Science and Religion

science and religion - illustrated quote by Anchor Lines, a Christian Webcomic

The text in today’s Anchor Lines is a very slightly adapted quote from James Emery White’s The Church in an Age of Crisis, in a chapter which looks at this subject very helpfully. He himself is paraphrasing John Polkinghorne’s Questions of Truth. I haven’t read the latter book – although I’ve read a short extract covering the question of science vs religion which seemed very well written.

I can’t speak for all religions, but from a Christian perspective, the following quote from Joseph H Taylor sums up my position very well:

A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery. There is no conflict between science and religion. Our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world.”

There is no reason to fear scientific discovery. The God of the bible is also the God who created the universe, and all the scientific laws it is governed by. You can be confident that no discovery yet to be made will ever disprove God; rather scientific advances allow us to see better the incredible scale and intricacy of creation. The more we see, the more we have cause to worship. Likewise, we are indebted to science for a host of advances in almost all areas of life – take modern dentistry or penicillin as just a couple of examples! Religious faith which flatly rejects scientific discovery as a matter of course is in many ways blind.

In the same way, science has much to benefit from religious faith. The atheist scientist’s answer to the question of why we are here – that we just are; a chance combination of cells that live and die and that’s it – is perhaps a possibility, but hardly one that satisfies. Even then, it goes no distance to answering the question of our ultimate origin – what came before the universe began? As far as I am aware there is no evidence as yet seen of a cyclical nature to the universe we inhabit – and given that over time it is running out of usable energy, it must have had a beginning at some point. And before that?

To quote Polkinghorne’s book, “We need the insights of both science and religion if we are to fully understand the rich reality we inhabit”. Both are looking for truth, and both have truth to offer. We do ourselves a disservice if we idolise one yet scorn the other.

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