FAITH VS SCIENCE

I feel like we’re back in the middle ages, to a far lesser degree, not that I was alive back then! It is a bit like the genesis of the renaissance era in Europe, the times where science was getting more attention and religion was taking a backseat. In the middle ages, science was at the service of the catholic church. Any finding that contradicted the official doctrines of the all powerful and all-seeing catholic church, could very well be considered a heresy. It landed numerous scientists in jail and some of them were burned at the stake. Given those special punitive measures, most scientific research went along the church’s lines. Despite the danger, some courageous scientists went ahead with heretic research and risked their lives in the process. Copernicus came up with the theory that placed the sun (not the earth) at the center of the universe during the 16th century. He got into trouble with the church, but he wasn’t killed. He died in his bed at the age of 70. Those were different times, more restrictive times.

Faith and science cannot seem to want to coexist. I wonder if they can. I think they don’t want to. They each have their own mind, perhaps their own personalities. Science needs proof to exist, faith doesn’t. That is the fundamental difference. Science has explained a myriad of phenomenon considered divine a few centuries ago. We have come a long way. Look at the scientific breakthroughs in the past 40 years. So many things look almost alien because of how great they are. Still, faith and science can’t seem to coexist. One could wonder if they ever will. Perhaps they are not meant to coexist after all.  

Nowadays, there is no problem with sharing a scientific theory or a scientific discovery. The internet is a powerful tool and one can find any kind of study by googling keywords. However, beware because some scientific theories out there are just nuts, and some are purely idiotic! Science has its own problems with charlatans, thieves and cheaters. Science isn’t immune to fraud. It is a dire problem people outside of the scientific field aren’t aware of, but it is real. Therefore, those people who pretend to be scientists are responsible for theories that can harm people! Since this pandemic started, you need only to check your WhatsApp messages to find some unverified, untested, but very “effective cure” to the coronavirus. The problem is people believe that shit! For the record, there is no known cure.

What about faith? It doesn’t require any proof. It simply requires belief. I will say it bluntly: that bothers me, profoundly. I am not here to tell people what to think! It would be hypocritical of me since I share my thoughts every damn day. I cannot tell people what not to think either. It would be just as hypocritical. Let me be even more precise: I have a problem with people who think faith and only faith along with prayers will help you. I hear people telling me all the time about a person that was given a few months to live, people prayed for that person and they are healthy now. “How do you explain that Freeman?”. My answer is always “I don’t know”. Others choose to see the might of faith in action.

Here is the thing: if your faith tells you that the earth is 6,000 years old and we lived with dinosaurs or that the earth is flat, as upsetting that might be to see people deny science, those theories don’t endanger you in any way. But it begs the question how far you will go to believe certain unproven and completely wacky theories. Now, let me say this: when faced with a deadly airborne virus, you better believe in science and the proof we have so far! I am not saying “don’t pray!”. By all means, pray away! But do not forget to act! Listen to what the specialists, scientists are saying about this virus, how it spreads, its symptoms, its consequences, etc.

By now, the people who read my texts know I am not a man of faith. I do not believe in any deity or religion. It means nothing to me. Yet, faith matters to billions of people. Faith is a pillar in billions of people’s lives. Many people I know need that faith in God to function, get through hard times, to fulfill our innate sense of community, to be happy, etc. I respect that. Far be it from me to tell others how to think or live their lives, so long as they are not hurting anyone. Moreover, they have the right to think whatever they want to think, and they have the right to feel however they want to feel. Nothing is more essential as the right to think freely. However…what happens when what your faith tells you is contradicted by science? What happens when hard and concrete evidence prove a certain theory defended by a faith or a religion to be wrong? Those with a strong faith will have to choose a side. Will they choose their faith or the science? I don’t believe God tells anyone to not listen to doctors…

I am saying this as a man of science. I believe only in things that I can see and touch. Some might call me narrowminded. I don’t pretend I know all, and I especially know science cannot explain everything. Surprise!!! I know science isn’t all powerful. Science has many limitations. Science isn’t perfect. If you think about it, science and faith are slightly similar because they are not perfect, they have limitations, and they are not all powerful. Yet, one of them, namely science, is based on facts, experimentation, gathering data, proof. On the other hand, faith isn’t and that’s ok. That is the very definition of faith, “a firm belief in something for which there is no proof” to quote webster’s dictionary.  

There is a pandemic out there right now, killing people, spreading like wildfire, destroying economies and people’s livelihoods. There are scientists who have told us what we must do, how the virus spreads. They have told us how it affects the body, what the symptoms are, and they have been extremely clear that there is no cure. All the proof is on the World Health Organization website, for free, for everyone to see (www.who.int). Use that resource please, for the love of all the Gods. Pray, believe, look to Jesus or Mohammed or all the saints or the holy spirit or whoever it is you pray to but keep your distance, stay home, wash your hands, cough in your sleeve, rest and if you feel like you have the symptoms, if you can, go to the doctor. Faith and prayer will not do much to save you. Take action! Save your life so you can continue praying and believing in your deity.

Faith isn’t all powerful in this three-dimensional world we live in. The physics of the world cannot be ignored. I would like to quote the great and always funny Dr Gregory House from the show House M.D. He said in an episode while talking to a nun: “You can have all the faith you want in spirits and the afterlife, and heaven and hell, but when it comes to this world, don’t be an idiot. Because you can tell me you put your faith in God to put you through the day, but when it comes time to cross the road, I know you look both ways.”

Don’t be an idiot. Take the necessary measures to protect yourself and others. Pray as much as you want while taking the precautions. Listen to the science! Ignore those faith healers and charlatans who should go to jail for spreading idiotic and wrong information. It doesn’t matter who you are or how strong your faith is; if someone who has the virus sneezes on you, guess what? YOU WILL GET THE VIRUS! It is that simple. Faith has no value once life ends. It only matters when one is alive. Protect your faith while protecting yourself. I cannot make this any clearer!

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile, protect yourself and your faith, and go on with your day!

Freeman. B

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