Miracles and the Modern Mind
(From this week’s devotional newsletter, Winning Ways.)
In March of this year a tweet from Thomas Chatterton Williams blew up Twitter. Williams is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and Harper’s Magazine. He posted an image of Vice President Mike Pence and the members of the Coronavirus Task Force praying together in the White House and added this observation: “We are so screwed.”
The tweet ignited a heated debate on social media about religion’s compatibility with science.
I’m not going to join the shame-storm against Williams. His entire writing career shouldn’t be judged by a single tweet. He has written some beautiful things about race that I hope people will hear, including a rejection of the Left’s notion that race is central to one’s identity. But I do believe that this particular social media post of his, and the many defenses of it, betray a false dichotomy between religion and science.
You can be a person of science and a person of faith. How do I know? Start with the men and women in our own church with STEM degrees. That includes Reuben Taylor, a rocket scientist who worked on the design of the lunar module that put the first astronauts on the moon. Really, doesn’t our church sometimes feel like a set from The Big Bang Theory?
This false idea that science and faith are in conflict doesn’t just show up in tweets about prayer. It also shows up in conversations about miracles. Nonbelievers want to know how any reasonable person could believe the Bible’s accounts of water being turned to wine, disabled persons suddenly brought to wholeness, and dead people brought to life.
This Sunday, I plan to address the question of miracles in our sermon series, Asking for a Friend. Mind you, as a fly fisherman, I can identify with the old joke: “The only thing that casts doubt on the miracles of Jesus is that they were all reported by fishermen!” Still, I’ve got some things that may help you understand the compatibility of modern science and biblical miracles.
So, join us on campus or online at 10am this Sunday. And forward this newsletter to someone who might be interested in the topic.