First, a little background on myself. I am a college educated American who grew up in a devoutly Catholic family. Trust me. My Mom was and still is seriously devout. I happen to still follow certain practices but not everything by a long shot. You may say I was "enlightened" or that I have "strayed" depending on your viewpoint. In college, I studied the sciences, specifically, biology and chemistry. Though I may be really rusty, I believe I have a strong grip on the scientific way the world works (e.g. evolution). Of course, this post is biased, but that's just par for the course. Everyone has their point of view and I will try to defend why I still practice (some) parts of my religion.
Religion (or Catholicism) is NOT a rational belief system. We humans are rational beings but at our current state, we have some understanding of how the world works. People have taken in experiences from their lives and have formed educated guesses as to how previously unknown experiences my work. By trial and error and the empirical method, a lot has become clearer to us. How doe we breathe? What is the air made of? Why is the sky blue? We use science via our senses to understand our surroundings. Then we build upon each new piece of knowledge and still refine other pieces until they fit our experiments or experiences. This is the rational or what others would say is the intelligent aspect of people.
But there is one question that has not been answered: Why are we here? Sure, there are those who will say that we are here because of probability. That after the big bang, all the possible criteria and factors aligned by chance to create the possibility of life. I think that's what they would say is the reason we're here. We are all here by chance. A mathematical anomaly. We got lucky and that's all there is to it.
I do believe it took so many factors for life to occur. That if one minute thing changed in the beginnings of the universe, we may not be here. But this does not satisfy why we are here. We are an accident? Okay, maybe those people could be completely right. But what about before the big bang? What started it? Was it just the big bang? (I must admit. I am sure there is literature out there that addresses my issue with this, but I have not read it and as of this writing, I have not tried looking for it.)
Now, I am not saying that God or the big J-dog himself decided to just make this all happen all of the sudden. This is hardly proof. But I do believe there was a creator, not necessarily a God, but some entity that initiated this whole mess. This being or thing that allowed for all these factors to a come together and allow for life on Earth. It's worth a thought.
So then one might argue that I'm really not a Christian then. Well, if you believe that label doesn't fit me then okay. I just decided that if I'm going to believe that something started all of this, that we are here not by accident, I'm going to believe that a god did this. Oh and that J-dog happened to be his son.
It this area that is not bound by rationale. Religion will always be irrational. That means it is not governed by reason and therefore cannot be subject to questions or experiments. I don't mean for people to follow their religion blindly. No. They should derive some sense of direction if they are struggling to seek meaning in their life. If they can find meaning elsewhere, then that's great for them. Science and religion exists separately but cannot be without each other.
So when someone asks me why won't god heal amputees, I will answer that god falls under religion and religion is not rational. I won't try to explain why he won't do certain things. How do I know? I use science to explain how things work. I'm still trying to use god to figure out why we're here. Am I still a rational being? I think so. I use science to explain the world and I use religion to explain the things that have yet to be explained by science.
Einstein quoted something to that effect, and I am too lazy to look it up. Science will explain how the universe works and I will forever love it for that. Religion does its best to explain why. It can't be as clear and reasonable as Science, but what it lacks in brain power, it makes up for it with hope and love. It's only people who sully both science and religion. It is these few who use science to beget selfish and blind atrocities using religion to justify their evil.