The typical knock on religion in secular, academic circles is that it was something primitive cultures came up with to explain the natural phenomena around them. They didn’t have science, so they conjured up an idea of “god” (typically “gods”) to explain the unexplainable. With our modern day technological and scientific discoveries, we can now explain these things with science and data, so religion is seen as something we have moved beyond. People who still cling to religion are often looked at as unintelligent and/or weak, needing an imaginary crutch to get them through life.
I recently spent three days camping in the Manistee National Forest. It’s interesting that every single primitive culture that I’ve ever heard of had very strong faith in some sort of deity. Walking through Michigan’s national forest, I can’t blame them.
I live every day of my life in urban Lansing, Michigan. I live in a concrete jungle, with a house that provides my heat and shelter, grocery stores and restaurants that provide all of my food, and in a culture where the values focus on making more money so you can live more comfortably, with greater safety and security. I live in a world where no God is needed because we can provide everything we need for ourselves.
Contrast this with a world and culture of living in the woods, hunting and gathering for daily survival. A good day is not determined by how the stock market is doing, but rather that we killed a deer and can now feed our family. And the deer is seen as a gift and provision from God. And we realize the entire world doesn’t circle around us. We are one of a billion lifeforms living within the same forest. We aren’t significant, yet there is One who created the forest and all its lifeforms and the cycle of life within it who is (and eventually we learn we can have incredible significance in Him). One who has so much more creative power than we ever will. And the world revolves around Him.
There is no Facebook or Twitter in the forest. There’s no “World’s 100 Most Influential People” in the forest. There are no CEO’s and there are no celebrities. There is God and life and death. On beautiful days, you thank God. On days with awful weather and trees snapping left and right and freezing cold temperatures chilling you to the bone, you pray to God for protection. You realize you are dependent on someone much bigger than yourself.
To move past this truth is not an advancement in evolution, it is a major regression.
The truth is: God didn’t go anywhere, we just paved over him.
Just because we can explain how something works (science) doesn’t mean we can explain why it is there or who put it there. And since when did explaining how something works negate you from the sheer awe and mystery of how it got there and that it works at all?
When we pave over everything that is beautiful and way beyond our comprehension, it’s easy to forget. In fact, it sadly conditions us to forget. We forget that it even matters because all we see is concrete and all we want is self-created comfort, safety, security, and self-sufficient living.
Science doesn’t negate God. Far from it. When properly studied, science ought to increase our worship and wonder of God as we learn more and more about how truly deep and expansive His intricate creation is.
But the only way to hold on to this soul-nourishing truth is to get out of the sterilized lab and back into the dirt-filled earth.
To do this requires a step that most of us aren’t willing to take, and is a step we’ve been conditioned against from the day we were born: Acknowledging that the world doesn’t revolve around us. It revolves around God.
Reading Psalm 19 is one thing, seeing it in action is something totally different.