Milt Hankins:Science, religion should call a truce
I recently checked out an Internet article, "Eight Reasons Millennials Are Leaving the Church." A post-Baby Boomer, I first had to find out what a "Millennial" was. It's the next generation after the Generation Xers, or young people born between 1980 and 2000.
Likely we've all wondered why so many "millenials" have stopped attending church. Dr. Linda Mintel, a licensed marriage and family therapist, explored Rachel Held Evans' blog post on the subject. Evans contends that the substance of the church, not its style, needs changing. I agree, and I wrote concerning that in my book "A Sensible Theology for Thinking People."
The debate between Bill Nye (the Science Guy) and Ken Ham of Kentucky's Creation Museum highlighted the most important issue for Millenials: Must they believe the earth is merely 6,000 years old, as many conservative churches teach, or can they accept the evidence of science that the earth is billions of years old? Many young people throw up their hands, deciding if they can't believe the Genesis accounts (both of them) of the creation as they were taught from early childhood, why bother with the other "stuff" the church may have wrong?
According to Evans, Millennials want a church that "calls a truce between science and faith." They have valid concerns, but, unfortunately, many young people seem unwilling to consider some finer points in the debate: 1) No one but the Creator was there at the beginning, 2) The Bible is not a science book; it is a faith book, and 3) Reasonable, acceptable theories allow science and faith to co-exist peacefully.
I plan a future article on why I do not agree with recent earth theorists. Here, however, I want to look briefly at a perfectly plausible argument that for me settles the question.
I am aware of the flaws in this argument, but I continue to cling to the First Cause (sometimes called the Prime Mover) theory in Thomas Aquinas' "Summa Theologica." Aquinas postulated that "the things which we see around us now are the products of a series of previous causes. But that series cannot go back in time forever. Thus there must be some first cause which was not itself caused by anything else. And that first uncaused cause is God."
As a result, I believe that The First Cause (God) created all things, and science by observation confirms what the First Cause created.
Frankly, for science or religion, it is patently absurd to attempt to pin down precisely when the universe (cosmos) came into being. I am firmly convinced it was not as described in Genesis 1-2. I believe that the universe is still a work in progress. As modern astronomy clearly demonstrates, and the writer of Genesis couldn't have known, the cosmos is continually expanding.
When a truce is called between science and religion when the church recognizes 21st Century scientific knowledge, more young people will be willing to accept what the church has to offer.
Milt Hankins of Ashland, Ky., is a retired minister, theologian and freelance writer.
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