Having heard a lot about the apparent contradiction between a scientific and a religious way of thinking, I couldn’t help but post something that I think should be better known about the history of science.
The contribution the Greeks made to science (most notably, Aristotle) is tremendous, but it is interesting to note that they didn’t actually invent science. One of the reasons for this is that the grecian religion – with its belief in many capricious gods – considered the universe to be basically unpredictable. In fact, most pre-scientific worldviews (understanibly) considered the world to be a chaotic place.
One of the reasons why science was invented in Europe (which was less advanced than many other empires) was the Christian understanding of the universe. Basically, a non-pantheistic concept of the divine, combined with a rational creater resulted in a view of nature that it was ordered by rational principle, rather than having its own unpredicable whims.
This is all to say that the Christian religion predicted that science would be successful in contrast to the majority of other pre-scientific worldviews. This was a major reason why (in contrast to stereotypes) the Catholic church sponsered scientific research from very early on. The success of science, then, is an affirmation of that prediction.
This doesn’t prove Christainity, of course. Nor does it mean that one must be Christian in order to be a brilliant scientist. It does show, however, that scientific thought rests quite nicely within a Christian paradigm.
Therefore, I’d encourage any of you who are Christian to embrace science as a natural part of the Christian worldview – rather than getting pulled in (as some have) by the temptation to undermine science in the name of piety. The natural world is full of beautiful things – and we ought to deepen our appreciation of creation by deepening our understanding of it.
There were a few tangents I had to resist in there, but this seems long enough. I’ll have to do a follow up next time.