Sam Brownback on faith and reason
In a New York Times op-ed piece published today, Kansas senator Sam Brownback writes about how he views the relation between faith and reason, between science and Scripture. The op-ed is titled, “What I Think About Evolution,” and in it he speaks frankly about his desire to avoid both a fundamentalist creationism and an atheist evolutionism. Instead, he wishes to affirm both that God is the creator of the cosmos and that evolution is a helpful explanation of the scientific evidence. Faith and reason are not in conflict, but are complementary.
People of faith should be rational, using the gift of reason that God has given us. At the same time, reason itself cannot answer every question. Faith seeks to purify reason so that we might be able to see more clearly, not less. Faith supplements the scientific method by providing an understanding of values, meaning and purpose. More than that, faith — not science — can help us understand the breadth of human suffering or the depth of human love. Faith and science should go together, not be driven apart.I have nothing but positive things to say about this piece. Sen. Brownback wishes to avoid letting faith or science subjugate the other—in which science becomes a tool for preserving faith or faith becomes obsolete in the face of science—and instead he affirms a kind of theistic evolution which upholds the centrality of God’s providential activity without denigrating modern scientific discoveries. Perhaps most admirable of all is Sen. Brownback’s ability to do all this without once mentioning Intelligent Design.