As stated by Moreland and Craig (2003), “Scientism is the belief that the best or only way to have any knowledge of reality is by means of the sciences.” Having such a strict view on what can give individuals knowledge is a close-minded understanding of the deeper spiritual sides of human beings. My personal perception of this tension between science and religion is that it is very real. I work in the NICU and we are too often faced with situations that science no longer has an answer for. Babies born too early that science has only come so far to support. When there are sick and dying babies, the science minded individuals in the unit look at the numbers and follow the evidence that tells us there is nothing more we can do, and identify that this baby will not make it. My experience is that you can never write a baby off. They are capable of so much and there is so much more at play that affects the baby’s outcome that we truly do not understand in scientific means. An example I can think of is a baby I was caring for that we were all waiting to die. The numbers were telling us that was going to happen, we had exhasted all of our efforts for keeping the infant stable, and he continued to decline. But, the family never gave up hope. His parents or grandparents were at his bedside praying 24/7. He was never alone. All the doctors and many of the nurses were even a little frustrated with the family, thinking they were prolonging the inevitable, that we were doing all of these interventions for nothing. One night I was caring for him and he took a turn for the worse. We called the parents to the bedside and gave the mother the option to hold her baby for the first time. We would keep all the machines and drips running, but let him pass in his mother’s arms. All of this happened at the very end of my shift. I stayed late to be with the family as he passed, but after a few hours, the baby was still fighting. We had called funeral homes, had paper at the bedside to do footprints, and a photographer on standby to take pictures of him after he passed away. I went home and when I woke up, called the nurse caring for him that day to see when he passed. To my surprise, he was still alive, in fact, his vitals looked better than they ever had. The only thing we did was have his mom hold him. There were no new interventions, just the love of his mom. That little boy is now 6 years old, alive and well, no neurologic deficits, sings, dances, a true miracle. The point of my story being that there was definitely a tension between science, religion, and hope. If the family did not have strong faith, and we had given up on him, he would not be here today. Science definitely does not have all the answers.
Moreland, J.P., & Craig, W.L. (2003). Philosophial foundations for a Christian worldview. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.