“I am obliged, as a Latter-day Saint, to believe whatever is true, regardless of the source.” –Henry Eyring
Last Sunday our Elder’s Quorum went through chapter 10 of the Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith manual called Our Search for Truth. And during the discussion, someone brought up the false dichotomy between religious truth and scientific truth making it seem as if the latter can’t be trusted. The only truth that mattered, after all, is religious truth.
Here’s the thing, to God, to the creator of the Earth, there is no distinction between religious truth and scientific truth. As a friend of mine once told me, “All truth is God’s truth.” I don’t think God differentiates and says, “This truth is religious truth, this one is scientific truth, this is philosophically truth.” Yes, these are valid categories, but I think they apply for humans, not God.
If we want to learn about how the human body works, we go to a biologist. If we want to learn about what is reality, we go to a metaphysicist. If we go to a metaphysicist and ask about how cells work, he’ll tell us to go to a biologist. Why? Because that is the expert for that information. We classify all these areas of knowledge for our own benefit.
God doesn’t need this classification. To Him, Truth is Truth whether is is part of the sciences or part of theology.
I heard recently that when Henry Eyring (President Eyring’s father) went to school his mother would tell him, “Remember that anything you learn that is true is part of the Gospel.” Why is that? Because the Gospel is about Truth. The Gospel encompasses all that is True and of God.
So instead of saying “The sciences or religion” why don’t we take a both/and approach. That is, both the sciences and religion. Why does there have to be a divide? After all, God created that which scientists are studying. Through the sciences are are discovering how God’s creation works. It’s a totally different question than what religion tries to answer. Where science asks how, religion seeks to answer why. Why were we created, why are we here? The sciences are complimentary to religion because it points to that which God has created.
The celebrity astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson has a quote I found recently that said, “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” There are a few problems with this quote. First, science is a method of gaining knowledge and you know what, science has been wrong sometimes (as this clip from It’s Always Sunny proves, science is a liar…sometimes). Also, replace the word science with anything that is true. The statement “The good thing about Christianity is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it” is a true statement and not believing in Christianity doesn’t make it less true. Anything that is true is true whether or not a person believes in it. That includes the sciences and religion and anything else that’s true.
My favorite Article of Faith is the twelfth: “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” We, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, must search for all things that are True. The Prophet Joseph said we seek after these things. We must seek after Beauty. We must seek after Truth.
After all, Truth leads us to Truth and there is no greater Truth than God Himself and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.