Theology and Science: Converging on Reality
By Garry DeWeese
Among “new atheists” and others of the intelligentsia, it is dogma that Christianity is incompatible with science, religious belief is irrational, and science is the pinnacle of rationality. But as is often the case with the unassailable dogma of the enlightened, the belief doesn’t stand up to careful examination.
The past two decades have seen a vast and growing flood of books and articles dealing with science and religion. This way of framing the discussion, however, often misses the point. The important issues revolve around the claims asserted: the theories and interpretations of science and the biblical and doctrinal claims of theology. Since we’re not interested in comparative sociology of the laboratory and the church, our focus here is on the truth claims of the two domains, on the relation between scientific theories and theological conclusions.
SOME COMMON CONFUSION
Confusion lurks behind secularists’ claims of Christianity’s incompatibility with science. Critical thinkers seek to unpack false assumptions behind these points of confusion in order to get at the central issues in the relationship of science and theology. If any of these points of confusion cloud the discussion, a fruitful exchange of ideas is unlikely.
“Christianity Is Merely a Faith Tradition”
The disdain expressed toward Christianity is grounded in the notion that Christianity is merely a “faith tradition,” not a knowledge tradition. It’s assumed that Christian theology doesn’t give knowledge of reality, and that its claims must be accepted on blind faith. Why should anyone take seriously what theology says about the natural world? A false dichotomy pervades most secular thinking concerning science and theology…