Follow Tokatakiya on Twitter

Friday, August 04, 2006

Religion v. Science: Not So Much

Good posts, V.

I only have one thing that I need to take issue with:

"But anyway, the point to make is that organized religion has always been quick to label intelligent quest as heresy."

Not so. In my research for this, I have found that this is not the case and, in fact, the idea of Religion v. Science is a relatively recent one. Islam was historically a fount of innovation and the Islamic world served as a repository for much of the world's knowledge during the Dark Ages, when the West abandoned science and reason. Furthermore, some would say "intelligent quest" is the entire basis of Buddhism.

But let's be honest, we're not talking about Islam or Buddhism when we say "organized religion" in this country. Like it or not, we mean Christianity and it is undeniable that there is some tension with science.

Here, however, the trend is a relatively recent one. Even the idea of the geocentric solar system was debated among theologians with advocates on either side. Political considerations rather than theological ones resulted in the failure of heliocentrism to take hold in the Church. Galileo's main supporter in the Church lost favor with the Pope and that eventually led to the label of heresy.

Saint Augustine, one of the most important figures in the history of Western Christianity, wrote that scientific research should inform interpretation of the Bible, "We should not wish to conform the meaning of Holy Scripture to our interpretation, but our interpretation to the meaning of Holy Scripture." (I'll be honest, I was stunned to learn that this was true.)

It is only recently that Christianity has been seen as the natural nemesis of science. (In point of fact, science has been greatly fostered by Christianity.) This has been due to a confluence of events stemming from the 19th century, most notably the rise of Christian fundamentalism and the introduction of Evolutionary biology.

So, unfortunately for us all, your statement is accurate in the context of present day America (although America is hardly alone in this). But, it is not historically accurate. My hope is that we can re-install Christianity with the open-mindedness that historically has characterized it's approach to scriptural interpretation. (Where needed, of course. Not everyone is Pat Robertson.)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments on "Religion v. Science: Not So Much"


post a comment

View My Stats
Politics Blogs
Start Blogging