Four hundred years ago most physical scientists held strong faith in God as Creator. In the United Kingdom, Germany and several other European nations their religion was largely biblical Christianity, and because of the result of the very successful Reformation (c. 1550 -1650) of the Church from the teachings of the corrupt Church of Rome, many in the post-Reformation period were protestant Bible believers. Nevertheless, during the Renaissance period (14th to 17th centuries), under the auspices of the pope and the Church of Rome, science was nurtured and innovative advances made by some, for example, Nicolas Copernicus (1473 – 1543), who developed the idea of a heliocentric universe. That hypothesis was supported by Galileo (1564 – 1642) who inferred from his observations of the moons of Jupiter that Earth also must orbit the sun.
Role of belief in God in science
The Bible never taught the notion of a stationary Earth and an absolute geocentric universe. Galileo had the pope’s approval to explore the idea of heliocentrism and showed that it was compatible with the Bible. It was in fact the belief in the trustworthiness of the Scriptures and stationarity of natural law because it was the product of a divine Creator that inspired great scientists like Newton, Kepler, Copernicus and Galileo to seek elegant yet simple answers to great questions about our universe.
Because of the development of the Christian faith, especially post-Reformation Protestantism, there was a rapid development of universities in England and in the colonies, specifically in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Those universities actually started as Bible colleges, with a goal to train men to enter the ministry of preaching and teaching the gospel. Cambridge and Oxford universities in the England were so established. To become a Master (one who instructed the students) one was required to eventually enter the clergy of the Church of England, as well as one was prohibited from marrying. This was what was expected of Isaac Newton, though he never did enter the clergy. After some period of time he was required to do so, but he sought, and obtained, an exemption from the King allowing him to remain at Oxford for some 21 years mostly doing research, but with required teaching duties.
Newton believed in a divine Creator and often gave credit to Him in terms of his discoveries in science. The mindset was commonplace back then, such was the influence of the newly translated English Bible on the society and academia in general. But through the passage of time from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first century that situation changed significantly. The publication, on November 24th 1859, of Charles Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species” gave a big impetus to the change, the trend away from orthodox biblical beliefs.
Religion in universities now
From my experience in universities over several decades (1970 to 2015) I would say that Western universities are now primarily dominated by atheistic humanistic philosophies. And though there is representation of various religions in universities there is one religious/philosophical worldview now that is not tolerated, and that is biblical Christianity. By that I mean the biblical creationist interpretation of the Scriptures, known as YEC (Young Earth Creationism), which was the view held by Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Galileo, Michael Faraday and many more great scientists.
In today’s universities religions are promoted as well as philosophies with religious underpinnings, like those of the New Age movement, which are really Buddhism and Hinduism. Even Islam is tolerated, often promoted, with its seventh century subjugation of women, and barbaric practices (FGM, death to apostates, homosexuals etc). Yet biblical teachings like a 6000-year age for the Universe and our planet Earth along with the teachings of original sin, a literal Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden etc are deplored.
Pagan occultic religions including wicca (witchcraft) are now permitted, in the name of tolerance, but biblical creationist beliefs are labelled pseudo-science. Some even claim YEC creationism to be dangerous. I have heard professors state that it will destroy the education of the next generation. One professor at my old university, where I was tenured, speaking to a group of his colleagues, said “people like John Hartnett should not be allowed to teach in this university.” The inference was that my biblical creationist worldview is dangerous. (Yeah, right! What’s wrong with some critical thinking?) The excellent Ben Stein documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” gives many examples of those in America who lost their jobs over voicing a belief in a Creator or in Intelligent Design, which is not even biblical creationism. This is how deep the feelings run.
Mother Earth and Gaianism (religion based in an intuitive knowledge of humanity’s connection with the earth — also known as Gaia — based on a primal titan from Greek mythology) among other New Age mystical beliefs are widespread among university staff.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin1 (1881 -1955) was a French Jesuit priest and philosopher, a paleontologist and geologist, who took part in the discovery of Peking Man. He believed and promoted pagan mystical ideas including that evolution unfolded from cell to organism to planet to solar system and ultimately the whole universe, as we humans see it from our limited perspective. Teilhard influenced many Catholic humanist thinkers of the 20th century. He taught what could only be described as New Age philosophies.
Another Roman Catholic Belgian Jesuit priest, Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître2 (1894 – 1966), taught the same sort of pagan philosophy but this time dressed up more like science, i.e. cosmology, though I would argue that it is not science. Independently of the atheist Alexander Friedman, he found a solution of Einstein’s cosmological field equations that described an expanding universe. Friedman’s universe expanded out of ‘nothing’, but Lemaître’s had a biblical theme (it had an origin in time) and he had it start off from a ‘primeval egg’. His notion included a creator of sort, but one that was not personal, who did not intervene in His creation. That is little different from Gaianism.
Do we see a hint of a trend here? Unregenerate Jesuit priests, from the false Church, used of the dark side to promote, as science, the pagan idea that the Universe essentially made itself. Give it billions of years and slow and gradual processes and everything will just evolve, they say. “We are here aren’t we?” And because a personal Creator is excluded, a priori, this idea is strongly promoted.
Anything is acceptable except biblical Christianity. And what I mean by that is if you profess to being a Christian, that may be ok until you mention that the Bible describes the correct history of the Creation of the Universe and all life in it, about 6000 years ago, by the direct agency of the omnipotent Creator God. Then you’ll be ignored or even worse, ostracized. But as long as you adopt theistic evolution and billions of years for the age of the solar system (including the earth) and the Universe you’ll be at least partially tolerated.
Religion in science
This leads us to the religion in science today. By definition a creator is excluded. Hence the atheistic humanist belief system is what dominates. The adherents genuinely believe that they do not hold to any religion. They say they have no religion but only trust in science, and that it is self-correcting and always finds the truth. By virtue of what a religion is, it follows that that belief system is a religion. It is ultimately the religion of man himself — that mankind can and will eventually find all truth without any revelation from the Creator.
Those who hold to the belief of atheism have fallen for the same lie that Satan first spoke to Adam and Eve in their Garden paradise. He said:
…You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:5, KJVER)
The lure of science, really scientism, the lure of finding new knowledge is the new drug. Satan essentially said “you are god”, which is effectively the same teaching as Hinduism, Buddhism and the occult. Today these religions have been repackaged in New Age philosophies, like Transcendental Meditation, yoga, Reiki, crystal healing, holistic medicine etc.
But no Genesis Creator God is allowed. Theistic evolution is ok, “old” earth is ok, as long as the adapted (compromised) religion allows for the origin of the Universe and the origin and evolution of all living things according to the dictates of so-called “science”
In all this the Christian church has been “sold down the river.” Besides the older mainstream protestant and Roman Catholic churches who a long time ago compromised the true history and essential truths of the Bible, the evangelical churches have now fallen for the Devil’s lie. Believing they would maintain credibility with the world they joined the world, and compromised the plain straightforward meaning of the Scriptures, starting with the book of Genesis. They turned over their universities to the theories of man, and as a result those universities now reject the very teachings upon which they were originally founded.
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, wikipedia, accessed 15 June 2015
- Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître, wikipedia, accessed 15 June 2015
One reply on “Religion in science”
God bless you John.