Register for FREE now (click here) and you will get the following:
It is completely free and very easy to register, so Register now.
Do scientific discoveries force religion to retreat because it eliminates natural mysteries? That seems to be a common argument against religion and this argument will tend to lead to the belief that an increase in scientific knowledge should result in a decrease in religious belief.
Is this argument divorced from reality however?
Historically the answer has been "no." As Rodney Stark has shown in several recent writings, science itself is an experiment testing a prediction of religion. Christian theism, unlike all other world religions and philosophies*, saw rationality in God the creator, and began to test the possibility that God's creation could be understood rationally.
What may be too easily forgotten, though, is that Western Christians did not choose belief in God because of mysteries of disease and weather. They saw his hand in such things--with some naivete, to be sure--but they did not build their theology on natural mysteries. Belief in God was based on the historical record of his workings with Israel, the life of Christ and the early church, and the tradition of church history, not to mention believers' personal experience of God. An impressive body of thought built up over the centuries as theologians and philosophers (most notably Thomas Aquinas) explored rational arguments for God.
Dr. Forrest and others apparently view religion as nothing but a foolish and simple set of explanations of natural mysteries. If this were true, then the advance of science might be a real defeater for religion, but it's a very skewed vision of what theistic belief is about. Religious belief comes primarily from other sources of knowledge. Still, "all truth is God's truth," as the saying goes, and all knowledge is a glimpse of the knowledge of God.
The early theistic scientists said, "If we study we can understand the world better, and thus know God more deeply." The naturalist viewpoint is independent, proud; it insists on knowing it all or not even trying. The theistic viewpoint says, "we can learn what we can learn from science and be grateful for the knowledge; and if it leads us beyond itself, so much the better."
What is different today?