The difficult truth, however, is that if the message of love that the world heard this past Saturday were unmistakably about Jesus, if there was no way for the world to not be talking about Him today on account of this preacher, they wouldn't be talking about it at all. Some of this has to do with what the world recognizes as hypocrisy in the church, that we talk about this kind of love but don't live it. And they would be right - we have much work to do.
But a lot of it has to do with the contemporary ethic that faith is so...unfactual. That in a world based on science, religion is supremely silly. That in a world that demands evidence and reason, faith has no such thing to offer. Faith, therefore, is laughable because it can never measure up to the rigorous standards of real knowledge.
They say that faith is foolish, but it is actually this world that is foolish about Christian faith. Just who do you think created science anyway?
The world will never confess it, and you won't find it in any public school textbooks on the matter, but science itself has its roots buried deep in Christianity. After all, it was Christians who had the framework for beginning to investigate the world in the first place.
Science, on its own, proclaims there is nothing that we can know except by investigating it. It declares that so much of the world came together, and is held together, by forces we cannot understand, except for the experiments that we are able to conduct on it. It says that much, if not all, of what we know comes from chaos; the universe as we know it is one big unknowable accident, and we are all but forensic experts trying to piece together the moments before the crash.
Yet, when they are being honest about their discoveries, scientists must also confess that the more they discover about the universe, the more that it looks like it was designed. It makes too much sense to be an accident. Oh, there are "rational" explanations for this, such as that the universe began to shape itself in the ways that make the most sense for the life that lives in it, but any rational being recognizes that this only presses the question back one more step and begs to know how that life shaped itself to shape the universe in such a way. In fact, science can press the question all the way back and come upon something it calls the "big bang theory" where nothing exploded and became everything, but it still leaves the question hanging: where did the nothing come from? (We should also note that there has also never been a successful scientific experiment that created anything at all from nothing, which means even the big bang started somewhere, but where?)
Christians in science took a different starting point, and it is from their beginnings that we have a real, rational, firm foundation for legitimate science. Christians, you see, started with the idea that God is rational. If God is rational, then His creation must also be rational. And if God desires for us to know Him, then His creation must be part of His revelation. If we can know God, then we can know His world, and if we come to know His world, we will come to know more about God. So they set about science in order to know Him.
And you know what? It worked.
Secular scientists must confess that they more they know about the universe, the more it looks designed, but Christians in science (I am purposely avoiding the use of "Christian scientists" in order to avoid confusion) rejoice that the more they know about the universe, the more awe they have for its Designer.
You don't even have to be a scientist to appreciate that. Anyone who goes and stands out under the stars and feels his own smallness gets it, gets the greatness of our God. Anyone who sees a caterpillar wind itself in its cocoon knows. Anyone who thoughtfully plants a seed and witnesses it become a plant and then, behold!, bear fruit understands. Science is most fruitful when it is grounded in God, Who claims to be a rational being and proves Himself such through our own exploration.
The problem is that secular science just wouldn't accept this. The deeper it got into its discoveries, the more it heard whispers of its own greatness, and today, science has become its own faith. It requires - no, it demands - this world to make a proclamation of faith right up front. We will believe in science, whatever it shows us because we've been told that science is the rational study of irrational things (in its own words, since everything is just chaos and coincidence) and therefore, we have given science the power to make claims about what is rational and what is irrational (in its own words, since everything is just chaos and coincidence), and it has done so (declaring itself rational and religion irrational).
And all of a sudden, science isn't a science any more; it's a philosophy, requiring just as much - if not more - faith than religion, if for no other reason than that science has created the enormous challenge not of having to believe in something greater, but in having to believe in itself.
And that is a difficult task, indeed. (Stay tuned.)