Ordinary people used to accommodate Mark Twain’s 19th century definition of faith as “believing what you know ain’t so.” But the pervasive and convincing role of science in 21st century life makes it a lot harder to disregard objective facts in the service of religion.

Pope Francis made headlines last month by reiterating the Catholic Church’s teaching that science and belief in God are completely compatible. The pope noted that evolution is a proven fact and the universe got its start in a Big Bang, almost instantly exploding into existence, eons before a literal reading of the Book of Genesis would suggest. In fact, it was a Catholic priest who first postulated the Big Bang Theory and the church decades ago adapted its teachings to the reality of evolution.

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