Science and Religion Index
By Richard Bruce BA, MA, and PhC in Economics
Former Instructor St. John's University, New York City

Belief in Miracles Implies Belief in Science

Materialists frequently argue that religious belief in miracles means a denial of science, but that is exactly the opposite of the case. Belief in miracles implies belief in science. For a miracle to be effective as means of communication from a supernatural actor, God, to the human race, there must be a natural order and the people must have some knowledge about that order. In other words there must be science. For example, the early Christians were impressed by the resurrection of Jesus because they knew the resurrection was contrary to the natural order. They understood in the same way we do that death is normally a one way street.

Communication is achieved through contrast: black ink on white paper, white chalk on a black board, the teachers voice and the silence of the class. In like manner the contrast between the normal order of nature and miracles is the contrast that God uses to write his love letters to humanity.

This is possibly one reason why healing miracles are relatively common, they demonstrate God's existence, his willingness to become involved, and his love all at the same time. But I digress, the point is that it is the contrast between the normal order of nature and the miracle that allows communication.

I have created a YouTube video based on the above argument that, Miracles contrast with but do not contradict science.

Another Reason to Study Science

Furthermore this provides another reason to study science. One could not recognize a miracle without scientific knowledge.

And what is more, a lack of scientific sophistication makes one vulnerable to false prophets and others who falsely claim to speak for God or other supernatural entity. The classic example of this is the pagan priests impressing the community by predicting an eclipse of the sun or moon. The religious community has infinitely more, not less, reason to want a sophisticated and honest science.

There are many reasons to study science: it is inherently interesting, many well paid careers require science, to get a good grade, to graduate, it may help you live your life and could prolong it. Being able to tell the difference between false and real prophets may not convince many people that are not convinced by the above, but it would cost little to add it to the list and it might help some religious people become more interested in science. It is commonly said that talk is cheap, which is a good reason to use talk when it might do some good.

There is usually a little section at the beginning of science text books on science and society, or why study science. Often there is a brief mention of religion. Some portion of the above point and some of the other points made in other essays on this web site might be added to text. Given that many of the people involved in the decisions, including many of the high school science teachers, are religious it might help to sell text books.

As logical as this idea is, I suppose it is wishful thinking. We should teach the point in our religious education, but that is likely to also be wishful thinking. More realistically we need to use what ever media we can to get the message out.


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