“…if someone tells you that he or she has converted to unbelief because of science, don’t believe them. Because what’s usually captured the person is not scientific evidence per se, but the form of science: ‘Even where the conclusions of science seem to be doing the work of conversion, it is very often not the detailed findings so much as the form.’ Indeed, the ‘appeal of scientific materialism is not so much the cogency of its detailed findings as that of the underlying epistemological stance, and that for ethical reasons. It is seen as the stance of maturity, of courage, of manliness, over against childish fears and sentimentality.’ But you can also understand how on the retelling, the convert to unbelief will want to give the impression that it was scientific evidence that was doing the work. Converts to unbelief always tell subtraction stories.
And the belief such persons have converted from has usually been an immature, Sunday schoolish faith that could easily be toppled. So while such converts to unbelief tell themselves stories about ‘growing up’ and ‘facing reality’ – and thus paint belief as essentially immature and childish – their ‘testimony’ betrays the simplistic shape of the faith they’ve abandoned. ‘If our faith has remained at the stage of the immature images, then the story that materialism equals maturity can seem plausible.’ But in fact their conversion to unbelief was also conversion to a new faith…”
James K.A. Smith, How (Not) To Be Secular, p.76,77.