Our own Nick Knisely, Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Pheonix, Arizona, thinks alot about science and faith and talks about the breathless news reports that physicists were ready to announce that they’d discovered, at long last, the Higgs Boson – the so-called “God Particle.” It turns out that the actual announcement was not nearly as exciting.
Dean Knisely reflects on what these events teach us:
The possibility that the Higgs won’t be found is worth reflecting on. Because the furor that would result shows the difference between the scientific method and religious practice. Science is always striving to find new and more successful ways to view the world. And when something is wrong, it means that whole existing edifice is supposed to be tossed aside and a new one created. Woe to any philosophy or theology that depends on the structures being discarded.
Christianity, on the other hand, starts with a story to which we have a responsibility to conform our lives; the story of God’s creation and love of Creation, our role within that Creation and the unique expression of God’s will for us in the person of Jesus. Rather than overturning the story and starting over again, we draw close to the story and discover new facets and ways to apply a universal and timeless truth to our lives. Science changes the account to fit the present observations.
The two enterprises are often seen as being in conflict. But they’re not really. They are using different methodologies to draw as close as possible to Truth. In my mind they’ve always been complementary to each other, best used in conversation with one another.
So keep that in mind when the results of the search for the Higgs Particle are announced. If it’s found – yay. If it’s not found – then YAY! Either way, the scientific endeavor will continue to try to hunt the truth, no matter how elusive. And faith will continue to seek enlightenment by its contemplation of the truth already delivered.