Religious responses to the rise of atheism: science (AP4)

The scientific challenge to theism centres on the replacing of supernatural explanations with natural explanations, including ideas such as Copernicus’ heliocentric model and Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The religious response to this argues that none of these natural explanations proves that God does not exist.  In fact, scientific theories such as the theory of evolution are entirely compatible with belief in God.

For example, a theist might argue that Darwin’s theory of evolution explains how life came about, how natural selection functions and the processes involved results in the life we see around us now.  What the theory does not tell us, theists might argue, is why there is life and what purpose life has.  This is where theists might argue that supernatural explanations come in.  God would be the reason why there is life and God is what gives life its ultimate purpose.

Additionally, Christians would also point that the origins of modern science lie in the investigations and experiments of Christian thinkers.  Evidence for Darwin’s theory of evolution came from fossils, with many fossil hunters and collectors being Anglican priests.  Many of the great universities across Europe, where much of this scientific research was done where church institutions, operated and funded by the Christian church.

For many theists, understanding more about creation is a way of understanding more about the creator.  Believing that God made the world had led many theists to want to learn more about that world.

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