Thursday, August 19, 2010

Is Science Bad for Your Faith - Part 3

Science Affirms Our Faith

If you have a daily relationship with God, science makes perfect sense. A recent article on "dark energy" jumped out at me one day. I saw clear as day the thumbprint of God upon the universe. The astronomers had a rather different interpretation. I think they were simply wrong, that’s all.

Science may get the interpretation wrong because so many scientists dismiss the very idea of God out of hand, but the raw data leads inevitably to the creator. Misinterpretation doesn't make science evil. The search for truth, even if your mind is prejudiced against it, can only lead to God, however reluctant the truth-seeker may be to bump into Him.

Recent discoveries in psychiatry, neurology and psychology have only affirmed my belief that Jesus knew what he was doing when he set up the Christian church as he did when he laid down the laws for the nation of Israel. With the Jews, God sought to make an independent people out of a nation of slaves. He succeeded in spite of their own efforts to thwart their education. What God taught the nation of Israel has stuck with them even to this very day. I can’t think of a nation or culture less likely to accept slavery than the Jewish people.

The Christian church was set up to facilitate the writing of God's law upon our hearts and to prepare the world for His coming. Christianity, as a result, is the most effective tool for promoting mental health in the history of the world. Modern psychology has been playing catch up the past few decades, learning how to heal mental illness using therapy techniques Christ imparted to his church in its very structure. Study (gathering information about your condition), prayer (positive affirmations/telling your troubles to someone sympathetic) and sharing (group therapy work) are the three cornerstones of the Christian life. These three key elements of the Christian life mimic the most effective methods used by therapists in healing psychological disorders, changing behavior and disciplining the mind to free itself from addiction (for what else is being controlled by “sin” than an addiction to a behavior). We have only lately discovered how this process taps into the very structure of the human brain to retrain the mind. When God told us he would write his law upon our hearts, He meant it in a literal sense. The study/pray/share technique of Christian living is your part in the healing process as is taking your meds, showing up for therapy and doing the exercise you’re given by the therapist is essential to psychotherapy.

Christians have the added advantage of a “therapist” who knows us better than we know ourselves and who busily sets up our environment to provide therapeutic support for our healing. “All things work together for good” “Whom He loves, He chastens”.

God has given us doctors to help with the physical healing. Sometimes He takes a hand in directly healing us, if He sees we don’t need a particular “thorn in the side”.

Notice that Jesus often first 'healed' people of the very sins that had long held them in bondage. He healed folks with obvious mental disorders (or whatever you want to call demon-possession). He healed the damage first, then helped them pick themselves up by the bootstraps. The second half of the process—the change of heart—can take a lifetime. Look at the struggles the disciples had overcoming their old addiction to sinful habits.

Let us not forget that the Christian church is a triage center, emergency room and hospital for sinners, not a museum for magically created saints. The church was founded by the very one who designed the human mind in the first place. He, if anyone, would know how to treat the damage that can be done to the mind. The Psalmist points out that God “…knows our frame. He knows that we are dust.” Makes sense that he would design his church to optimally support the psychological healing that must take place in folks recovering from the ravages of sin.

We should pay particularly close attention to how the designer told us we ought to run the place. He knows, after all, something about what he is doing. And some of us should remember that in this “hospital” we are doctors and nurses, not drill instructors and lecturers.

My opinion, what's yours?


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