There is a strong difference between science and the humanities, including disciplines such as philosophy and theology. Those who follow scientism (the belief that science alone is the highest human discipline) often seem to be very confused about how science cannot study, research, analyze, and then from that explain the who, what, when, where, and why of all of the physical world.
A great example, ironically from the atheist camp, illustrates this point. In his book The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Bobby Henderson explains how global warming is a result of the decrease of the number of pirates on the planet. He argues that because global temperatures have increased and the number of pirates have decreased over the same period of time, then they must have a causal relationship; viz. one made the other one happen.
Did you spot the major flaw in that argument? How could it be even likely that fewer pirates have had that sort of impact? Science can only show that global temperatures have gone up and the number of pirates have declined. Science ends with the collection and presentation of data. After that comes the need for chin-scratching, question-asking, and theory-creating. Henderson comically leaps to the conclusion that these two pieces of data must be related, and therefore the solution is to recruit more people to become gold-hungry buccaneers in order to save the planet.
This post (originally published here on August 11, 2009) has become the most popular post I have written to date with more than 14,000 onsite views and more than 140 comments. It is a small testimony to the the way Christians are seen by atheists and how simply recognizing them as neighbors can go a long way to proclaiming the gospel.
Several weeks ago it came to my attention that the Secular Student Alliance (SSA), a group of people who would be considered atheist and agnostic, were planning a trip to the Creation Museum as a preface to a conference that would occur in the same area. What started out as a mild curiosity became fascination and eventually action. What would it be like to be a Christian and a fly on the wall as a group of atheists peered at exhibits that attempted to prove them wrong? How would the creationist lecturer react to challenges and would he gloat when he wins a point?
I did not decide until the week before to take the day off to go. So it was that I rode with my wife to the Creation Museum for what may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can honestly say that I was not prepared for what we experienced.
My wife had been there before, and as we pulled into the parking lot her first reaction was to how many extra security were visible. She said that she did not remember more than one or two officers on her last trip, but even before we left the car there were at least 6 clearly visible in front of the facility.