Moving Beyond Science vs Faith

Millennials want a truce between science and faith. Or at least that’s what Rachel Held Evans thinks. I think more accurately millennials don’t see science and faith at war with each other. A great example of a pastor, Carl Lentz, articulating a millennial’s view of science and faith can be seen in this clip from The Nightly Show.

And just so you don’t think that I’m just making this stuff up, emerging research by Science for Youth Ministry shows that many church leaders of young millennials see a conflict between faith and science. Yet the millennials who are a part of their church don’t share their opinion. In fact, over 70% of the young millennials surveyed said they didn’t think that there was a conflict between faith and science.

What Rachel Held Evans might be pointing to in her statement about what millennials want is a change in the actions of church leaders. The research by SYM shows that since church leaders perceive a conflict between faith and science, then they must respond. Their responses fall into one of three types:

  • Fight – Combat scientific claims that a threat to their Christian beliefs by showing how science is wrong and their theology is right.
  • Flee – Never talk about or address the perceived conflict because science has already won.
  • Neutrality – Talk about the good in both but stay neutral on the topics that seem to be in conflict to them.

Moving beyond the the perception, the reality of ministering to millennials mean that we need to recognize that in their world faith and science don’t conflict (much like Carl Lentz’s articulation). So we need to figure out how we move past neutrality or a truce in our own mind and begin to engage millennials in faith forming ways when it comes to science? We need not to become amateur scientists but rather insightful theologians who begin to raise questions with science for the plausibility of transcendence. It is not an argument but an open conversation with science that recognizes the category of scientific epistemology and asks questions about the other.

How do you engage millennials on science?

What do you do with Neil deGrasse Tyson’s issue of chaos and destruction in nature?

[photo credit aigle_dore]