and consists of the acceptance of God’s whole universe–”Thy Will be done”–the “yes” of which Dag Hammerskjold spoke. This I believe.