Christians and science, ground rules

A good Christian should stay true to her faith, but not be ignorant of science either.
Do this by acknowledging the scientists, distrust the mainstream media and keep an eternal perspective.

Now, whether you personally belive in a hard-core interpretation like young earth seven day creationism, or that the biblical account of creation and the theory of Evolution does not contradict each other (like the Pope) does not matter at all.

Because we need to establish some reasonable ground rules to follow when faith and science collide. I suggest the following three:

Acknowledge the scientists

It is too often the case that creationist defenders seem to diminish mainstream scientists by claiming either a dark conspiracy or a stubborn idealogical ignorance. Suggesting that if scientists would just bother to look at the data from an objective standpoint, they would immediately accept (some variation of) creationism as the obvious truth.

Well, scientists does not deserve that reputation. One fact to bear in mind is that outright fraud is extremely rare in science, investigations on falsified evidence are few and far between, and any case will be extensively covered by science news.
Another fact is the “friendly rivalry” system of peer-reviewed journals, where scientists criticise any weakness in the publication of their colleagues, making sure that no mistakes are made simply because of sloppy work or prejudice.

When you discuss the Big Bang theory, please remember that it actually does explain a number of astronomical observations better than any other available theory, so it is not “ignorant” to believe it.
But on the other hand, the theory does have a giant glaring weakness: it require that the vast majority of the universe consist of completely unknown stuff that has never been observed in any experiment or by any scientist. The stuff known as dark matter and dark energy.
So while is not ignorant to believe in the theory best supported by data, it is not ignorant either to believe that the current theory might not be final.

Let us discuss in respect of the scientists who spend their lives searching for the truth about the natural world.

Distrust the mainstream media

This is not a tin-foil hat perspective. The problem with the media and science is not that they work together in a giant conspiracy to hide the truth, and blackout the “real” scientists and engineers.
No, the reason why mainstream media should not be trusted on science issues is simply that journalists are not scientists. There are often stories breaking, which contain only the perspective of a single scientist or engineer, and does not reflect the consensus of the community. In other words, they are misleading stories. The reasons for this are that these stories often controversial (because they are not really true) and therefore generate clicks, and also that they require less efford and time to make than a proper well-researched story.

Finally, journalists want to make “good stories”, so they often oversell the cautious claims that scientists make. This makes people think that science is changing more often than it is, simply because of inaccurate reporting. Illustrated perfectly by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

The remedy for this problem is simply to read the reports for yourself, and also to look out for follow-up stories with scientists criticising the original story.

Also, remember to distrust alternative/social media even more than mainstream media, as problems with clickbait, low effort journalism and agendas are even more pronounced here.

Keep an eternal perspective

While the scientific consensus is based on the best available knowledge, that may be subject to change over time. Remember when scientists thought that the atom could not be divided? Or that time flows at the same rate everywhere in the universe? Or that black holes could not emit radiation?

Science progress and corrects itself, and there are many unanswered question in the fundamental physics which could provide answers challenging Big Bang (and Evolution), and shift the evidence in favour of a different theory.

As Christians, we do not have to provide evidence for our beliefs in a scientific sense. It is enough that we trust the Bible and the Holy Spirit, while also acknowledging that not every detail of creation is described in the Bible – and that the descriptions can be misinterpreted.
We can believe that God willing, science will reveal the exact truth of creation in another thousand years. And that the current disagreement between science and faith is just a distraction, not a problem.

By the way, anyone interested in how the Big Bang actually supports the idea of a Creator should look up the brilliant William Lane Craig and his take on the Cosmological Argument.