How Christianity created science

Sometimes we are told that empirical science is a natural result of our observation and interpretation of the natural world, and that it was not born until the seventeenth century only because ideological prejudices, mainly in the form of religious doctrines, prevented its development. This idea is often associated with a positivist way of thinking that associates religion with primitive stages of humankind and sees modern empirical science as the obvious result of substituting observation and logic for religion. The historical record, however, is more complex and shows that the peculiar combination of the explanatory and predictive features in empirical science was a very difficult outcome that required a great dose of faith in the possibility of science. It also shows that religion, and especially Christianity, played a very important role in providing the kind of faith necessary for the beginning of modern science: a faith in the existence of the ontological presuppositions of science (the existence of a natural order) and of the epistemological presuppositions as well (the human ability to know natural order).

Modern empirical science found its only viable birth as a self-sustained enterprise in the seventeenth century, in a Western European world that, even if tormented by religious disputes, shared in unison the faith in the existence of a personal God who is the creator of the universe and of human beings. The universe, as the work of an infinitely wise, omnipotent, and benevolent God, was seen as an ordered world, and the human being, as a creature who participates in the personal character of God, was seen as capable of knowing that rational world and as having received from God the commandment to know and master it. Although pieces of natural science existed in ancient times, its modern systematic birth was only possible because for a long period many people displayed great ingenuity in their search for explanations about natural phenomena, guided by their faith in the existence of a natural order that could be uncovered by man.

Mariano Artigas, Mind Of The Universe: Understanding Science & Religion, pp. 182-3

One thought on “How Christianity created science”

  1. Let us not forget that Empiricism is a self-refuting epistemology. The proposition that all knowledge comes through sense experience is not itself known through sense experience. The problem of induction has not, and cannot be solved without acceptance, by faith, of the necessary preconditions provided only by the Triune Christian worldview. Science assumes of the validity of empirical observation, induction, and causation by faith, for their validity cannot be defended without circular reasoning, and as a result are illogical in themselves. The materialist worldview is inherently self-refuting, and requires a leap of faith greater than belief in the only wordlview which provides the necessary preconditions for the intelligibility of things like universal abstract laws (e.g., logic), and the validity of induction, the causal principle, the uniformity of nature, and so on.

    Every argument against the existence of the Christian God must first borrow from the Christian worldview in order to make sense out of argumentation itself. Everyone borrows from the Christian worldview in order to make sense out of their own worldviews. When we say God fills all things, when we say that His energy is present everywhere we include the very thought of man who is utterly dependent on God even in his reasoning about God.

    The atheist must sit on God's lap in order to slap God in the face.

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