Description : The story of the “conflict thesis” between science and religion—the notion of perennial conflict or warfare between the two—is part of our modern self-understanding. As the story goes, John William Draper (1811–1882) and Andrew Dickson White (1832–1918) constructed dramatic narratives in the nineteenth century that cast religion as the relentless enemy of scientific progress. And yet, despite its resilience in popular culture, historians today have largely debunked the conflict thesis. Unravelling its origins, James Ungureanu argues that Draper and White actually hoped their narratives would preserve religious belief. For them, science was ultimately a scapegoat for a much larger and more important argument dating back to the Protestant Reformation, where one theological tradition was pitted against another—a more progressive, liberal, and diffusive Christianity against a more traditional, conservative, and orthodox Christianity. By the mid-nineteenth century, narratives of conflict between “science and religion” were largely deployed between contending theological schools of thought. However, these narratives were later appropriated by secularists, freethinkers, and atheists as weapons against all religion. By revisiting its origins, development, and popularization, Ungureanu ultimately reveals that the “conflict thesis” was just one of the many unintended consequences of the Protestant Reformation.
Description : Examining accounts in which scientific advances clashed with Christian doctrine or biblical interpretations of the day, from Galileo and the Copernican Revolution, to the medical breakthroughs of anesthesia and inoculation, Russell points to the constant upheaval and reevaluation of our systems of belief throughout history. In turn, he identifies where similar debates between modern science and the Church still exist today.
Description : Reading Christian Theology in the Protestant Tradition offers a distinctive approach to the value of classic works through the lens of Protestantism. While it is anachronistic to speak of Christian theology prior to the Reformation as “Protestant”, it is wholly appropriate to recognize how certain common Protestant concerns can be discerned in the earliest traditions of Christianity. The resonances between the ages became both informative and inspiring for Protestants who looked back to pre-reformation sources for confirmation, challenge, and insight. Thus this book begins with the first Christian theologians, covering nearly 2000 years of theological writing from the Didache, Justin Martyr, and Origen to James Cone, José Míguez Bonino, and Sallie McFague. Five major periods of church history are represented in 12 key works, each carefully explained and interpreted by an expert in the field.
Description : That the longstanding antagonism between science and religion is irreconcilable has been taken for granted. And in the wake of recent controversies over teaching intelligent design and the ethics of stem-cell research, the divide seems as unbridgeable as ever. In Science vs. Religion, Elaine Howard Ecklund investigates this unexamined assumption in the first systematic study of what scientists actually think and feel about religion. In the course of her research, Ecklund surveyed nearly 1,700 scientists and interviewed 275 of them. She finds that most of what we believe about the faith lives of elite scientists is wrong. Nearly 50 percent of them are religious. Many others are what she calls "spiritual entrepreneurs," seeking creative ways to work with the tensions between science and faith outside the constraints of traditional religion. The book centers around vivid portraits of 10 representative men and women working in the natural and social sciences at top American research universities. Ecklund's respondents run the gamut from Margaret, a chemist who teaches a Sunday-school class, to Arik, a physicist who chose not to believe in God well before he decided to become a scientist. Only a small minority are actively hostile to religion. Ecklund reveals how scientists-believers and skeptics alike-are struggling to engage the increasing number of religious students in their classrooms and argues that many scientists are searching for "boundary pioneers" to cross the picket lines separating science and religion. With broad implications for education, science funding, and the thorny ethical questions surrounding stem-cell research, cloning, and other cutting-edge scientific endeavors, Science vs. Religion brings a welcome dose of reality to the science and religion debates.
Description : Galileo. Newton. Darwin. These giants are remembered for their great contributions to science. Often forgotten, however, is the profound influence that Christianity had on their lives and work. This study explores the many ways in which religion—its ideas, attitudes, practices, and institutions—interacted with science from the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution to the end of the nineteenth century. Both scientists and persons of faith sometimes characterize the relationship between science and religion as confrontational. Historian Richard G. Olson finds instead that the interactions between science and religion in Western Christendom have been complex, often mutually supportive, even transformative. This book explores those interactions by focusing on a sequence of major religious and intellectual movements—from Christian Humanist efforts to turn science from a primarily contemplative exercise to an activity aimed at improving the quality of human life, to the widely varied Christian responses to Darwinian ideas in both Europe and North America during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Description : If the discovery of life elsewhere in the universe is just around the corner, what would be the consequences for religion? Would it represent another major conflict between science and religion, even leading to the death of faith? Some would suggest that the discovery of any suggestion of extraterrestrial life would have a greater impact than even the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions. It is now over 50 years since the first modern scientific papers were published on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Yet the religious implications of this search and possible discovery have never been systematically addressed in the scientific or theological arena. SETI is now entering its most important era of scientific development. New observation techniques are leading to the discovery of extra-solar planets daily, and the Kepler mission has already collected over 1000 planetary candidates. This deluge of data is transforming the scientific and popular view of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Earth-like planets outside of our solar system can now be identified and searched for signs of life. Now is a crucial time to assess the scientific and theological questions behind this search. This book sets out the scientific arguments undergirding SETI, with particular attention to the uncertainties in arguments and the strength of the data already assembled. It assesses not only the discovery of planets but other areas such as the Fermi paradox, the origin and evolution of intelligent life, and current SETI strategies. In all of this it reflects on how these questions are shaped by history and pop culture and their relationship with religion, especially Christian theology. It is argued that theologians need to take seriously SETI and to examine some central doctrines such as creation, incarnation, revelation, and salvation in the light of the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
Description : A Liberal Catholic Bioethics opens a new dialogue between Christian reasoning and belief and secular positions in bioethics. The well documented book covers in detail internal and external debates and positions of Roman Catholic theology and hierarchy: issues of contraception and abortion, palliative care and euthanasia, caring humanely for the demented, the use and abuse of modern technology in medicine. The doctrine of Papal infalliability is identified as a main reason in hindering and suppressing a dialogue within the church, with the faithful and with other religious and humanist positions. Were the Borgia Popes infalliable, was Pope Urban infalliabe when he condemned Gallileo, the author asks. He thus carries the debate far beyond specific bioethics issues towards a more humane medicine and culture.
Description : The five-volume Oxford History of Dissenting Protestant Traditions series is governed by a motif of migration ('out-of-England'). It first traces organized church traditions that arose in England as Dissenters distanced themselves from a state church defined by diocesan episcopacy, the Book of Common Prayer, the Thirty-Nine Articles, and royal supremacy, but then follows those traditions as they spread beyond England -and also traces newer traditions that emerged downstream in other parts of the world from earlier forms of Dissent. Secondly, it does the same for the doctrines, church practices, stances toward state and society, attitudes toward Scripture, and characteristic patterns of organization that also originated in earlier English Dissent, but that have often defined a trajectory of influence independent ecclesiastical organizations. The Oxford History of Protestant Dissenting Traditions, Volume II charts the development of protestant Dissent between the passing of the Toleration Act (1689) and the repealing of the Test and Corporation Acts (1828). The long eighteenth century was a period in which Dissenters slowly moved from a position of being a persecuted minority to achieving a degree of acceptance and, eventually, full political rights. The first part of the volume considers the history of various dissenting traditions inside England. There are separate chapters devoted to Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists and Quakers--the denominations that traced their history before this period--and also to Methodists, who emerged as one of the denominations of 'New Dissent' during the eighteenth century. The second part explores that ways in which these traditions developed outside England. It considers the complexities of being a Dissenter in Wales and Ireland, where the state church was Episcopalian, as well as in Scotland, where it was Presbyterian. It also looks at the development of Dissent across the Atlantic, where the relationship between church and state was rather looser. Part three is devoted to revivalist movements and their impact, with a particular emphasis on the importance of missionary societies for spreading protestant Christianity from the late eighteenth century onwards. The fourth part looks at Dissenters' relationship to the British state and their involvement in the campaigns to abolish the slave trade. The final part discusses how Dissenters lived: the theology they developed and their attitudes towards scripture; the importance of both sermons and singing; their involvement in education and print culture and the ways in which they expressed their faith materially through their buildings.