Despite Popular Opinion The Historical Conflict Between Christianity & Science Is a Myth

I’ve just started reading Peter Harrison’s new book, ‘The Territories of Science and Religion.‘ So far it’s been worth the effort.

Harrison is the director of Queensland University’s, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. Formerly, The Centre For The History of European Discourses. His career also includes being the Idreos Professor of Science and Religion and Director at the University of Oxford. (source)

Harrison has a clear understanding of the history of Religion and Science. Showing how that history is blurred by the modern issues surrounding the hostility played up between them. One of the chief aims of his new book is to help along a better understanding of the differences between modern and classical definitions of the two. E.g.: the classical-medieval understanding of ‘religio’ and ‘scientia’ is not the same as the 17th Century division of religion and science into two opposing spheres of influence.

Insecurity complicates things. It’s issued out from both sides of these relatively new spheres. This insecurity is Harrison’s target as he presents an informed corrective addressing the predominant assumptions about the origins of each. By doing so Harrison counters a false dichotomy between Christianity and science, challenging assumptions and half-truths that fuel misconceptions, and which are all conveniently left in place in order to stoke antichristian, anticlerical sentiment.

With a term break fast approaching, I’ll aim to do a more complete review. In the meantime, here are two of twelve brief, but outstanding, Q & A sessions he recently did with Australia’s John Dickson, from the Centre for Public Christianity.

Case Study One:


Case Study Two:



CPX: The Centre For Public Christianity

3 thoughts on “Despite Popular Opinion The Historical Conflict Between Christianity & Science Is a Myth

  1. art & life notes says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Rod. I’m going to listen to all of the Q&A videos as I work tonight. I look forward to your thoughts on the book.

    I’m especially curious to hear if he will cover a question I sometimes get from my materialist friends: I insist that one’s view of origins has no effect on one’s practice of actual science today. After all, neither view is testable, observable, or falsifiable, and both are therefore outside of the parameters of science; thus both are on equal footing. I ask for examples of scientific breakthroughs which essentially rely on evolutionary assumptions. So far the examples I’ve been given don’t hold up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rod Lampard says:

      I’m just about finished it. That I came across Harrison’s book right after reading Chesterton’s Heretics is gobsmackingly brilliant timing. If I can I’ll get a review up sometime this week. Re your question: Harrison talks about science morphing into a religion, while he doesn’t say that outright, it’s certainly part of the trajectory of his main points about distortions of distinctions at the cost of ejecting theology and philosophy; since science can, according to the proponents of this view, more effectively teach ethics and morality. The flaw in that is the idea of progress, which must have a meaning, purpose and an end in mind. Something that “science” (as we know it today) because of its very nature cannot provide.

      Liked by 1 person


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