Scientist-Theologians, Science and Religion

Many here know that traditionally there was no conflict between science and religion, and in fact the scientific method arose out of Christianity and the concept of 'God's creation' having 'natural rerecord. But I thought a thread containing information for skeptics, those questioning, or just interested would be helpful.

Even today, in contrast to the image the media tries to create, there are plenty of scientists who believe in God.
One of the most famous is John Polkinghorne a Cambridge Physicists who became and Anglican Priest:

Colin Humphreys: "The Real Story of the Exodus Colin Humphreys, a world-renowned Cambridge University scientist, reveals for the first time the concrete, scientific truth behind the Exodus miracles. The Burning Bush: Caused by a volcanic vent that opened up under the bush. Crossing the Red Sea" - such phenomenon has been recorded through history, including water from a rock and the red sea and river jordan parting:
-his theory is the miracles are miracles of timing. He is not brushing off the Old Testament - just getting rid of false conceptions like the red sea parting in the 1950s movie the 10 Commandments.

A great general resource is the Faraday Institute:

Understanding Science and Religion​

The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion is a Cambridge-based interdisciplinary research institute improving public understanding of religious beliefs in relation to the sciences.
 
Stuff like this is worse than pure atheism.
If you read the book you'll find he is clearly a believer and sees these things as miracles of timing and God using natural phenomena which is his creation. His point is this is a factual account of the exodus not a made up myth - and the evidence is there are clear natural events in it - for example their using charcoal to purify water. They thank God for this - skeptics would say it was 'magic' but of course we know that it does purify water.

Your implication is, I think, a form of 'atheism' as well, in the sense that you have to attribute supernatural phenomena to God and not natural phenomena
 

ilostabet

Pelican
Your implication is, I think, a form of 'atheism' as well, in the sense that you have to attribute supernatural phenomena to God and not natural phenomena

The height of materialism (and utter contradiction, naturally). What a shame that there are Christians who subscribe to this nonsense, for they not only misunderstand how Creation exists, but specifically they misunderstand their own faith. I'm sorry to be harsh, but it is what it is.

To prove how destructive this approach is we just have to think of the Incarnation and the Eucharist - they are by definition transcendent and supernatural, so it will never be possible to give a purely materialistic 'explanation' (in quotes because the material cannot explain anything, quite the contrary, the explanation of the material comes necessarily from the spiritual and metaphysical, that is, from its relation to higher planes of existence). And in this view, if there is no 'natural' phenomenon in it, it therefore is not really true.
 
What a shame that there are Christians who subscribe to this nonsense,

I'm sorry to be harsh
Don't say you're sorry when you don't mean it.

so it will never be possible to give a purely materialistic 'explanation
It is not a 'purely materialist' explanation. You're missing the whole point. Sorry to be harsh, is English your first language? I ask sincerely because you don't seem to be grasping the nuances of what I said, about, btw a book you haven't even read and went on the warpath over a pull quote.
 
I will add that it is almost certain that no materialist will accept Christ as Redeemer of mankind based on scientific explanations of miracles or whatever else. But if they do, they will not be accepting the Faith as fully revealed. Their faith will still be in materialism and its 'explanations', rather than Christ.
I agree. But inaccurate notions can block people seeking faith because they fall for the 'it's just a bunch of fairy tales' .
They see how the red sea parts in the 1950s movie the ten commandments and laugh it off. Can God do that if he wanted? of course. But is that what we are hearing described in the exodus? Probably not. Humphrey's is just saying, in this book, here is what I think the physical phenomena described is, -and yes it occurs (though rarely) in nature).

This helps us, I think rather than look for supernatural miracles, helps us to seek God's guidance everyday life.

Sometimes, small details or 'evidence' can help lead people to the doorway of faith. For example, I remember hearing of a guy who studied the crufixficiation account in the Gospels - which had details which could only come from witnessing a death, that again may have been written off as 'fairy tales' by skeptics (in this case, when a Roman soldier pierces Christs side, and water comes out - separation of fluids in the body like that occur after death)
 

DanielH

Pelican
If you read the book you'll find he is clearly a believer and sees these things as miracles of timing and God using natural phenomena which is his creation. His point is this is a factual account of the exodus not a made up myth - and the evidence is there are clear natural events in it - for example their using charcoal to purify water. They thank God for this - skeptics would say it was 'magic' but of course we know that it does purify water.

Your implication is, I think, a form of 'atheism' as well, in the sense that you have to attribute supernatural phenomena to God and not natural phenomena
So was the pillar of fire, or the manna from Heaven in Exodus a natural phenomenon? Was the feeding of the thousands from just a few loaves and fishes natural? Did Christ walk on water by a process of rapid isolated water freezing in the Middle East? Did he resurrect the dead by inventing some form of advanced defibrillator that worked even days after death? There are “supernatural” miracles and if your faith leans on explaining it away with natural phenomena, it will be an impossible stumbling block to overcome.

If people want to laugh at the notion of God parting the Red Sea through Moses that's on them, but that is what happened, and it was a miracle.
 
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So was the pillar of fire in, or the manna from Heaven in Exodus a natural phenomenon?
yes. Smoke by night too. A volcano. Manna is interesting several theories.
The Jordan is known to recede ("part") after earthquakes, last time was 1940s, I think.
There are 'rocks' in the middle east that are full of water and crack open like a coconuts. they can be big - boulder sized. So for example Moses doesn't just 'wave' his staff he hits the rock. .. But God led him to the water he didn't just materialize water out of thin air.
So Humphreys is describing the physical phenomena that happened.

If people want to laugh at the notion of God parting the Red Sea through Moses that's on them, but that is what happened, and it was a miracle.
But you don't know it was like the perception people have- which comes from a 1950s movie.
Based on what is described in the bible, it is more like that it occurred as Humphrey's describes. this is not saying it's not a miracle. but it IS saying that the Exodus is not just a myth, it is an historical account.

Was the feeding of the thousands from just a few loaves and fishes natural?
no
Did Christ walk on water by a process of rapid isolated water freezing in the Middle East?
no

Again, he is not a skeptic 'debunking 'fairy tales' of the bible. He is a believer saying, I think this is the natural phenomena described in the exodus worked with God's guidance and Moses's faith.
 
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ilostabet

Pelican
I agree. But inaccurate notions can block people seeking faith because they fall for the 'it's just a bunch of fairy tales' .
They see how the red sea parts in the 1950s movie the ten commandments and laugh it off. Can God do that if he wanted? of course. But is that what we are hearing described in the exodus? Probably not. Humphrey's is just saying, in this book, here is what I think the physical phenomena described is, -and yes it occurs (though rarely) in nature).

This helps us, I think rather than look for supernatural miracles, helps us to seek God's guidance everyday life.

The attitude which construes 'fairy tales' as 'just nonsense', is precisely what needs to be combated and overcome as a purely modern, erroneous and ultimately antichristian idea (in the true sense of antichrist), and it cannot be combated with this approach, because this approach itself embraces its premise.

What I mean, specifically, is that there is quite a lot more to be learned about Christ in fairy tales even of a non-Christian origin (which is why so many of them have been embraced by the Church, most notably the Holy Grail), than there is in science (at least science as understood in the modern world, that is, pure materialism).

The point of miracles is precisely that they do not occur naturally, and the point of religion in general is that there are many things outside of material manifestation (in fact, more important things, that is, spiritual things, above material phenomena - and that these phenomena themselves exist in subordination to the spiritual).

And as a finishing point, the Church Fathers do not even consider the burning bush itself a miracle in the strict sense (as an event that happened solely at that time), it is rather understood and explained by them that Moses was granted vision of this eternal, non-material phenomenon. So it most definitely was not 'a volcanic vent that opened'.
 
The point of miracles is precisely that they do not occur naturally,
I have had things which I consider miracles in my life which I know the phenomena that happened but I still consider it a miracle.
But still, I don't think that faith can be based on waiting for or experiencing miracles in that sense - waiting to experience something outside nature.

The attitude which construes 'fairy tales' as 'just nonsense', is precisely what needs to be combated and overcome as a purely modern, erroneous and ultimately antichristian idea
When science becomes entirely materialistic, looses its Christian origin, or becomes, as it is in modern society, a religion in itself it becomes ironically, unscientific.
On the other hand it is dangerous to treat religion as science.

I don't think there is anything wrong with studying the history of the bible and placing it in time an place -the historical accounts at least -it is of course a collection of all sorts of works not just historical accounts.

That's all Humphreys is doing - a form of Bible archaeology.

and it cannot be combated with this approach, because this approach itself embraces its premise.
How did Jesus deal with Thomas the skeptic? He poked let him touch his wounds.
 
And no, English is not my first language.
Ok, your English is very good, but I truly think there are some nuances subtleties you're not picking up here that could just be cultural /colloquial... or I am just not explaining them clearly enough :).
It could also just be the 'mindset' of the original links I posted, which reflect Anglo-Saxon world-views -which I am more comfortable and familiar with. I think btw my own culture has reached a state of rot and decay but still we have produced some exceptional theologians.
 

ilostabet

Pelican
Ok, your English is very good, but I truly think there are some nuances subtleties you're not picking up here that could just be cultural /colloquial... or I am just not explaining them clearly enough :).
It could also just be the 'mindset' of the original links I posted, which reflect Anglo-Saxon world-views -which I am more comfortable and familiar with. I think btw my own culture has reached a state of rot and decay but still we have produced some exceptional theologians.

I think the differences are indeed at the mindset level (modern vs. traditional/ orthodox vs protestant, along those lines), rather than mere linguistic misunderstanding.

One place I saw it very clearly was in the dichotomy/opposition you presented in your response to Daniel of myth and historicity, which in my worldview does not exist.
 

Sitting Bull

Woodpecker
traditionally there was no conflict between science and religion

Still true today, even when the number of bogus scientists has skyrocketed, and basically nobody cares for real science any more, all everyone cares about is the "scientific consensus" and political ways to influence it.
Plato would said that we have philo-doxers (lovers of opinion) but no philo-sophers (lovers of wisdom).

Real, serious science, says today as yesterday that the miracles in the Bible are scientifically proven (public, checked by authority & with transmission checked by authority). Anything else is pedantic excuses for materialism and atheism.

Colin Humphreys: "The Real Story of the Exodus"
Ah yes, I see, the bible's simple narrative is not "real". We need far-fetched mental gymnastics, now that's much better ... and more "real" !

just getting rid of false conceptions like the red sea parting in the 1950s movie the 10 Commandments.
The sea parting is already in the Bible, no need for a red herring about a modern movie. And why is it labeled a "false conception" ? Because it's too obviously preter-natural I guess ...

I have had things which I consider miracles in my life which I know the phenomena that happened but I still consider it a miracle.
But still, I don't think that faith can be based on waiting for or experiencing miracles in that sense - waiting to experience something outside nature.
That's obviously not the case with the miracles in the Bible. They're scientifically proven as explained above, not doubtful I-think claims from one single alleged witness.
(Note : as ilostabet noted, technically speaking things like the Burning Bush are not miracles, but even if it was a matter of believing/disbelieving such an event you'd still have the favourable testimony of his contemporaries on Moses' character).

I don't think there is anything wrong with studying the history of the bible and placing it in time an place

Implied here is the usual modernist slander that the Church (or the Hebrews before it) was too dumb to make history before the enlightened scientists& historians came in the modern era. As if the Gospels themselves weren't already historical accounts to correct some false rumours ...
When science becomes entirely materialistic, looses its Christian origin, or becomes, as it is in modern society, a religion in itself it becomes ironically, unscientific.
I think I see the good in your intention : you wish to save "modern science" from the dead end in which it's fallen. Personally I think that it's too late, that the judgement of God has fallen upon it, that it will sink more and more into Clown World. A new low was reached when the Lancet published that bogus study on chloroquine & Covid and was later forced to retract it ...
 
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I see, the bible's simple narrative is not "real". We need far-fetched mental gymnastics, now that's much better ... and more "real" !
It is real. Humphrey's is not using mental gymnastics. Its more like bible archaeology. For example, in archaeology i think it's agreed there is at least some dispute as to the location of mount zion and the 'red sea' as described in the bible, as there are a couple of 'red seas'.
He is just taking a description and saying, yes, this phenomenon probably happened like this.
How does it lesson faith for example to say it is likely that Moses was striking one of these 'rocks' that are like coconuts (with water inside), and that is probably why God instructed him to strike the stone not just wave his staff?


The sea parting is already in the Bible, no need for a red herring about a modern movie. And why is it labeled a "false conception" ?
It's not a red herring -that's the conception that a lot of people have and atheists often use it as red herring' the same way they use 'sky god' 'old man in the clouds'.
The sea parting is in the bible but the way it is described, to Humphreys sounds like a real natural phenomena. Again this doesn't detract from Exodus, he is actually arguing that it's an historical account (miracles included) vs. skeptics saying it's just a made up legend.
 
Trying to come up with scientific explanations for supernatural events in the bible almost always comes from the intention, conscious or not, to dilute and discredit the power of God. Hopefully you are the exception to this rule and simply cannot see the deeper implications of taking this course.

This is essentially an appeal to modernity.
It doesn't seem like a lot of people here are listening.
Are you saying God doesn't use natural phenomena? Is the wonder and beauty of a flower detracted from because we know about dna?
How do you know what someone's intention is. The whole scientific method arose out of the Christian concept - that God made the universe ordered and we should seek to figure it out?

Again it does not detract it is simply telling modern readers what actually happened. When Jesus was crucified the Gospels say there was an earthquake. That is natural phenomena When Moses went onto the mountain all of the descriptions including the sound of trumpets- are phenomena associated with volcanic activity. This does not detract one iota the importance of his trip to the mountain or his meeting with God. We are simply getting a better understanding of what happened and debunking the idea they are made up fairy tales because they are written, like the Gospels are written as historical accounts and contain accurate descriptions.

How is it any different from bible archaeology - for example trying to figure out the path of the Flight to Egypt, or the location of Mt Zion?
 

DanielH

Pelican
Again it does not detract it is simply telling modern readers what actually happened. When Jesus was crucified the Gospels say there was an earthquake. That is natural phenomena When Moses went onto the mountain all of the descriptions including the sound of trumpets- are phenomena associated with volcanic activity. This does not detract one iota the importance of his trip to the mountain or his meeting with God. We are simply getting a better understanding of what happened and debunking the idea they are made up fairy tales because they are written, like the Gospels are written as historical accounts and contain accurate descriptions.
The logical conclusion of this to an atheist is that Moses never met God and he just got high off volcanic fumes and a lot of extraordinary coincidences allegedly happened to get them independence. This wouldn't convert anyone to Christianity, or Judaism if they were interested in making converts.
 
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