Science and faith

Society of Ordained Scientists (a cross surrounded by the DNA double helix)

I’m a member of the Society of Ordained Scientists, a community of (mainly) Anglican and Methodist ministers who also have a a qualification and/or experience at a professional level of science or technology. As a community, we therefore obviously believe in the compatibility of scientific discovery and our Christian faith.

So, I was pleased to see the article by Mehdi Hasan in the New Statesman called ‘God need not be the enemy of science’. Hasan is the senior editor (politics) of the New Statesman who writes in response to the guest editor, Richard Dawkins. In his excellent article, Hasan lists some of the leading scientists who were and are believers, including the theoretical physicist John Polkinghorne who is also a member of the Society.

Hasan argues that to state that science is incompatible with belief in God is historical nonsense, ignores the many scientists who are believers, and is unnecessarily divisive. He concludes: “science belongs to us all. The biggest threat to science and scientific progress is not religion or religious believers, with our superstitious or supernatural beliefs, but the arrogance of those atheist fundamentalists among the scientific community who believe that science is the only legitimate and conceivable way to explain or understand the world – and who antagonise a sceptical public in the process.”

What’s encouraging is that this message does seem to becoming more widely known. In a recent leader article, the Guardian argued: “In the new century’s age of uncertainty, the Christian tradition must not be allowed to become the preserve either of fundamentalists or of the right. But that requires progressives who are also atheists to turn down the volume and acknowledge the contribution of Christian thinking. Peace on earth, goodwill to all.” Amen.

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