Religion, Science, and the “Preferences of the Human Heart”

Posted: April 24, 2015 in Article, Think THRU Faith
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I had a special event coming up at my church a while back addressing the scientific validity of Darwinian Evolution. As I have been thinking on this topic and meandering around cyberspace looking at blogs and YouTube videos, I came across this quote:

“The radical novelty of modern science lies precisely in the rejection of the belief, which is at the heart of all popular religion, that the forces which move the stars and atoms are contingent upon the preferences of the human heart.” ~Walter Lippmann


Now, I have no idea who Walter Lippmann is, and I it doesn’t really matter. This quote, however, jumped out at me as a great example of how the naturalistic, humanistic, and secularistic philosophies have infected our culture. I have observed more and more that, even among people who claim to be religious or even Christian, the starting point for their assumptions and view of the world is not Christ or God. It is from a secular mindset.


This quote says that “science” rejects the belief that the forces behind nature are contingent upon “the preferences of the human heart.” 


First, “science” doesn’t accept or reject anything. People do. Science is a method of investigating the world (and not the only one). It may also describe the body of knowledge gained by that method, but that “knowledge” (conclusions drawn based on the raw data) is itself subjective and at the whim of the scientists.


Second, I would completely agree with Mr. Lippmann that the forces of nature are not contingent upon the preferences of the human heart. And he might be surprised to know that the Bible would agree with Him as well. The forces of nature are contingent upon the will of the Sovereign Creator who made them. The preferences of human hearts do not enter into it.


Oddly enough Mr. Lippmann seems to have gotten things backwards. Religion points to God as the force behind nature. It is science which, as a body of knowledge and theories, is based on human understanding. It is influenced by the biases and philosophies of the human scientist making those theories and conclusions. Biases and philosophies which are “contingent upon the preferences of the human heart.”


Between science and religion (especially Biblical Christianity), if one can be said to be based on the preferences of the human heart, it is most definitely science.

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