I had literature class and we were studying the Bible, and I as a non-believing person was kind of sceptical about it, but my teacher pointed out that the Bible, and all religions before it, are part of our history and of us becoming what we are.

Is Christianity (and religion at all) part of science? After Ancient Greece, Europe regressed in terms of technology (in Ancient Greece there were schools, there were canals, and in the Middle Ages all this was forgotten). Did we start from nothing and God was our view on the world, or was Christianity a step backwards in our evolution towards today's technologies (like the internet and so on)?

Have different philosophers throughout history seen it like this? If religion was a step backwards, why there are still many people that are serious believers? Does that make them somehow stupid to not want to evolve intellectually?

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    I can't give it as an answer, because this is a personal philosophy (which is against the rules), but I have long argued there is a Church of Science, which makes ontological claims, and Science Proper which makes epistemological claims. Science may claim "the data collected matches the theory of evolution with X confidence interval," which is then converted into "We are the product of evolution" by the Church. This is not an officially accepted viewpoint, but I have found it particularly helpful for approaching questions of religion and science. Feel free to use it if it suits you.
    – Cort Ammon
    May 3, 2015 at 19:45
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    Can you define what you mean by "part of science" ? Your question is not clear at all. If by that you mean is religion a subfield of science, then no it isn't. May 3, 2015 at 22:24
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    Or to built on Alexander King's suggestion, give us definitions of "religion" and "science" (which is much harder to do than one might think), and then the question probably disappears due to the definitions you gave...
    – virmaior
    May 4, 2015 at 6:18
  • @virmaior By part of sience I mean something like part of it's history, an aged view on the world, because back then I don't think anybody cared about quantum physics, smartphones and etc. I mean like it was the sience that existed before the sience we know today if thath makes sense
    – nitheism
    May 4, 2015 at 9:01
  • Bit of a tangent, but your second paragraph potentially confuses cause and effect... It is true that religion was prominent in the Middle Ages, and there was a drop in certain technology at that time, but a lot of the drop in technology was due to a de-urbanization from population loss, which came from disease and political instability. "There were schools..." there were schools in the Middle Ages as well, after the Carolingian Renaissance anyway, but again, they took a different form, again owing to de-urbanization. May 4, 2015 at 20:38

5 Answers 5


I see this as two questions:

  • Is religion a legitimate part of the history of science?
  • Is religion legitimate ONLY as a part of the history of science?

I would say the answer to the first question is a clear "yes." Not only can we view, historically, religious beliefs and rituals as precursors to early scientific beliefs and practices, we can also note that many historical figures, from the ancient Egyptian priests to Descartes, have made scientific advances that have grown out of their religious beliefs.

For the second question, the answer clearly depends on your own religious beliefs. The most general, neutral evidence for religion having its own, ongoing legitimacy, aside from any historical scientific benefits, is exactly as you mentioned --that many smart, educated people continue as believers.


This stupid believer will take a stab at this question. Maybe he can give a good answer his religious beliefs notwithstanding.

Is Christianity (and religion at all) part of science?

It can be. A religious scientist may very easily see the science he does as a continuation of his beliefs.

Christianity (and religion at all) part of science? After Ancient Greece, Europe regressed in terms of technology (in Ancient Greece there were schools, there were canals, and in the Middle Ages all this was forgotten).

This is one of the main myths the enlightenment brought to the world. Contrary to popular belief the Middle Ages where not a whole era of the western history in which humans where born without brains or intellect.

It was in this time that the real precursors to the great scientific progress if the industrial revolution was made. Although Newton got all the credit and got the school books written about him he had real fore bearers from which a great amount of his thinking was if not inspired from at the very least influenced by.

Medieval Catholic mathematicians and philosophers such as John Buridan, Nicole Oresme and Roger Bacon where just as much the Godfathers of modern science as what is the case with the enlightenment's heroes.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science Science is a method for testing a theory. As an example, we can test the theory of gravity; dropping an object and testing to see if it falls to the earth.

Your comment on the middle ages being "returned back" "or a "slow down" from religion is not a testable theory on religion as this is the combination of many historical factors, including how humans use religion to non-religious ends. The events you are referring to also occur in the past, so short of using a time machine, we are unable to test an alternate timeline in which religion does not exist.

One of the central pillars of many religions is that belief comes from faith, rather then evidence. You may attempt to evaluate the veracity of any religion using scientific principals, but will quickly run into an argument that religion must be taken on faith, not science. Under this argument, science is NOT a part of religion, as religion will reject the testing of itself.

Something like faith healing could be tested (e.g. a priest causing a broken bone to mend before your eyes). In this way, religion IS a part of science, if the scientific method were able to prove that religion is true.

And on your final question, why would anyone believe something that cannot be tested? You would have to ask each believer individually. An answer of "because I can't imagine a universe without a creator" may be worthy of philosophical discussion, while an answer of "because I do" may not be.

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    This answer reflects what is probably many people's lay perceptions about "science" and "religion". But whether these are accurate to science or religion is a very hard question. There's plenty of parts of science that are not built around testing theories, and there's plenty of religions that are not committed to the idea that "belief comes from faith, rather than evidence."
    – virmaior
    May 4, 2015 at 6:17
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    "Belief comes from faith, rather then evidence..." I can only speak for my own background, but most Christian philosophers I'm aware of would disagree with this statement. Instead, they would say that the nature of the evidence is different (coming, for example, from revelation of scripture). Any "person of faith" who is aware of other religions has made a conscious decision to reject other faiths, and would have rejected them based on their evaluation of their evidence (for example, that another religion's scripture seems less trustworthy than their own). May 4, 2015 at 20:43
  • Please provide an example of a science that does not result from the testing of theory
    – zzzzzz
    May 5, 2015 at 3:43
  • James- your answer is correct, but a bit of a strawman. rejecting one religion based on evidence does not validate any other religion that may or may not lack verifiable evidence
    – zzzzzz
    May 5, 2015 at 3:46
  • @Sandstar please provide a definition of science and a clear definition of theory and how one would test it. (these are the core questions in philosophy of science and deeply disputed).
    – virmaior
    May 5, 2015 at 4:39

I can only speak for myself, but as a lifelong Mormon, I would say that science is a subset of religion. Both are the pursuit of truth wherever it may be, and each has a place and purpose.

This has been a part of the LDS faith from the very beginning. A good example would be an oft quoted book (in LDS General Conferences) called "Key to the Science of Theology", by Parley P. Pratt. While much of the writing is definitely of his time, it makes some compelling arguments as to the value of science and its compatibility with faith and religion.

In my opinion the whole dichotomy of science and theology is a manufactured myth. There is little difference between Christ healing a leper, and a leper being treated with modern medicines. Both are miraculous, both achieved their purpose. The end is the same. In fact, I believe most of what we percive as miraculous is just not understanding the whole picture of what is happening. Even God lives by laws, and just because we don't (or do) understand the how doesn't invalidate the miracle or the outcome.

That is perhaps the biggest failing of science, in that it cannot allow for faith by its very structure. There are all kinds of things that science cannot explain, yet still unequivocally exist. Theology without the constraints of science can bridge some of those gaps and lend understanding. That is why science is a subset of theology. Truth is truth no matter where it is found, and science can have a difficult time with that.

  • "There is little difference between Christ healing a leper, and a leper being treated with modern medicines." There is a huge difference: One is not reproducible under experimental conditions, the other isn't. One is miraculous - i.e. defies the laws of nature by definition - the other isn't. May 4, 2015 at 21:52
  • "That is perhaps the biggest failing of science, in that it cannot allow for faith by its very structure." Science allows for faith, as long as faith doesn't over step it's boundaries. May 4, 2015 at 21:53
  • "There are all kinds of things that science cannot explain, yet still unequivocally exist. " Agreed. Can you give me an example of anything that science has failed to explain, but faith were faith succeeded in providing an accepted explanation? May 4, 2015 at 21:55

The answer,unfortunately is yes because although the "Scientific Method"is not anything religious, the crossover is the similarity between Scolasticism (in theology) and Academicism in institutions that should not be religious but should be devoted to scientific pursuit for the simple fact that the definition of Empiricism is in conflict with Academicism.

REFERENCES: Hume, Acquinas, Plato but all from a critical examination of Empiricism, Scolasticism and Academicism (respectively). Any text in criticism of Western Philosophy should suffice.

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