“Science: Christianity’s ‘Lost Child’” Dr. Robert C. Kurka Professor, Theology and Church in Culture The Seminary, Lincoln Christian University Lincoln, IL 62656
The Relationship of Christianity and Science: WAR ( a common view) • The warfare of Columbus [with religion] the world knows well: how the Bishop of Cueta worsted him in Portugal; how sundry wise men of Spain confronted him with the usual quotations from Psalms, from St. Paul, and from St. Augustine, ho, even after he was triumphant, and after his voyage had greatly strengthened the theory of the earth’s sphericity…the theological barriers to this geographical truth yielded but slowly. Plain as it had become to scholars, they hesitated to declare it to the world at large…But in 1519 science gains a crushing victory. Magellan makes his famous voyage. He proves the earth is round, for his expedition circumnavigates it…Yet even this does not end the war. Many conscientious [religious] men oppose the doctrine for two hundred years longer --Andrew Dickson White, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology (1896), 108-9
…but is this the Real Story? • Some credible voices who would differ: * A. N. Whitehead: “My explanation is that the faith in the possibility of science, generated antecedently to the development of modern scientific theory, is an unconscious derivative from medieval theology.” * Albert Einstein: “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” * Ernst Mach: “Every unbiased mind must admit that the age in which the chief development of the science of mechanics took place was an age of predominantly theological cast.”
So…what is the true nature of the relationship between Christianity and Science? Foe…or Friend? Perhaps, even “Family”?This presentation will propose that rather than being “mortal enemies,” the Historic Christian Faith and Modern Science are inseparably linked—historically and philosophically—and for the good of the “child,” need to be reconciled. In truth, Science is “Christianity’s Long Lost Child.”
Three “Lines of Evidence”… I. The Parent-Child Relationship: A Long Historical Narrative * The history of the development of science undeniably took place in the Christian West * A “Who’s Who” of Early Scientists reveals that the vast majority of these were persons of faith, many of whom were professional clergy.
So where did the “Anti-Christian Science Narrative” originate? * Enlightenment * Darwinian Crusade of the late 19th and 20th Centuries– e.g., T. H. Huxley * “Orthodox Christian” Blunders
II. The “DNA” Evidence is In: Christianity is the “Birth Mother” of Science *An eternal, personal and rational Creator who creates a universe that reflects his rationality and “goodness” (Gen. 1; cf. John 1:1-3) *and Human Beings who are uniquely, his image and charged with understanding and stewardship of his cosmos (Gen: 1:27-28)
* A WORLDVIEW that makes cosmic investigation possible (rational universe and rational humans), permissible (Gen. 1:28), and predictable (as the history of science demonstrates) * Other religions/cultures had some of the technological “buds” of science, but their worldview could not generate a “full-birthed” science
* The biblical worldview (especially as it is oriented in the Incarnate Christ and his ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and parousia) is the womb in which Modern Science was nourished…and a familial relationship that if broken, ultimately sows the seeds of scientific demise!
III. Reconciling the Family: Some Modest Proposals in Bringing the Estranged Parties Back Together *To the Scientific Community: 1) Re-visit the history of science (sans White) 2) Do not assume that Evolution demands Atheism 3) Become better students of philosophy…especially epistemology 4) Avoid caricatures of Christian believers (a la Huxley) 5) Become better students of the actual cosmological claims of the Biblical material
* To the Christian Community: 1) Interpret the Bible according to its historical, literary, and theological purposes 2)Refuse to make the false “evolution=atheism” equation 3) Reject caricature of evolutionary theory as well as of science and scientists 4) Be careful and thoughtful evaluators of the “ID” claims
Conclusion: Although the “Received View” of the history of science is steeped in anti-Christian polemic, the truth of the matter is that WITHOUT THE CHRISTIAN FAITH: 1) There would not be a history of science 2) More basically, there would not be a WORLDVIEW that could supply the cosmic narrative and philosophical presuppositions necessary to doing science 3) And it is “high time” that Mother (Historic Christianity) and Child (Science) become re-united and reconciled…for the sake of BOTH!