I know that some of my Christian friends find it curious that I’m so very pro-Science. I know that many of my scientifically-minded friends find it curious that I’m a Christian. I personally find it totally coherent and important to be both. Here’s why:

I agree that with or without religion people can grow to become healthy and good people. There’s no debate there.

There is a separate issue that I think is poorly understood by atheists regarding people who are genuinely religious. The false assumption made is that religious people are using religion in an attempt to be a better person, and granted there may be many that do this.

However, if you are talking about the genuinely devout, especially regarding Christianity, Judiasm, and Islam – they practice religion because they believe that God exists, not because they believe that the religion is a path to goodness. In fact, the core of Christian Theology is built around the same self-awareness of the Psychological practice of Self-Compassion – which is the awareness of one’s own suffering, failure, and shortcomings. Both practices encourage the acknowledgement of these truths regarding our universal human experience. Christian belief, built around the faith-based belief that God exists, believes that like Neil DeGrasse Tyson or Elon Musk suggest, that this existence is a “simulation” designed with some larger purpose, and how a person conducts themselves in this simulation will have repercussions after our time in this simulation ends.

The most logical reason as to why one should still consider the existence of God is actually because what the most scientific Sciences tell us about our Universe – Physics, Chemistry, Math. We live in a 100% possible Universe as evidenced by the fact that we are here and yet at the same time a nearly improbable Universe when it comes to chance. How improbable? The estimated chances of our existence exceeds the inverse of the estimated number of particles in the Universe. The pseudo-science debate between the Young Earth Christian and the Evolutionary Biologist is a poor representation of the thoughtful debate of “why are we here?” – neither of them represent the most thoughtful of their cohort. Ask a Scientist who they want representing their team, they will name a Physicist, not Richard Dawkins. As a Christian who would I want to represent my beliefs? An intellectual Theologist like Dietrich Bonhoeffer or C.S. Lewis but definitely not the guy building the Noah’s Ark Museum. There’s a reason why the hyperintelligent of the world – Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, Neil DeGrasse Tyson – never commit to complete atheism, in part because of our statistically improbable existence.

Both the religious and the best Science can offer rely upon the same idea that something must exist outside our Universe for us to be here. The religious say that “something” is a purposeful God. The Astrophysicist says maybe there are a near infinite number of bubble universes accounting for every probability of existence. Neither is provable in this Universe, so they both require faith, which is the choice to believe when there is doubt.

So the question is not “can I be good,” but the question is still “why am I here?” And if you ponder deeply, there’s no better way to use your intellect and feelings than to struggle with answering for yourself this question because it frames the context of our entire existence – its purpose, its meaning, its significance.

And in the end, if you can’t decide, then consider Pascal’s Wager. Yeah, the mathematician, physicist, philosopher, and Christian Blaise Pascal.

I would love to dialogue with anyone who’s interested in continuing this conversation.

Written by Joseph Lee, M.D.

I'm a Psychiatrist in private practice in Redondo Beach, CA. I completed both medical school and residency training at UCLA. My practice is psychotherapy based with a health-oriented focus on personal growth and wellbeing. I also teach about mental healthiness and advocate for social emotional learning (SEL) in all contexts.

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