The Reconciliation of Science and Religion


By Brooke Ekstrom

By Brooke Ekstrom

The reconciliation of science and religion may seem unlikely to some. Though the Renaissance period grew alongside the Reformation, and advancements in science during that time were largely pioneered by men of faith, science began to deviate from faith during the Enlightenment period. I suppose that the divergence of science and faith that began in the Enlightenment period is somewhat like the Protestant movement separating from the Catholic Church.

As one grew alongside the other, however, and both having roots in the same soil, it is inevitable that separation cannot be complete or total.

To the chagrin of modern materialists, the connection cannot and will not be severed.

Many atheists would of course embrace the idea that science can falsify religious claims. However, if this is the case, then religion may fall within the purview of science. The claim that religion and science may overlap is a claim that atheists have fought vigorously in the courts to reject. The reason for this is that if science can falsify religious claims, then it is also conceivable that it can give evidence for the truth of religious claims.

It is also maintained that science deals only with the physical world as its subject matter. While this is a methodological statement, many believe that science only deals with the physical world because that is all that exists. However, this is not a statement of science; instead, it is a philosophical statement that can neither be verified through the senses nor falsified through reason. Alvin Plantinga, J.P. Moreland, and several other philosophers of science have written extensively on this understanding of science. The problem with this materialistic criterion is that it fails its own test. That is, definitions are not physical, concepts are not physical, and meaning is not physical, and these things are what the materialist uses to define science. Therefore, if definitions, concepts, and meaning exist, then not everything that exists is physical.

Of course one could believe that non-physical reality exists, but claim that science merely deals with the physical attributes of the world. That is all well and good, but would merely suggest that religion and science do not talk to each other. Yet, as shown above, one could clearly use science to show certain religious beliefs to be false. And, as I also mentioned earlier, if one can used scientific fields to disprove religious claims, science may also be used to justify the beliefs of many religious claims.

From the blog post, Is Science the Enemy of Religion?, written by Shannon Holzer.

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