science vs. faith from “Storm” by Tim Minchin

This quote (and the whole poem if I’m honest) has been occupying my mind a lot lately. I have been listening to it almost every day. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around how I feel about this simple breakdown of the difference between those two things, science and faith.

I agree with the semantics of what he says here. I think they are both accurate and well crafted descriptions of how faith and science approach the world. But when it is applied to me personally I balk at this definition of faith.

I grew up hearing (and saying) that “faith is the belief in things that cannot be proved.” Now that sounds nice! It sounds lovely, like having a nap on a Saturday morning followed by a leisurely cup of coffee while I check facebook. It sounds like something that one could consider a positive trait or attribute.

The idea that I might have been closing my eyes to the evidence that the world is presenting me is discouraging. It makes me feel bad. Like, sleeping in on a Wednesday and missing a meeting I was supposed to lead- on purpose. It’s as though practicing the faith I had been brought up in was a character flaw, or a failing. Ouch Tim.

But even with all that… just because something is uncomfortable doesn’t mean it isn’t true. And if I agree that the statement is accurate, then I am only disapproving of it because it would apply to me… and that’s just lying to myself, that’s just fake. And hypocrisy. So… do I agree with Tim Minchin? Am I ready to admit that I was, for a time, blind; and more than that, choosing blindness?

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3 thoughts on “science vs. faith from “Storm” by Tim Minchin

  1. I enjoy your writing style. For me I grew up being taught that I should have faith in things unseen but it was never presented as something that couldn’t be proven…I was under the impression that some scholars had proof of biblical accuracy and the miracles oj Jesus…when I finally looked into it myself I couldn’t discover any evidence. I like this quote too, I will google the poem, thanks 🙂

  2. Ha, I use this quote in my case for disbelief (under The Need For Faith).. I adore Tim Minchin, and Storm is a great beat poem. I think it has a lot of depth.., the quote, I mean.. But hopefully, my article too!

    The crux of it, to me, is having good reasons for our beliefs. We want to hold as many beliefs that are likely to be true, and as few that are likely to be false. How do we do this? What methods do we trust to help us? The scientific method is a big one. It is honest, and admits when it’s wrong. It is effective. Scientists know what it will take to be proven wrong. People of faith, on the other hand, cannot say this because it would nullify said faith. And that is suspicious, and dishonest, in my opinion. If you accept a claim on faith-value you immediately admit that the claim can’t be accepted on its own merits. This does not seem sensible.

    Here’s my article, if you’re interested.
    http://amrestorative.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/part-iii-on-why-i-remain-an-atheist-2/

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