In addition to photons and electrons, quarks and gluons, and things like that, there are other realities we have to reckon with, things like logic and mathematics, aesthetics, and also moral principles. For example, the principle that you shouldn’t squash, bribe, degrade, impoverish, do violence to or in any way objectify other people, but rather nourish, encourage, respect, feed, protect and pay attention to them.

(That doesn’t rule out opposing whatever violent impulses they may show, but such dilemmas themselves call for wisdom and restraint).

Many people are alert to the idea that when a person is before us, something infinitely more precious and profound is before us than a mere animated pile of molecules. We are in the company of a person, someone who calls for our attention as one person to another. Anyone who can sense this (and most of us can) is in possession of a connection to, or sense of, a good that is the source of all goodness. Atheism is the opinion, often connected to a form of reductionism, that this good is fundamentally impersonal. Theism is the opinion, well grounded in reason, that impersonal categories are inadequate to capture the nature of this good.

This good is the One that people sense more fully when they give themselves a chance to do so, by mindfulness, by frankly asking for help, and by examining the lives of people who talked and lived as if they knew that One. This good is the love that creates, and the love that transfigures analysis. Without that love all scientific analysis is ultimately doomed to objectifying humankind en masse and thus destroying us. With that love, on the other hand, science is liberated to serve its true purpose, which is to make us co-creators of a better future.

Faith is willingness to recognize and trust this. Such faith is completely comfortable with, good at, and faithful to the spirit and demands of science, in every area of investigation, to the highest standard. This does not mean introducing alternative accounts of natural phenomena that don’t pass muster with the honest and well-argued opinion of the general scientific community. It means joining with that community in an intelligent and good-hearted effort to find things out, while remaining alert to the possible abuse of science. Examples of such abuse are: environmental devastation, facilitating unjust trading practices, the claim that science is corrosive to a rightly-understood theism, the idea that human beings can be correctly regarded as objects.