It is entirely possible that any astute reader of this blog will immediately recognize that I am out of my depth on this one. But here is my promised follow-up to my thoughts on the movie Angels and Demons posted a week ago here. My goal is to demonstrate that is worth questioning popularly held notions like this aleged battle between science and religion. If you’re interested in reading more on this subject The Soul of Science, which I reference below by Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton is an excellent starting point.
There is no age-old battle between science and religion. This battle that is supposed to have raged from the dawn of time is actually a fairly recent development. It is also a development that originated very intentionally from the side of the scientist. Men like Thomas Huxley set out to undermine the Christian view of the world by aggressively promoting their secular agenda. Their view of the world is simply: what you can see is all there is. In the 19th century Andrew Dickens White published a book that is still being quoted today titled, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology. In it White states, “In all modern history, interference with science in the supposed interest of religion, no matter how conscientious such interference may have been, has resulted in the direst evils both to religion and to science.”
The truth is science as we know it today first took root in the minds of men who had a thoroughly Christian worldview. Christians believe there is One God who created and sustains the world so that it functions in an orderly and predictable way. There can be no scientific method in a world of chaos. Christians also believe that God’s glory is actually revealed by creation in such a way that one must actively suppress the truth in their hearts if they refuse to see it. For the Christian, the study of all that is created is just one more way of seeing the glory of God. Other religions start from worldviews that actually discourage the study of the world around us. In her book, The Soul of Science, Nancy Pearcey points out that while cultures like the Arabs and the Chinese produced much more in the way of practical knowledge through the ages it was Christian Europe that gave birth to what we today would call modern science.
The objection will no doubt be raised, “But didn’t the Catholic Church persecute as heretics those who promoted scientific views that were opposed to church teaching?” It is true that men cloaked in religion have often tried to manipulate the scriptures to promote their own agendas and carry out gross atrocities under the banner of faith. Incidents such as these should serve as a warning to the church in every century lest we fall into the same abuse of authority. But the truth is that sinful men in every discipline, science included, have always found ways to abuse their positions of authority so that they can carry out their wicked intentions. There is no doubt that today many in the sacred halls of science are using their “authority” to condone and carry out great wickedness against their fellow man.
The Christian who engages in scientific study actually enjoys a great advantage over the scientist who is not a follower of Christ. Having put his faith in Christ, he will join the redeemed of all ages in exploring the glories of God in creation for all eternity. There will be no end to the fantastic discoveries that await the believer after this life. Also, understanding the fear of the Lord to be the beginning of wisdom, he will know the right starting place when he comes to the study of the world. The scientist who chooses to suppress the truth of God as seen in creation will be unable to see the world as it really is.