Why must science lead mankind away from faith? Why is it considered post-modern, contemporary, and forward thinking to diss faith and embrace the worship of humanism and scientific thought? The disciplines of study should in fact lead us to belief in something and someone beyond ourselves.
Faith and science—these two giants should walk in tandem throughout mankind’s journey in life. They don’t have to be in conflict; they should spawn and arouse awe as layers of discovery are peeled away. When Carl Sagan said, “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies, we’re made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff,” the world paused with wonder and shouted a resounding, “Amen!”
What made that thought great and ring a true bell deep within the heart is its levels of meanings.
Yes, scientifically, we are made of dust and will return to dust in the end. Our bodies are literally comprised of nitrogen, calcium, iron, etc… ; but metaphorically, we are called to shine in a dark world, to reach for greatness, love, forgiveness, healing, reconciliation—high ideals or physical places beyond ourselves and bigger than ourselves—to hitch our dreams to a star and go above the limits of what confines us on this earth.
All of that takes faith and catapults us into another realm of possibilities. Sagan’s quote meant to constrict the human experience to the elements of mere dust. But the very thing that made that assumption wildly popular in its day was its metaphorical reflection of the yearnings of the human experience to border on ethereal greatness of spirit and to lasso science with the ability to burst the heavens because of a little thing called faith—just the size of a mustard seed the Bible tells us.
Faith and science together enable us to move mountains, tear down walls, walk on the moon, discover cures for cancer and Aids, and who knows maybe even discover a solution for the Mid East crisis and world peace. Why? Why Not? Because—we are made of the stuff of stars.