Science and religion



The relationship between science and religion has a long history of tensions. When we confine ourselves to Western culture, the first tension arose when in Greece philosophical and scientific explanations began to compete with mythological ones. Usually the latter are called ‘irrational’, whereas the former are considered to be ‘rational’, but that distinction is incorrect. In its own way the mythological explanation is also rational. The real difference between the two kinds of explanation is that myth explained the phenomena by referring to divine activity, whereas science refers to internal and external natural causes. The latter causes, however, could not explain everything. As a result the realm of mythological explanations did not completely disappear, but it became more limited. Perhaps it did not entirely disappear because, at that time, the scientific explanations were de facto deficient, or was this an indication of more fundamental problems?


Scientific Explanation Christian Faith Greek Philosophy Eternal Life Actual Conflict 
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References and note

  1. 1a.
    They are rear-guard actions, not only from the side of fundamentalists, but also from the scientific side. See for example J. Monod, Le hasard et la nécessité, essai sur la philosophie naturelle de la biologie moderne, Éditions du Seuil, Paris 1970Google Scholar
  2. 1b.
    English translation: Chance and Necessity, Collins, London 1972.Google Scholar
  3. 1c.
    Compare also E. Schoffeniels, L’anti-hasard, Gauthiers-Villars, Paris 1973; English translation: Anti-chance, Pergamon Press, Oxford 1976.Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    A. Kuyper, Calvinism. Six Stone-lectures, Amsterdam-Pretoria 1898, p. 176. T.F. Torrance, theologian, Professor emeritus of Christian dogmatics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, ScotlandGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Katholieke Universiteit NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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