Will Studying Science Make You an Atheist? – Part 3

In my previous two posts: Will Studying Science Make You an Atheist – Part 1 Part 2, we talked about how data shows that, contrary to the popular myth, studying science can actually build faith rather than undermine it, and that in reality everyone exercises faith when it comes to metaphysical matters.

The real question is: What is the content of my set of beliefs? And flowing from that: What is that content based on?

Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin wrote an article in which he admitted that he prefers naturalistic explanations for things because he has “a prior commitment…to materialism.”1

In other words, for Lewontin, his science isn’t driven by objective facts or reason, it is driven by an underlying philosophy. He approaches his scientific work with a faith position and a metaphysical belief, not the other way around.

Interestingly, in the field of philosophy, Alvin Platinga, considered one of the greatest living philosophers, is a theist who has so convincingly argued for the existence of God that it has changed the entire climate of academic philosophy, to the point where atheism, rather than belief in God, is now considered a “superstitious” belief.

Philosopher David Bentley Hart says of this,

“I do not regard true philosophical atheism as an intellectually valid or even cogent position; in fact, I see it as a fundamentally irrational view of reality, which can be sustained only by a tragic absence of curiosity or a fervently resolute will to believe the absurd,”2

I will leave you with this quote from one of my favorite authors, Oxford professor Alistair McGrath: “The idea that science and religion are in perpetual conflict is no longer taken seriously by any major historian of science.” He concludes by saying that the idea that “fact-based science” is “at war” with “faith-based religion” is “a myth.”3

 

References:
“Billions and Billions of Demons,” The New York Review of Books (January 9, 1997), 28., quoted in Clark, The Problem of God, (p. 31)
The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss, (p. 16)
The Twilight of Atheism, (p. 87)

 

5 thoughts on “Will Studying Science Make You an Atheist? – Part 3

  1. Hello Nick, you mention data but then quote testimonials, opinions. Yes, there are religious people in all walks of life, but it is also true that there are atheists who reject religion. As such, if your “data” proves religion then my data disproves it.

    On a separate note: I studied Judaism and discovered their interpretation of the Torah/Old Test. I learned that of all the prophecies that predicted Jesus the most important one was unfulfilled. The Bible predicts a messiah, a man, and definitely not a god or the God. What’a your take on that?

  2. The data I’m referring to are the multiple studies I referenced. Again, I’m not saying that the data “proves religion” – I’m saying that it disproves the popular myth that studying science leads people to become atheists.
    Regarding Judaism: Here’s one (of many) examples which show that the Messianic hope is that of someone who is both fully God and fully man:

    But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
    The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
    those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.
    You have multiplied the nation;
    you have increased its joy;
    they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
    For the yoke of his burden,
    and the staff for his shoulder,
    the rod of his oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.
    For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
    and every garment rolled in blood
    will be burned as fuel for the fire.
    For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
    and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
    Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
    on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
    with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
    The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:1-7)

    A child. A son. A human ruler – who will be at the same time: the Mighty God and the everlasting Father, who will establish a kingdom which has no end.

  3. Nick check out the older translations including the torah. The torah says God will be the mighty advisor of the messiah. Older translations say that too. Remember, punctuation was not used in hebrew so translators added it.

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