Why do People say Science is Incompatible with Religion and Faith These Days?

Why do People say Science is Incompatible with Religion and Faith These Days?

I think because of misunderstandings regarding scripture. There is a trend in some modern evangelical circles to have a very literal reading of the first 11 chapters of Genesis, including the genealogies. I think this surprises a lot of Catholics who grew up learning Aquinas, and did not know “young earthers” existed. For example, an evangelical has told me before that dinosaurs died out because they couldn’t fit on Noah’s Ark. There is also the Creation Museum in Kentucky that attempts to show the world is only 6,000 years old and that humans and dinosaurs lived together.

These 6,000 year old earth people have generated headlines. Unfortunately, young earth theories have played into New Atheism (which really should be call the old atheism, just repackaged). Secular people see this and assume that all Christians believe this way. This reinforces their view that to be religious, one must not believe in science.

Unfortunately, a lot of Protestants just avoid the entire topic for fear that if they are too into science, it will hurt their faith. Considering the long tradition of faith and science in Catholicism, I love the work that Catholic apologists are doing to counter the New Atheism. It is much needed.

Killer post. Hits the nail right on the head. Whereas the Catholic Church has put up with much flack as a result of Galileo and Copernicus, it has really become a stalwart for defending science as of late.

It depends on which religion. Science isn’t incompatible with Catholicism. I recommend this website link as proof: Magis Center of Reason and Faith

The reason is that they are smugly ignorant pseudo intellectuals who are merely parroting something they read somewhere without understanding it.
Talking to such people is a waste of time, because this type of person could never admit, to themselves or to others, that they are wrong. This concept is only popular amongst college undergraduates.
The idea that religion and science don’t agree with each other is a 19th century(1800’s) concept that has long ago been disproven and is not worth arguing about

Re. the “first 11 chapters of Genesis, including the genealogies” literal/non literal.

If you pick and choose which bits to take literally and which spiritually then you need a criteria for deciding how to do this.

Should we take the resurrection literally or non literally?

From a scientific viewpoint to raise yourself from the dead and ascend to heaven is not possible.

For one thing gravity keeps us on the ground. :slight_smile:

However this is the central belief of Christianity, so all churches and Christians must take this literally.

Muhammed ascended to heaven on a winged horse, and false gods like Sol Invictus rode around the sky in a firey chariot , but we dont believe those stories.

So how can we decide which of these stories is myth and which is a historical event?

By taking into account the metaphysical and moral teaching of Jesus with its profound effect on human civilisation that is demonstrated by the universal acceptance of the principles of liberty, equality and - above all -** fraternity.

I’ve met hoards of Catholic young earth creationists and ID fans on CAF, along with geocentrists, people who think dinosaurs lived alongside humans, believers in alien abductions and mind reading, 9/11 conspiracy theories and so on.

The common factor isn’t Catholic vs. Protestant, it’s that all these things are as American as apple pie. That’s why the Vatican is immune - it’s not American.

For many such people Science has become their God, instead of God. They have been fooled into thinking that only science can help them, cure them, save them or protect them, or even make them immortal. God is a secondary thought for them, not a primary belief.

I am a scientist, and for me the sciences do more to prove the existence of God than otherwise. And putting God first, changes how one views their respective field of science and how it should or should not be used.

Science isn’t incompatible with religion. Scientism; however, is incompatible with Christianity, IMO.

Because they do not understand the word “interpretation”.

Agreed. Young earth is an American thing that has spread somewhat into the American Catholic Church. However, I think it is still a very small minority view.


I believe people say this about Science & Religion because is all about Relativism. People in general are taught if you can’t see it and feel it/ analyze it, then it can’t exist. Which is obviously a bunch of non-sense supported by junk science.

Fr Robert Barron has spoken extensively on this very subject. If I can find the link I’ll post it. But in general, he shreds it! :slight_smile:

It’s a response to anit-science attitude in many protestant circles. I don’t think it is any simpler than this. There has very rarely been in the Church anti-science feelings. Many protestants today think that Genesis 1 is history and take it literalistically, but St. Gregory was saying it was symbolic well before we had the idea of the universe being billions of years old, humans being hundreds of thousands of years old, the earth being millions of years old. I really do believe that this anti-science attitude in some Christian circles is a modern development and it has no connection to ancient developments.

But you have to approach science and religion this way

  1. science and religion are different they can’t say anything about each other in most cases. Religion mostly deals with theology and theology deals with things of God while Science deals with things of the universe. Scientific findings can’t prove or disprove theological insights.
  2. the Church has always tried to work with science and philosophy to deepen our own insights in theology. Read JPII’s letter to the vatican observatory on this issue.
  3. those who use science to “disprove” religion is taking science beyond its limitation. Science cannot prove or disprove the existence of a God or a creator.
  4. those in religion who make statements limiting science or trying to put science into their own theological world view is going beyond the limits of theology or religion.
  5. Science and religion should work together for a common goal but at the same time they must both preserve their autonomy.

Scientism is incompatible with science, because it is taking science and making philosophical arguments, which is beyond the limited scope of science. Science cannot be a religion and making it a religion takes it beyond science.

Because they don’t understand either.

Actually, some version of “young earth” has been around for a very long time.

Exactly my point. I believe the “anti-science” attitudes addressed are actually attitudes about scientism. Scientism and real science have been mushed together over the last century and are almost inseparable today. Many people out the admire science for what it is and what it is supposed to be, but have disdain for what it has become. “Science” has become a modern religion for all too many people in contradiction to Chrisianity. Even worse, a lot of people don’t or can’t distinguish between them so they allow a mixture of them all to occur.

IMO, science is one of the greatest endeavors of the human race, but that is where it ends. It can only answer what it can answer. Everything else is mere speculation.

Over 25 years ago I had a friend ask me how I could believe and God and be a scientist at the same time. He found the two incompatible. I asked him, that when he died what would be left behind of him, or what materials we were made of according to science.

He responded that we were made of water, minerals, iron, gold, calcium, salt etc. I asked what gave us our conscience, what made us think and reason. He could only say some sort of chemical reactions, society, learning. And so we kept talking. Eventually I asked him, if he could take all the water, gold, calcium, salt, iron etc, that comprised the contents of our dead bodies, mix them together and add energy to them, if he could make that mixture live, reason, think, plan or have a conscience. He said no.

Ultimately he seemed to see that one could believe in God and science if they understood that science could not create or make something that God could. Just going through the the thought process of having to figure out how to turn a collection of non-living minerals and water into something that was alive seemed to help him see that it was possible to believe in God and be a scientist. I further told him that for me science only made it more evident that there had to be a God, specifically because of how miraculous human creation and development was.

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