Getting Back to Normal

I saw a television commercial recently that used the tagline, “Science is how we get back to normal.”


There is so much wrong with that statement I don’t even know where to begin.

First, let me say, I am definitely not anti-science.  Science is wonderful.  We learn lots of things about ourselves and our world through science.  Science can provide life-saving treatments and has the uncanny ability to look at the world around us and make projections and proclamations about what we can see, feel and hear, etc.

The tagline on the commercial, though, reminds me of the danger of depending on science to solve all of our problems, as one of my teachers cautioned awhile ago:

As developments in science gives humans mastery over the natural world, some of them would believe we could solve everything, that science has the ability to fix every problem.  Some people still believe that.”

He went on to say:

“A way of thinking about the world -- scientism-- says that everything in the universe can be known and understood by the scientific method (hypothesis, empirical testing, results).  It’s all measurable, determinable and [has] laws that help us predict.

The reality is, science can tell us the “how” but too often we look to it to give us the “why”, and that’s not really its job.  In doing so, we end up with the false notion that it is by science alone that we can “get back to normal.”

But our “return to normal” (whatever that is) provided by science, must take into account that our human behavior is a leading factor in keeping us safe from the virus.

It doesn’t take into account the human sweat and hard work that we put into caring for each other.

It doesn’t consider our powerful God whose intervention in our lives pours forth grace into tragedy and light into darkness.

Lest we be fooled that science is our savior and that our own actions live apart from it, let us remember that together, with science, we will hopefully not “return to normal” but find our lives much improved, our faith stronger and our love greater than it ever was.

Janet Cassidy (podcasts)


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