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Most sources of knowledge available to early Christians were connected to pagan world-views. There were various opinions on how Christianity should regard pagan learning, which included its ideas about nature. For instance, among early Christian teachers, Tertullian (c. 160–220) held a generally negative opinion of Greek philosophy, while Origen (c. 185–254) regarded it much more favorably and required his students to read nearly every work available to them.
Historically, Christianity has been and still is a patron of sciences. It has been prolific in the foundation of schools, universities and hospitals, and many clergy have been active in the sciences. Historians of science such as Pierre Duhem credit medieval Catholic mathematicians and philosophers such as John Buridan, Nicole Oresme and Roger Bacon as the founders of modern science.Duhem concluded that "the mechanics and physics of which modern times are justifiably proud to proceed, by an uninterrupted series of scarcely perceptible improvements, from doctrines professed in the heart of the medieval schools".
Earlier attempts at reconciliation of Christianity with Newtonian mechanics appear quite different from later attempts at reconciliation with the newer scientific ideas of evolution or relativity.Many early interpretations of evolution polarized themselves around a struggle for existence. These ideas were significantly countered by later findings of universal patterns of biological cooperation. According to John Habgood, all man really knows here is that the universe seems to be a mix of good and evil, beauty and pain, and that suffering may somehow be part of the process of creation. Habgood holds that Christians should not be surprised that suffering may be used creatively by God, given their faith in the symbol of the Cross. Robert John Russell has examined consonance and dissonance between modern physics, evolutionary biology, and Christian theology.
Christian philosophers Augustine of Hippo (354–430) and Thomas Aquinasheld that scriptures can have multiple interpretations on certain areas where the matters were far beyond their reach, therefore one should leave room for future findings to shed light on the meanings. The "Handmaiden" tradition, which saw secular studies of the universe as a very important and helpful part of arriving at a better understanding of scripture, was adopted throughout Christian history from early on. Also the sense that God created the world as a self operating system is what motivated many Christians throughout the Middle Ages to investigate nature.
Modern historians of science such as J.L. Heilbron,Alistair Cameron Crombie, David Lindberg, Edward Grant, Thomas Goldstein, and Ted Davis have reviewed the popular notion that medieval Christianity was a negative influence in the development of civilization and science. In their views, not only did the monks save and cultivate the remnants of ancient civilization during the barbarian invasions, but the medieval church promoted learnings and science through its sponsorship of many universities which, under its leadership, grew rapidly in Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries. St. Thomas Aquinas, the Church's "model theologian", not only argued that reason is in harmony with faith, he even recognized that reason can contribute to understanding revelation, and so encouraged intellectual development. He was not unlike other medieval theologians who sought out reason in the effort to defend his faith. Some of today's scholars, such as Stanley Jaki, have claimed that Christianity with its particular worldview, was a crucial factor for the emergence of modern science.
David C. Lindberg states that the widespread popular belief that the Middle Ages was a time of ignorance and superstition due to the Christian church is a "caricature". According to Lindberg, while there are some portions of the classical tradition which suggest this view, these were exceptional cases. It was common to tolerate and encourage critical thinking about the nature of the world. The relation between Christianity and science is complex and cannot be simplified to either harmony or conflict, according to Lindberg.Lindberg reports that "the late medieval scholar rarely experienced the coercive power of the church and would have regarded himself as free (particularly in the natural sciences) to follow reason and observation wherever they led. There was no warfare between science and the church." Ted Peters in Encyclopedia of Religion writes that although there is some truth in the "Galileo's condemnation" story but through exaggerations, it has now become "a modern myth perpetuated by those wishing to see warfare between science and religion who were allegedly persecuted by an atavistic and dogma-bound ecclesiastical authority". In 1992, the Catholic Church's seeming vindication of Galileo attracted much comment in the media.
A degree of concord between science and religion can be seen in religious belief and empirical science. The belief that God created the world and therefore humans, can lead to the view that he arranged for humans to know the world. This is underwritten by the doctrine of imago dei. In the words of Thomas Aquinas, "Since human beings are said to be in the image of God in virtue of their having a nature that includes an intellect, such a nature is most in the image of God in virtue of being most able to imitate God".
During the Enlightenment, a period "characterized by dramatic revolutions in science" and the rise of Protestant challenges to the authority of the Catholic Church via individual liberty, the authority of Christian scriptures became strongly challenged. As science advanced, acceptance of a literal version of the Bible became "increasingly untenable" and some in that period presented ways of interpreting scripture according to its spirit on its authority and truth.
In recent history, the theory of evolution has been at the center of controversy between Christianity and science, largely in America. Christians who accept a literal interpretation of the biblical account of creation find incompatibility between Darwinian evolution and their interpretation of the Christian faith.Creation science or scientific creationism is a branch of creationism that attempts to provide scientific support for the Genesis creation narrative in the Book of Genesis and attempts to disprove generally accepted scientific facts, theories and scientific paradigms about the geological history of Earth, cosmology, the chemical origins of life and biological evolution. It began in the 1960s as a fundamentalist Christian effort in the United States to prove Biblical inerrancy and falsify the scientific evidence for evolution. It has since developed a sizable religious following in the United States, with creation science ministries branching worldwide. In 1925, The State of Tennessee passed the Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of the theory of evolution in all schools in the state. Later that year, a similar law was passed in Mississippi, and likewise, Arkansas in 1927. In 1968, these "anti-monkey" laws were struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States as unconstitutional, "because they established a religious doctrine violating both the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution.
Most scientists have rejected creation science for several reasons, including that its claims do not refer to natural causes and cannot be tested. In 1987, the United States Supreme Court ruled that creationism is religion, not science, and cannot be advocated in public school classrooms.
Theistic evolution is a discipline that accepts the current scientific understanding of the age of the Earth and the theory of evolution. It includes a range of beliefs, including views described as evolutionary creationism, which accepts most findings of modern science but also upholds classical religious understandings of God and creation in Christian context.
According to Andrew Dickson White's A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom from the 19th century, a biblical worldview affected negatively the progress of science through time. Dickinson also argues that immediately following the Reformation matters were even worse. The interpretations of Scripture by Luther and Calvin became as sacred to their followers as the Scripture itself. For instance, when Georg Calixtus ventured, in interpreting the Psalms, to question the accepted belief that "the waters above the heavens" were contained in a vast receptacle upheld by a solid vault, he was bitterly denounced as heretical.Today, much of the scholarship in which the conflict thesis was originally based is considered to be inaccurate. For instance, the claim that early Christians rejected scientific findings by the Greco-Romans is false, since the "handmaiden" view of secular studies was seen to shed light on theology. This view was widely adapted throughout the early medieval period and afterwards by theologians (such as Augustine) and ultimately resulted in fostering interest in knowledge about nature through time. Also, the claim that people of the Middle Ages widely believed that the Earth was flat was first propagated in the same period that originated the conflict thesis and is still very common in popular culture. Modern scholars regard this claim as mistaken, as the contemporary historians of science David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers write: "there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [earth's] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference." From the fall of Rome to the time of Columbus, all major scholars and many vernacular writers interested in the physical shape of the earth held a spherical view with the exception of Lactantius and Cosmas.
H. Floris Cohen argued for a biblical Protestant, but not excluding Catholicism, influence on the early development of modern science.He presented Dutch historian R. Hooykaas' argument that a biblical world-view holds all the necessary antidotes for the hubris of Greek rationalism: a respect for manual labour, leading to more experimentation and empiricism, and a supreme God that left nature and open to emulation and manipulation. It supports the idea early modern science rose due to a combination of Greek and biblical thought.
Oxford historian Peter Harrison is another who has argued that a biblical worldview was significant for the development of modern science. Harrison contends that Protestant approaches to the book of scripture had significant, if largely unintended, consequences for the interpretation of the book of nature. [ page needed ] Harrison has also suggested that literal readings of the Genesis narratives of the Creation and Fall motivated and legitimated scientific activity in seventeenth-century England. For many of its seventeenth-century practitioners, science was imagined to be a means of restoring a human dominion over nature that had been lost as a consequence of the Fall. [ page needed ]
Historian and professor of religion Eugene M. Klaaren holds that "a belief in divine creation" was central to an emergence of science in seventeenth-century England. The philosopher Michael Foster has published analytical philosophy connecting Christian doctrines of creation with empiricism. Historian William B. Ashworth has argued against the historical notion of distinctive mind-sets and the idea of Catholic and Protestant sciences.Historians James R. Jacob and Margaret C. Jacob have argued for a linkage between seventeenth century Anglican intellectual transformations and influential English scientists (e.g., Robert Boyle and Isaac Newton). John Dillenberger and Christopher B. Kaiser have written theological surveys, which also cover additional interactions occurring in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Philosopher of Religion, Richard Jones, has written a philosophical critique of the "dependency thesis" which assumes that modern science emerged from Christian sources and doctrines. Though he acknowledges that modern science emerged in a religious framework, that Christianity greatly elevated the importance of science by sanctioning and religiously legitimizing it in medieval period, and that Christianity created a favorable social context for it to grow; he argues that direct Christian beliefs or doctrines were not primary source of scientific pursuits by natural philosophers, nor was Christianity, in and of itself, exclusively or directly necessary in developing or practicing modern science.
Oxford University historian and theologian John Hedley Brooke wrote that "when natural philosophers referred to laws of nature, they were not glibly choosing that metaphor. Laws were the result of legislation by an intelligent deity. Thus the philosopher René Descartes (1596–1650) insisted that he was discovering the "laws that God has put into nature." Later Newton would declare that the regulation of the solar system presupposed the "counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being."Historian Ronald L. Numbers stated that this thesis "received a boost" from mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead's Science and the Modern World (1925). Numbers has also argued, "Despite the manifest shortcomings of the claim that Christianity gave birth to science—most glaringly, it ignores or minimizes the contributions of ancient Greeks and medieval Muslims—it too, refuses to succumb to the death it deserves." The sociologist Rodney Stark of Baylor University, argued in contrast that "Christian theology was essential for the rise of science."
In Reconciling Science and Religion: The Debate in Early-twentieth-century Britain, historian of biology Peter J. Bowler argues that in contrast to the conflicts between science and religion in the U.S. in the 1920s (most famously the Scopes Trial), during this period Great Britain experienced a concerted effort at reconciliation, championed by intellectually conservative scientists, supported by liberal theologians but opposed by younger scientists and secularists and conservative Christians. These attempts at reconciliation fell apart in the 1930s due to increased social tensions, moves towards neo-orthodox theology and the acceptance of the modern evolutionary synthesis.
In the 20th century, several ecumenical organizations promoting a harmony between science and Christianity were founded, most notably the American Scientific Affiliation, The Biologos Foundation, Christians in Science, The Society of Ordained Scientists, and The Veritas Forum.
While refined and clarified over the centuries, the Catholic position on the relationship between science and religion is one of harmony, and has maintained the teaching of natural law as set forth by Thomas Aquinas. For example, regarding scientific study such as that of evolution, the church's unofficial position is an example of theistic evolution, stating that faith and scientific findings regarding human evolution are not in conflict, though humans are regarded as a special creation, and that the existence of God is required to explain both monogenism and the spiritual component of human origins. Catholic schools have included all manners of scientific study in their curriculum for many centuries.
Galileo once stated "The intention of the Holy Spirit is to teach us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go."In 1981, John Paul II, then pope of the Catholic Church, spoke of the relationship this way: "The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its make-up, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise, but in order to state the correct relationships of Man with God and with the universe. Sacred Scripture wishes simply to declare that the world was created by God, and in order to teach this truth it expresses itself in the terms of the cosmology in use at the time of the writer". The influence of the Church on Western letters and learning has been formidable. The ancient texts of the Bible have deeply influenced Western art, literature and culture. For centuries following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, small monastic communities were practically the only outposts of literacy in Western Europe. In time, the Cathedral schools developed into Europe's earliest universities and the church has established thousands of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions throughout the world in the centuries since. The Church and clergymen have also sought at different times to censor texts and scholars. Thus different schools of opinion exist as to the role and influence of the Church in relation to western letters and learning.
One view, first propounded by Enlightenment philosophers, asserts that the Church's doctrines are entirely superstitious and have hindered the progress of civilization. Communist states have made similar arguments in their education in order to inculcate a negative view of Catholicism (and religion in general) in their citizens. The most famous incidents cited by such critics are narratives of the Church in relation to Copernicus, Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler.
In opposition to this view, some historians of science, including non-Catholics such as J.L. Heilbron,A.C. Crombie, David Lindberg, Edward Grant, Thomas Goldstein, and Ted Davis, have argued that the Church had a significant, positive influence on the development of Western civilization. They hold that, not only did monks save and cultivate the remnants of ancient civilization during the barbarian invasions, but that the Church promoted learning and science through its sponsorship of many universities which, under its leadership, grew rapidly in Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries. St.Thomas Aquinas, the Church's "model theologian," argued that reason is in harmony with faith, and that reason can contribute to a deeper understanding of revelation, and so encouraged intellectual development. The Church's priest-scientists, many of whom were Jesuits, have been among the leading lights in astronomy, genetics, geomagnetism, meteorology, seismology, and solar physics, becoming some of the "fathers" of these sciences. Examples include important churchmen such as the Augustinian abbot Gregor Mendel (pioneer in the study of genetics), Roger Bacon (a Franciscan friar who was one of the early advocates of the scientific method), and Belgian priest Georges Lemaître (the first to propose the Big Bang theory). Other notable priest scientists have included Albertus Magnus, Robert Grosseteste, Nicholas Steno, Francesco Grimaldi, Giambattista Riccioli, Roger Boscovich, and Athanasius Kircher. Even more numerous are Catholic laity involved in science: Henri Becquerel who discovered radioactivity; Galvani, Volta, Ampere, Marconi, pioneers in electricity and telecommunications; Lavoisier, "father of modern chemistry"; Vesalius, founder of modern human anatomy; and Cauchy, one of the mathematicians who laid the rigorous foundations of calculus.
Throughout history many Catholic clerics have made significant contributions to science. These cleric-scientists include Nicolaus Copernicus, Gregor Mendel, Georges Lemaître, Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, Pierre Gassendi, Roger Joseph Boscovich, Marin Mersenne, Bernard Bolzano, Francesco Maria Grimaldi, Nicole Oresme, Jean Buridan, Robert Grosseteste, Christopher Clavius, Nicolas Steno, Athanasius Kircher, Giovanni Battista Riccioli, William of Ockham, and others. The Catholic Church has also produced many lay scientists and mathematicians.
The Jesuits have made numerous significant contributions to the development of science. For example, the Jesuits have dedicated significant study to earthquakes, and seismology has been described as "the Jesuit science".The Jesuits have been described as "the single most important contributor to experimental physics in the seventeenth century". According to Jonathan Wright in his book God's Soldiers, by the eighteenth century the Jesuits had "contributed to the development of pendulum clocks, pantographs, barometers, reflecting telescopes and microscopes, to scientific fields as various as magnetism, optics and electricity. They observed, in some cases before anyone else, the colored bands on Jupiter's surface, the Andromeda nebula and Saturn's rings. They theorized about the circulation of the blood (independently of Harvey), the theoretical possibility of flight, the way the moon affected the tides, and the wave-like nature of light."
The Jesuit China missions of the 16th and 17th centuries introduced Western science and astronomy, then undergoing its own revolution, to China. One modern historian writes that in late Ming courts, the Jesuits were "regarded as impressive especially for their knowledge of astronomy, calendar-making, mathematics, hydraulics, and geography".The Society of Jesus introduced, according to Thomas Woods, "a substantial body of scientific knowledge and a vast array of mental tools for understanding the physical universe, including the Euclidean geometry that made planetary motion comprehensible". Another expert quoted by Woods said the scientific revolution brought by the Jesuits coincided with a time when science was at a very low level in China.
Protestantism had an important influence on science. According to the Merton Thesis there was a positive correlation between the rise of Puritanism and Protestant Pietism on the one hand and early experimental science on the other.The Merton Thesis has two separate parts: Firstly, it presents a theory that science changes due to an accumulation of observations and improvement in experimental techniques and methodology; secondly, it puts forward the argument that the popularity of science in 17th-century England and the religious demography of the Royal Society (English scientists of that time were predominantly Puritans or other Protestants) can be explained by a correlation between Protestantism and the scientific values. In his theory, Robert K. Merton focused on English Puritanism and German Pietism as having been responsible for the development of the scientific revolution of the 17th and 18th centuries. Merton explained that the connection between religious affiliation and interest in science was the result of a significant synergy between the ascetic Protestant values and those of modern science. Protestant values encouraged scientific research by allowing science to study God's influence on the world and thus providing a religious justification for scientific research.
According of Scientific Elite: Nobel Laureates in the United States by Harriet Zuckerman, a review of American Nobel prizes winners awarded between 1901 and 1972, 72% of American Nobel Prize Laureates, have identified from Protestant background.Overall, Protestant have won a total of 84.2% of all the American Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, 60% in Medicine, 58.6% in Physics, between 1901 and 1972.
The Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, encouraged some values which may have been conducive to encouraging scientific talents. A theory suggested by David Hackett Fischer in his book Albion's Seed indicated early Quakers in the US preferred "practical study" to the more traditional studies of Greek or Latin popular with the elite. Another theory suggests their avoidance of dogma or clergy gave them a greater flexibility in response to science.
Despite those arguments a major factor is agreed to be that the Quakers were initially discouraged or forbidden to go to the major law or humanities schools in Britain due to the Test Act. They also at times faced similar discriminations in the United States, as many of the colonial universities had a Puritan or Anglican orientation. This led them to attend "Godless" institutions or forced them to rely on hands-on scientific experimentation rather than academia.
Because of these issues it has been stated Quakers are better represented in science than most religions. There are sources, Pendlehill ( Thomas 2000 ) Harv error: no target: CITEREFThomas2000 (help) and Encyclopædia Britannica, that indicate that for over two centuries they were overrepresented in the Royal Society. Mention is made of this possibility in studies referenced in religiosity and intelligence and in a book by Arthur Raistrick. Whether this is still accurate, there have been several noteworthy members of this denomination in science. The following names a few.
Christians (particularly Nestorian Christians) contributed to the Arab Islamic Civilization during the Ummayad and the Abbasid periods by translating works of Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards to Arabic.During the 4th through the 7th centuries, scholarly work in the Syriac and Greek languages was either newly initiated, or carried on from the Hellenistic period. Centers of learning and of transmission of classical wisdom included colleges such as the School of Nisibis, and later the School of Edessa, and the renowned hospital and medical academy of Jundishapur; libraries included the Library of Alexandria and the Imperial Library of Constantinople; other centers of translation and learning functioned at Merv, Salonika, Nishapur and Ctesiphon, situated just south of what later became Baghdad. The House of Wisdom was a library, translation institute, and academy established in Abbasid-era Baghdad, Iraq. Nestorians played a prominent role in the formation of Arab culture, with the Jundishapur school being prominent in the late Sassanid, Umayyad and early Abbasid periods. Notably, eight generations of the Nestorian Bukhtishu family served as private doctors to caliphs and sultans between the 8th and 11th centuries.
Many well-known historical figures who influenced Western science considered themselves Christian such as Copernicus,Galileo, Kepler, Newton and Boyle.
Isaac Newton, for example, believed that gravity caused the planets to revolve about the Sun, and credited God with the design. In the concluding General Scholium to the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, he wrote: "This most beautiful System of the Sun, Planets and Comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being." Other famous founders of science who adhered to Christian beliefs include Galileo, Johannes Kepler, and Blaise Pascal.
According to 100 Years of Nobel Prizes a review of Nobel prizes award between 1901 and 2000 reveals that (65.4%) of Nobel Prizes Laureates, have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference.
Overall, Christians are considered a total of 72.5% in Chemistry between 1901 and 2000,65.3% in Physics, 62% in Medicine, 54% in Economics.
Events in Christian Europe, such as the Galileo affair, that were associated with the Scientific Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment led scholars such as John William Draper to postulate a conflict thesis, holding that religion and science have been in conflict methodologically, factually and politically throughout history. This thesis is held by several scientists like Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss. While the conflict thesis remains popular in antitheistic circles, it has lost favor among most contemporary historians of science,and the majority of scientists in elite universities in the U.S. do not hold a conflict view.
In the US:
Most creationists are simply people who choose to believe that God created the world-either as described in Scripture or through evolution. Creation scientists, by contrast, strive to use legitimate scientific means both to argue against evolutionary theory and to prove the creation account as described in Scripture.
As to specifically Christian theists, an example of continue presence would be the American Scientific Affiliation. It currently has about two thousand members, all of whom affirm the Apostles' Creed as part of joining the association, and most of whom hold Ph.D.s in the natural sciences. Their active journal is Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith . Across the Atlantic, the Society of Ordained Scientists and Christians in Science are similar affiliation in Great Britain.
The conflict thesis, at least in its simple form, is now widely perceived as a wholly inadequate intellectual framework within which to construct a sensible and realistic historiography of Western science
In the late Victorian period it was common to write about the ‘warfare between science and religion’ and to presume that the two bodies of culture must always have been in conflict. However, it is a very long time since these attitudes have been held by historians of science.
In its traditional forms, the conflict thesis has been largely discredited.
... while [John] Brooke's view [of a complexity thesis rather than an historical conflict thesis] has gained widespread acceptance among professional historians of science, the traditional view remains strong elsewhere, not least in the popular mind.
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, whose coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.
Creationism is the religious belief that nature, and aspects such as the universe, Earth, life, and humans, originated with supernatural acts of divine creation. In its broadest sense, creationism includes a continuum of religious views, which vary in their acceptance or rejection of scientific explanations such as evolution that describe the origin and development of natural phenomena.
Creation science or scientific creationism is a branch of creationism, presented without obvious Biblical language but with the claim that special creation and flood geology based on the Genesis creation narrative in the Book of Genesis have validity as science. Creationists also claim it disproves or reexplains a variety of scientific facts, theories and paradigms of geology, cosmology, biological evolution, archaeology, history, and linguistics. However, the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is that creation science fails to qualify as scientific because it lacks empirical support, supplies no tentative hypotheses, and resolves to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes. Courts, most often in the United States where the question has been asked in the context of teaching the subject in public schools, have consistently ruled since the 1980s that creation science is a religious view rather than a scientific one. Historians, philosophers of science and skeptics describe creation science as a pseudoscientific attempt to map the Bible into scientific facts. Professional biologists have criticized creation science for being unscholarly, and even as a dishonest and misguided sham, with extremely harmful educational consequences.
Historians of science and of religion, philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others from various geographical regions and cultures have addressed numerous aspects of the relationship between religion and science. Critical questions in this debate include whether religion and science compatible, whether religious beliefs can be conducive to science, and what is the nature of religious beliefs.
Christian fundamentalism began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries among British and American Protestants as a reaction to theological liberalism and cultural modernism. Fundamentalists argued that 19th-century modernist theologians had misinterpreted or rejected certain doctrines, especially biblical inerrancy, which they considered the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Fundamentalists are almost always described as having a literal interpretation of the Bible. A few scholars label Catholics who reject modern theology in favor of more traditional doctrines fundamentalists. Scholars debate how much the terms "evangelical" and "fundamentalist" are synonymous. In keeping with traditional Christian doctrines concerning biblical interpretation, the role of Jesus in the Bible, and the role of the church in society, fundamentalists usually believe in a core of Christian beliefs which include the historical accuracy of the Bible and all of the events which are recorded in it as well as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Young Earth creationism (YEC) is a form of creationism which holds as a central tenet that the Earth and its lifeforms were created in their present forms by supernatural acts of a deity between approximately 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. In its most widespread version, YEC is based on the religious belief in the inerrancy of certain literal interpretations of the Book of Genesis. Its primary adherents are Christians who believe that God created the Earth in six days, in contrast with old Earth creationism (OEC), which holds literal interpretations of Genesis that are compatible with the scientifically determined ages of the Earth and universe.
Theistic evolution, theistic evolutionism, evolutionary creationism, divine direction, or God-guided evolution are views that regard religious teachings about God as compatible with modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. Theistic evolution is not in itself a scientific theory, but a range of views about how the science of general evolution relates to religious beliefs in contrast to special creation views.
The creation–evolution controversy involves an ongoing, recurring cultural, political, and theological dispute about the origins of the Earth, of humanity, and of other life. Species were once widely believed to be fixed products of divine creation in accordance with creationism, but since the mid-19th century evolution by natural selection has been established as an empirical scientific fact.
Liberal Christianity, also known as liberal theology, is a movement that seeks to reinterpret and reform Christian teaching by taking into consideration modern knowledge, science and ethics. It also emphasizes the authority of individual reason and experience. Liberal Christians view their theology as an alternative to both atheistic rationalism and to traditional theologies based on external authority.
Christian apologetics is a branch of Christian theology that defends Christianity against objections.
The conflict thesis is a historiographical approach in the history of science that originated in the 19th century which maintains that there is an intrinsic intellectual conflict between religion and science and that it inevitably leads to hostility. Most examples and interpretations of events in support of the thesis have been drawn from Western history. Historians of science have long ago rejected the thesis and have instead widely accepted a complexity thesis. Nonetheless, the thesis "remains strong elsewhere, not least in the popular mind."
Ronald Leslie Numbers is an American historian of science. He was awarded the 2008 George Sarton Medal by the History of Science Society for "a lifetime of exceptional scholarly achievement by a distinguished scholar".
The creation–evolution controversy has a long history. In response to theories developed by scientists, some religious individuals and organizations questioned the legitimacy of scientific ideas that contradicted the literal interpretation of the creation account in Genesis. Interpretation of the Judeo-Christian Bible had long been the prerogative of an orthodox priesthood able to understand Latin who traditionally held that Genesis was not meant to be read literally and taught it as an allegory. With the advent of the printing press, the translation of the Bible into other languages, and wider literacy, sundry and more literal understandings of scripture flourished. This allowed some religious persons and groups to challenge scientists who supported evolution, such as biologists Thomas Henry Huxley and Ernst Haeckel.
The myth of the flat Earth is a modern misconception that Earth was believed to be flat rather than spherical by scholars and the educated during the Middle Ages in Europe.
The role of Christianity in civilization has been intricately intertwined with the history and formation of Western society. Throughout its long history, the Church has been a major source of social services like schooling and medical care; inspiration for art, culture and philosophy; and influential player in politics and religion. In various ways it has sought to affect Western attitudes to vice and virtue in diverse fields. Festivals like Easter and Christmas are marked as public holidays; the Gregorian Calendar has been adopted internationally as the civil calendar; and the calendar itself is measured from the date of Jesus's birth.
The relationship between science and the Catholic Church is a widely debated subject. Historically, the Catholic Church has often been a patron of sciences. It has been prolific in the foundation and funding of schools, universities, and hospitals, and many clergy have been active in the sciences. Historians of science such as Pierre Duhem credit medieval Catholic mathematicians and philosophers such as John Buridan, Nicole Oresme, and Roger Bacon as the founders of modern science. Duhem found "the mechanics and physics, of which modern times are justifiably proud, to proceed by an uninterrupted series of scarcely perceptible improvements from doctrines professed in the heart of the medieval schools." Yet, the conflict thesis and other critiques emphasize the historical or contemporary conflict between the Catholic Church and science, citing, in particular, the trial of Galileo as evidence. For its part, the Catholic Church teaches that science and the Christian faith are complementary, as can be seen from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states in regards to faith and science:
Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth. ... Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God despite himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.
Christian culture is the cultural practices common to Christianity. With the rapid expansion of Christianity to Europe, Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Egypt, Ethiopia, and India and by the end of the 4th century it had also become the official state church of the Roman Empire. Christian culture has influenced and assimilated much from the Greco-Roman Byzantine, Western culture, Middle Eastern, Slavic, Caucasian, and possibly from Indian.
The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason (2003) is a book by the classical historian Charles Freeman, in which he discusses the relationship between the Greek philosophical tradition and Christianity, primarily in the fourth to sixth century AD. He argues that far from suppressing Greek philosophy, Christianity integrated the more authoritarian aspects of Platonism at the expense of the Aristotelian tradition. He explores the contribution of the Roman emperors to the definition of Christian doctrine, an argument followed up in his 2009 book AD 381. He dates "the reopening of the western mind" to the integration of Aristotle's thought into Christian doctrine by Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century.
Although biological evolution has been vocally opposed by some religious groups, many other groups accept the scientific position, sometimes with additions to allow for theological considerations. The positions of such groups are described by terms including "theistic evolution", "theistic evolutionism" or "evolutionary creation". Theistic evolutionists believe that there is a God, that God is the creator of the material universe and all life within, and that biological evolution is a natural process within that creation. Evolution, according to this view, is simply a tool that God employed to develop human life. According to the American Scientific Affiliation, a Christian organization of scientists:
A theory of theistic evolution (TE) — also called evolutionary creation — proposes that God's method of creation was to cleverly design a universe in which everything would naturally evolve. Usually the "evolution" in "theistic evolution" means Total Evolution — astronomical evolution and geological evolution plus chemical evolution and biological evolution — but it can refer only to biological evolution.