Edited Transcript:

When we come to this question of science and Christianity, it is not that science and Christianity are incompatible. There is an incompatibility. There is, if you like, a warfare that exists. But it is not between science and Christianity. It is between scientism and Christianity, yes, but also a whole lot of other non-scientific disciplines that are distorted and belittled by scientism. Scientism, in my view, is the thing that is incompatible with Christianity.

Science and Christianity are not, in my view, incompatible, although they may be mutually corrective or they may constrain one another. They are not completely overlapping. They often do have something to say about the same things. But they are not incompatible because if you distinguish science from scientism, then you are able to see that scientific and non-scientific descriptions can be simultaneously valid.

So in that musical interlude, all of the descriptions at different levels were true simultaneously. That is the crucial point which enables one to understand the world more comprehensively and give credence to the non-scientific disciplines just as much as one does to the scientific disciplines.

By the way, this is not simply the reaction of a believer or a religion that wants to give itself some kind of space in the face of the growing scientific understanding of the world. This is not a new invention, the idea that scientific and non-scientific descriptions can simultaneously be valid. It has always been the viewpoint one finds in, for example, the Bible. The scriptural viewpoint is even that if things have a natural explanation, they can also have a spiritual explanation. It is a viewpoint that was practiced very much by the founders of the scientific revolution, who spoke in terms of there being two books: the book of God’s word (the Bible) and the book of God’s works (meaning nature). Both of which were to be read and testify to God.

And I have tried to show you that this viewpoint is philosophically necessary otherwise you cannot make sense of non-scientific disciplines, quite apart from whether they are questions of religion.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What other worldviews or disciplines is scientism incompatible with? Why are they incompatible?
  2. Does this incompatibility make you think we should discount non-scientific disciples or does it make you think we should question scientism?
  3. How can an event to have both a natural and a spiritual explanation?
  4. Can you give an example of something you have experienced that seemed to have both a natural and a spiritual explanation?
  5. What do you think caused the transition from the founders of the scientific revolution believing in both spiritual and natural explanations to the modern scientists generally only seeking out natural explanations?
  6. Do you find that both the Bible and nature testify to God? Why might God have revealed himself in multiple ways?