Christianity vs Science
Christianity vs. Science
Stephen Jay Gould, in his 1999 book Rock of Ages, coined the term non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) in an attempt to finally resolve the conflict between science and religion. He claimed that scientists had one set of tools that equipped them to study science and answer questions relevant to their domain of science. Theologians were similarly equipped to answer an entirely different set of questions. Since the scientific domain, or magisterium, and the theological magisterium studied a different set of questions, they needn’t overlap.
The magisterium of science covers the empirical realm: what the Universe is made of (fact) and why does it work in this way (theory). The magisterium of religion extends over questions of ultimate meaning and moral value. These two magisteria do not overlap, nor do they encompass all inquiry (consider, for example, the magisterium of art and the meaning of beauty).64
Secularists claim that the God hypothesis does nothing other than put an end to scientific inquiry. They assume that God is only used to fill in the answers to the questions that scientific knowledge hasn’t yet discovered. However, I would contend that such a God of the gaps mentality is not a legitimate use of the God hypothesis. Rather, the biblical God has very explicit attributes that may be explainable scientifically. Certain events documented historically in the Bible may be subjected to scientific evaluation. However, scientific materialism places detour signs that block potentially open roads of scientific inquiry into these arenas.
Christianity vs. Science – An End to All Religions?
All too often you revert to discussing “religion” as opposed to Christianity. The title of your section The Clash of Science and Religion provides just one example. In contrast, I will make clear the distinction between Christianity and other faiths you so freely subsume under the rubric “religion.” Christian orthodox belief, as construed for centuries in the tradition of the Protestant Reformation, makes some distinct claims about the nature and attributes of God that should be subject to scientific scrutiny. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project believes that, “If God exists, then He must be outside the natural world and therefore the tools of science are not the right ones to learn about him.”66 In contradistinction to Dr. Collins, I would suggest that while the essence of God Himself exists outside the physical universe, Christian claims about God can be addressed scientifically. Yet these claims will never be addressed scientifically given the current adversarial climate that exists between scientists and theologians. Your solution is to put an end to all religions. Since so many religions have proven themselves detrimental to society, you assume that none of them has any merit. Yet I would challenge you to put that assumption to the test. We agree that not all religions are true, but this doesn’t prove the falsity of every religion. It is possible that one religion is actually true. May I suggest that the reason Christianity represents the dominant faith in America today is because so many Americans have already put other religions (and atheism) to the test and found them wanting? Orthodox, evangelical Christianity has found support from soft sciences like archaeology, history, and philosophy. Christianity should be put to the test in the hard sciences as well.
Read Page 1 of Letter To A Christian Nation: A Response.
64 Stephen Jay Gould, Rock of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life (New York: Ballantine Books, 1999), p. 6.
65 Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, p. 50.
66 Francis Collins, The Language of God (New York: Free Press), p. 30.
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus
Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus
I still have questions