Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Science and Religion

I was struck by this story in yesterday’s Daily Mail.

John Schneider quit his post as a teacher in a Christian college after pressure from critics who were opposed to his views that science suggests that the Bible’s creation stories may not be literally true.

Science and religion are both, in their own way, a search for truth. There is nothing in science which has to contradict Christian tradition; indeed God revealed in the world is as incredible and amazing as God revealed in scripture.

Jesus himself invited people to observe the world around them and to reason from what they saw to an understanding of the nature of God (Matthew 6: 25-33).

Darwin’s ideas needn’t be a threat to Christian faith – I find it terribly sad that in some Church cultures a response to evolution or creationism is now a litmus test to determine whether an individual is fit to hold office.

Our own Society Religion and Technology Project has been exploring issues of ethics, theology and scince for more than 40 years and remains at the forefront of international debate about science and religion.

Far better, surely, to acknowledge that despite our best efforts we can never fully know and understand God, and to realise that however fervently we hold our beliefs, there may always be doubt, questioning and the possibility that we are wrong.

My friend Maclolm Brown from the Church of England has written more about this subject here.


  1. "There is nothing in science which has to contradict Christian tradition."

    Rev Galloway, this is only true if you ignore parts of Christian tradition or ignore parts of science.

    However, I salute your tolerance.

  2. I have been an admirer of the SRT Project since its inception, and appreciate Malcolm Brown's article.
    It is as important, in matters of religion and faith, as it is in the realm of science, to develop the ability to ask questions, and to have one's answers questioned - if one is to develop and deepen understanding.
    I'm with Sydney Carter on this: 'fishing with question marks' - 'doubt is what you drown in or walk upon'
    If only we would give the Bible the respect & honour it is due. This persistence of treating it as a manual to be taken literally has to be ended. It denies people the experience of the richness of metaphor and symbolism, and does nothing to help us see beyond our seeing.It encourages a kind of realism which we could do without. It stymies us from appreciating the fullness of God's continuing creativity and of our partnership in this through scientific exploring.
    I sympathise with John Schneider. We need teachers like him in schools, colleges and churches.

  3. Thank you for this. As both a committed Christian and someone with a science background, I find it sad that these tempting, yet false, polarities exist. God gifted us with curiosity and doubt - lacking these, how far would humans have advanced in knowledge over the millenia? Science gives us knowledge - faith can provide an essential framework in which to apply it.
    In last night's 'Songs of Praise' an eminent professor of Mathematics (also a Christian) described the beautiful symbiosis of faith and the pursuit of truth. Science and faith address different questions, but it behoves us all to pursue both with the same zeal, rigour and honesty. We need not fear the truth - it will set us free. God bless.


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