On Wednesday Evening, a seminar was held at the University of Canterbury on the topic of Science and Religion. This event was hosted by several christian clubs on campus and featured Dr Andrew Sach who explored the questions “does science disprove christianity”. Here I hope to give a brief overview of Dr Sach’s talk and comment on some of the interesting points he raised on this issue.
In essence, the aim of this event was to demonstrate that there is no opposition between science and a religion such as christianity. Dr Sach described well the difference in the scope of questions which science can address and those which are only grasped through philosophy or theology. In short, the sciences, such as physics or neuroscience (determining which disciplines belong to science is in itself a contentious question), are methodologies which allow people to observe, measure and draw meaning from the material world around them. This often involves empirical analysis, theorising and using external tools to conduct tests. As such, science in the broad sense is incapable of determining the existence of God or His role in the universe. Dr Sach highlighted this by joking that one cannot ask God to leave the universe, so as to perform tests in His absence and compare these to when He is present. In essence, the questions of the existence of God are in the realm of philosophy and religion. In fact, the clear opposition to christianity within the scientific community comes from a very vocal group who promote an atheistic philosophy and world view. The opposition is not between christianity and science by definition, but rather between christianity and secular atheism, which is in essence a philosophy. Furthermore, a fair and well-informed analysis of history will reveal that christianity is in most respects the Mother of wester science and christian scientists have made essential contributions to most fields of modern science. Our speaker also outlined certain “scientific” theories such as the Multiverse theory, which is neither scientific nor succeed in addressing the question of God. He then finished off by making a broad claim for the validity of the gospel, in terms of the resurrection of Christ, while asking the audience to approach the claims of christianity in good faith, by engaging with its “founding document”, the Bible and getting in touch with other christians.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable event. I appreciated that Dr Sach used his own scientific background, some personal testimony and relatable language for scientifically-formed students, to explore this topic. However, I had some reservations as to certain points he raised on questions such as evolution. I was also at times a little frustrated that he did not clearly explain certain philosophical concepts which were critical to the argument he was building. Despite this, I hope that this talk helped motivate some people to think critically about what they hear among scientific circles and to explore these fundamental questions. I also hope that through the grace of the Holy Spirit, some of them will have the courage to honestly engage with the Bible and to remain open to the possible existence of God.
Find out more about the UC Clubs which made this talk possible:
Here is a link to the audio for this talk: