The stereotypical belief among the non-religious is that religious believers get some kind of rash when they come into contact with science. But as reported in the Science on Religion blog, a recent study–a scientific study, mind you–give us reason to believe that’s just not the case:
The results provided quite a surprise: not only did all Christian groups have as much scientific knowledge as the non-religious but mainline Protestants knew more about science than the non-religious. It also turned out that evangelicals had taken more science classes than the non-religious (and no Christian group took less)…. Christianity, not even in its fundamentalist form, does not correlate with scientific illiteracy….
From these results, Evans concludes that the assumption that Christians, including fundamentalists, are scientifically illiterate, will scientific ignorance upon themselves, or avoid science is simply unsubstantiated. Most Christians do try to work around scientific conclusions that don’t fit their beliefs (not that there’s conflict from the Christian’s perspective because they believe that, in time, science will agree with their religion), and conservative Protestants do have a problem with scientists interfering with moral issues, but none of this stems from scientific illiteracy (quite the opposite, in fact, for the mainline and evangelical Protestants). Those who would refuse this evidence-based study and insist that Christians really are scientifically illiterate should remember that Christians aren’t the only ones capable of disregarding scientific findings they don’t like.
Scientific evidence all up in yo’ face!
I, for one, don’t believe there is any conflict between science and religion. There are those, both religious and non-religious, who think that God is only a “god of the gaps” in our understanding–that once we understand something, then God isn’t sovereign over that thing anymore.
But I think God is God over the things we don’t understand and the things we do. I’m not afraid that gains in scientific understanding are going to crowd God out of the picture, so I don’t flee from science. And it turns out that most Christians think the same way.