Religion and Science

It’s a good idea to know a bit of background information about the universe and its origins.

ABOUT SIZE

We are a rather insignificant blue/green planet, part of the solar system.

It is usually thought that the universe is 13.9 billion years old and that our sun is around 5 billion years old

The size of our universe is determined by our ability to observe it. We cannot for example observe anything that is moving away from us at a speed greater than the speed of light, because the light from it would never reach us.

Method

It is quite a good idea to trace each part of the topic through

The Big Bang

  • Trace the early findings of scientists like Newton, Lemaitre and Hubble.
  • have a rough idea about the concept itself (You’re not expected to be a scientist).
  • Follow up ideas of Stephen Hawking, Fred Hoyle and Dr John Polkinghorne.
  • Christians and non Christians seem to accept these findings.

Creatonism

  • To a certain extent the work you did on God the Creator should be useful here.
  • Creationists though accept the Bible as literally correct the inerrant word of God.
  • These people are mainly conservative evangelical Christians.
  • They feel that science challenges the relevance of God.
  • Many of their objections are fuelled by their dislike of the findings of Charles Darwin.

Evolution

  • Make sure you know and understand the main findings of Charles Darwin.
  • His work on natural selection brought him into direct conflict with the teaching of the church in his day.
  • It pointed out that mankind was only one species among many instead of being the pinnacle of God’s creation.
  • See also on this point your work on the Design Argument – Darwin’s objections.
  • Be aware of the ideas and conclusions of Richard Dawkins.

Intelligent Design

  • This is a bit like the Design Argument restated with bits of the Cosmological Argument thrown in for good measure!
  • However its origins are not religious and it is opposed to Charles Darwin’s findings.
  • It is cosmological insofar as it begins with the world and looks to an ultimate cause, which is not part of this world.
  • It sees regularity and purpose in the intricate parts of life and seeks an intelligent designer.
  • Developments of this point of view may be seen in the work of Michael Behe and Stephen Jay Gould.

Conclusion

  • You need to be able to evaluate the various positions.
  • Evangelical Christians with their Bible based viewpoint – some maintaining a “God of the Gaps theory”, other using pseudo scientific ideas based on the Fossil record.
  • Roman Catholics who maintain a propositional view of the Bible. It is the true word of God, but needs to be understood and interpreted using human reason (do you detect Thomas Aquinas in there somewhere?)
  • Other Christians who take a non-propositional view of the Bible and think the Bible is the work of men who wrote down how God interacted with human beings. They have no problem with accepting the scientific findings of physicists (Big Bang) and Biologists (evolution) and find in them no challenge to their faith.
  • Athiests who want to follow the scientific route and believe that science in all its forms has contributed to the idea of the death of God.
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