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30 books on religion and scienceScience and religion

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30 books on religion and science

Science and religion

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“Man descended from a monkey, therefore, we must love each other” – this is Vladimir Sloviev’s ironic remark perfectly illustrates the confusion reigning in the question “science and religion”. Nowadays, however, it can be formulated even more fun, for example, "the earth is round – it means there is no God."

Why is there so much folly in this question? Therefore, it is likely that many have a very weak understanding of both subjects. We created a new rubric in the library – science and religion – and today we are presenting it to you.


The controversy between religion and science is based on the opposition of reason and faith, biblical culture and ancient philosophy. It originated in the Arabic Middle Ages, and later, along with its philosophy, assimilated the Christian Middle Ages. Both Arabs and Christians stood on the side of Revelation. Although it is the Bible, in the opinion of many authors, which are discussed below, "responsible" for science and technology.

So, next to science and religion is philosophy. But science itself consists of two parts: science and technology – that is, there are already five players. Their interaction is governed by social processes – complexity, as you see, arises simply at the level of description.

Question of truth

The truth may be different. For many people, the only face of truth is “scientific fact.” Obviously, this version of truth cannot be the basis for existential or metaphysical conclusions. "Earth is round" – a scientific fact. The existence of God is a religious truth. On the religious plane, the shape of the Earth does not matter; in the space of science, the existence of God cannot be discussed, as a phenomenon by definition transcendental, nonworldly.

However, in the dispute of “science and religion” we at every step encounter “illegal” leaps from science to ethics, philosophy, metaphysics – and vice versa.

Take the most famous example: the opposition of the Roman Curia and the scientist Galileo. First, the Church itself sanctioned the activities of Galileo, and only then banned it — that is, the position of the Church itself was unstable. Secondly, a simple question does not occur to anyone: why did the Christian Church argue with the cosmology of the Christian Galileo and protect the cosmology of the heathen Ptolemy?

Definitions of concepts

By religion – at least here – we will understand Christianity. By "science" is a specific cultural practice that emerged in the Christian world in the late Middle Ages. At this level, the question is: what allowed science to emerge, whether it happened in spite of, independently or due to Christianity.

We will also try to consider the theme of the confrontation between science and religion – terrible church censorship and heroic scientific free-thinking.

We hope that the books we offer will help clarify these issues.

Three essays by V. Gigerich, an eminent contemporary philosopher, sanctify the shift made by Christianity in the world.

Many Christians blame the "modern world" for all mortal sins. If you continue this thought, you will have to agree with one of three things:

– or Christianity died, and even in the Middle Ages – but after all "the gates of hell will not prevail against it"!

– or Christianity is the religion of the “otherworldly”, it exists outside of reality – but Christ came precisely into reality, into our created world;

– Either the pagan cultures that do not know the gospel are nicer to the critics – after all, the western “modernity” is formed by nothing else but the Bible.

Gigerich sees that modernity is all completely – the product of a two thousand year reading of the Gospel. According to Gigerich, the Gospel directly predetermined science and technology. The rocket’s takeoff is the essence of Christian action, since it is Christianity that “invents” such things as “fact” or “linear time” and knocks the subject out of the “Flow of things”.

“The Christian background of science” by Alexander Kojev, one of the central thinkers of the 20th century, influenced the entire postmodern and subsequent political philosophy. Kozhev, first of all, draws attention to the fact that science engineering does not appear anywhere, namely within the Christian world. How to explain it? – here he recalls the notorious dispute of heliocentrism and geocentrism, which atheists usually use in polemics with Christians. The point is actually in the following. The pagans (Aristotle, Ptolemy, heliocentric) asserted the complete distinction between this and the other world (Earth and Heaven), with the Earth being the lower, “bad” world separated from the eternal, beautiful Heaven. The Christians (Copernicus, geocentrists) destroyed this picture: they – in complete agreement with the initial intuition of Christianity – put the Earth to Heaven.

The predetermination of science and technology by Christianity is affirmed by Andrei Kuraev in the essay “Christian demophilogization: the path to science”.

Here is his thesis: “Christianity created the necessary conditions for the birth of science. Only the religion of the One God was able to free the world from the excessive abundance of gods. Only the religion of the Superstar and Super Cosmic God could put the world of stars and the world of earthly stones in one line (thus allowing to describe the celestial movements in the language of terrestrial mechanics). Only the religion of the Logos, which became Flesh, could allow in the language of mathematics (the language of ideal numbers and forms) to describe the processes occurring in the physical world (where there is nothing ideal). Finally, only by believing that God is Love could one step over skepticism and begin exploring the world in daring confidence that the book of the Universe was written in the language of human mathematics. ”

In “The Religion and Science” essay materials, Kuraev answers the question: “If science is born at the end of the Western world from its Middle Ages, does this mean that in the Western Middle Ages (unlike in India or in Arabic) something that contributed to the birth of science? " It also contains the “Good Word about the Inquisition” – a wonderful article breaking many anti-church myths in this difficult topic. In the same book, Kuraev talks about cloning, medical ethics, and computers.

“On faith and knowledge” is a small, but deep study of Kuraev about either a “damned” or a notorious question of the relationship between faith and knowledge. Consideration is conducted in cultural, historical, anthropological, philosophical and theological aspects.

Science and Religion in the Middle Ages

The origin of science falls on the Middle Ages: the actual question of science and religion must be asked by medievalists.

In one of the best books about the Middle Ages – "Medieval thinking" – the phenomenon of "intellectual" is investigated. In the "intellectual" faith and reason converge. The medieval intellectual both believes and “understands”; there is no conflict for him — that is why he “invents” science. Thought is the common element of science, philosophy and theology. It is about her in the book of Libery.

In an excellent study of Monter "Myth, ritual and magic in Europe in the early Modern Age" solves the issue of tolerance / intolerance. The main thread is the struggle of secular and ecclesiastical authorities with superstition and dissent. It is clear that the violence initiated by the Church is one of the most painful, shameful pages of the history of Christianity. Moreover, we should know it as best as possible, especially given the many myths and stereotypes in this area.

Ordinary consciousness sees the question as a struggle of church censorship and free-thinking. However, everything is more complicated, there were four players: the Church, the state, the emerging science (more widely – the secular culture) and the culture “folk”. The church and the state fought against the superstitions of folk culture (in fact, the pagan heritage preserved among the people), clearing the place for science, the Enlightenment (we note that the state was incomparably bloodthirsty in this struggle). Everyone knows the conflicts of the Church and science – it is important to remember that the “trend” was rather the eradication of “superstition” and the spread of the Enlightenment.

From the book of Monter it becomes clear: ecclesiastical intolerance for superstition was one of the conditions of the Enlightenment; in the struggle with popular beliefs strict science and strict dogma fought side by side; The “horrors” of the Inquisition were not so terrible. All this does not justify the blood shed by the “name of Christ,” but it allows you to resist the anti-church myths.

A short story by Gerturdy von Lefort “The Threshold of Heaven” is devoted to the same difficult topic. It reconstructs the case of Galileo in the context of the history of the 20th century (World War II and the creation of nuclear weapons).

The story in the story: the descendants of the ancient family under the bombs of the Allies read the ancient manuscript. It turns out that their ancestor was a pupil of Galileo, saw the ecclesiastical court over him, saw how the ways of the Church and Europe diverged …

This is a deep reflection on the relationship between Christianity and the New Time: the world’s departure from the faith at the dawn of Enlightenment — and, at the same time, the world’s departure from the world … This is the end of modernity — World War II and Hiroshima. A new era is coming.

Philosophical basis of the question

It is often thought that religion is a myth, and science is called upon to dispel myths. ” This is not true.

The myth is the fundamental filosphic category, the main ontological structure – this is what AF Losev asserts in The Dialectic of Myth. Among other things, he ingeniously parses the myth of modern European science (I want to quote, but it turns out too long – read the annotations to the book).

Losev does not debunk physics – he places her theories in a wider philosophical context. In “Ancient Cosmos and Modern Science” (a book of a very peculiar, but interesting), his vision of physics is described in more detail: he identifies postclassical physics and ancient philosophy, receiving patristic mystical speculation.

The authors of the collection “The Philosophical and Religious Sources of Science” reject the established opinion about conflict and the mutual impossibility of science and religion.

They are trying to consider the Christian nature of science itself, “science” —science as a worldview, practice, culture — the Christian prerequisites of specific scientific concepts, specific milestones of the history of science.

The authors of the book "The Borders of Science" set themselves the task of understanding the relationship of modern science (after the revolutionary changes in science that took place in the 20th century) with religion, philosophy, culture, society and economics.

“What does Athens and Jerusalem have in common?” The philosopher Lev Shestov, Tertullian’s question, repeats the question. The book "Athens and Jerusalem" is built as a sharpened opposition: self-confident knowledge of European science (where is it from?) – and insane faith, abstraction and the existence of religion; Spinoza's geometric method — and Job's cry, “obligatory judgment” —and God.

As a result, science, knowledge and reason are rejected as a great evil: “Faith, one inspiring faith looking at the Creator and the Creator, radiates from itself the last, decisive truths about the existing and the nonexistent.” This is an extreme case of a dispute between faith and science.

Dialogue of science and religion

So far we have talked about the origins and nature of science. Yet, generally, the dispute of religion and science means something else: what can theology say about one or another scientific concept. We turn to the books on these issues.

Let's call three classic works:

“Religion and Science: History and Modernity” Barbour, “Faith through the Eyes of Physics” by Polquinhorn and “Science and Religion: A Historical Perspective” by Brooke.

From these three books you can learn "all that is necessary" and about the history of science, and about its relationship with theology, specific scientific concepts, about all theological and philosophical problems on the line of science – theology.

Lectures on religion and science (read in the Church-wide postgraduate and doctoral studies) will talk about general issues of the relationship between science and theology, and a number of specific sciences – from quantum mechanics to oceanology.

Many articles at the junction of philosophy / science / theology can be found in the anthology "Metaparadigma". To create a synthesis of modern science and Orthodox theology (based on the metaphysics of all-unity) – such is the idea of ​​the founders of the almanac Posadsky and Solovyov, outlined in their work "Panentheistic Metaphysics and the Quantum Paradigm".

Of course, one cannot avoid the question of evolution. There is so much nonsense on it that I don’t want to raise this topic again. We offer two books.

“The phenomenon of man” by Teilhard de Chardin is a very controversial, but the most impressive attempt at a synthesis of evolutionary theory and Christian theology.

And a short article by Kuraev “Can an Orthodox be an evolutionist?”

The problem of evolution is also addressed in the books mentioned by Barbour and Brooke.

Science and ethics

Another layer of the “science and religion” problem is ethics. Technological progress has expanded the scope of human freedom – and the more freedom the more ethical issues.

A classic presentation of the topic can be found in Barbour's Ethics in the Age of Technology. And what is connected with biology (from abortion to cloning) – in the “Bioethics” of Sgretscha and Tambon.

It is interesting to pose the problem of Habermas. It turns out that religion and technology are the two main problems of the modern world. Religion is increasing its influence in the form of fundamentalism, threatening to sweep civilization. A technique threatens to turn a person into a controlled biological substance, threatening to sweep the person himself.

But the most interesting is Sekatsky. In a number of articles, he develops the idea of ​​“direct action theology” – embodiments, in particular in technology, of the “order of Christianity”. For example, what is so afraid of in bioethics – the reassembly of the body, can be seen as fulfilling the order of Christian ascetics – creating a new free body completely subordinate to the spirit.

According to Sekatsky, science and technology were born as the fulfillment of tasks set by theology, and, say, a rocket flight is a direct theological action.

“The task of the further mission is now formulated explicitly, bluntly: to drop the body, get rid of the ballast of organic physicality. And here you can see that some instructions on this subject are already contained in the Instructions. Moreover, they have long been accepted for execution in the framework of the theology of direct action, and the only problem is to produce a confrontation, so to speak, identification and comparison of the results of parallel work on the project. The problem is not an easy one, because it is necessary to compose and solve an equation of the following form: Compare the practice of the schematands and the Stylite with the practice of cyberpunk in order to bring them to a common denominator in Christ. No more, no less – it is clear that finding in this case the common denominator requires considerable metaphysical vigilance. ”

Clement in The Meaning of the Earth builds up Orthodox theology of matter. Among other things, he defends the following theses:

"one. Modern Western technology comes from biblical revelation, but it developed exclusively in the context of Judaism and Western Christianity, which are not cosmic (a – cosmique), that is, in a predominantly Old Testament context.

2. “Negative” theology and anthropology of Orthodoxy, its liturgical cosmology save us from the technical flood and root us in the spiritual, or more precisely, give us roots in the spiritual Body, which can also give new historical roots.

3. It remains for us to develop a truly New Testament, apocalyptic attitude to technology and the treatment of it. Can there be a connection, as Fedorov believed (we are not obliged to think like him, but with him) between the Resurrection and the technique? Orthodox meditation is necessary here. ”

The conflict of faith and science in Christianity caused a response – “natural science apologetics”. We recently added a Lega apologetics course. The materials of our media library are of the same order: the works of Zenkovsky and Fioletov, the book of St.. Luke Crimean "Spirit, soul, body" and "Religion and science", lectures and articles Khudiyev, the book of Lewis.

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