Religion the biggest benefactor of Science

Recently I stumbled upon an article on a christian blog claiming that christianity has done more for science than atheism ever has.

Here the link.

Initially my reply to the post was the following:

seriously? this article is wrong in so many levels. lets see if the author has put any serious thought into this. first of all: modern christianity in almost all aspects is diametrically opposed to the teachings of christ. alone the existence of churches. historical evolution of the bible: same story. scientists being born christian (kopernicus, gallilei etc.) was definitely not the reason for their findings. they were scientist despite being christian, not because. the biggest problems they had advancing their findings were in opposition to the church. many a great mind (and yes they were christian, because that was the way they were born) could only develop freely after fleeing to (mostly german) local rulers who protected them against religious prosecution backing this up with military might as they saw intellectual freethinking as a higher good in itself. To even assume, that christian teachings on evolution etc. would complete a theory? seriously? the bible was written in the bronze ages. sure they didn´t know better, so thats OK, but to try and perpetuate what was superstitious guesswork into modern day teachings is nothing but ignorant and dangerous. why can´t modern day christians simply accept, that jesus might have been a really cool guy, but that the world has moved on. that we now do know, that this planet isn´t flat, that we know the sun is a star, that there are other universes, that evolution is a scientific fact. trying to see scripture as an equal to research is not only naive, but dangerous. the bible was a political tool as much as it is a philosophy. I think most theologians who are not completely brainwashed will agree. And please; whoever still brings up the argument: it´s only a theory! has no understanding of science whatsoever. In science everything is theory, because science always allows for falsification, should future discoveries require this. So if you want to hold up christianity: no judging, no wars (the other cheek part) more giving (jesus was basically a socialist), no death penalty (jesus also quite clear about that). And the eye for an eye thing; that was based on reducing punishment to no HARDER than the crime in times when you got whacked for petty crimes. Thus take the core stuff seriously then you can start saying you´re a christian. You do know, that precisely the sect Jesus was part of, was excluded from the founding of modern day religion, because he was opposed to preachers and temples? And to glorify what a religion has done to further a culture? Easy: If you keep scripture and writing as such away from the masses, so as to be the only one who can read (perceived latin gibberish) away from the masses (a thing joseph smith repeated grandly) and make sure you´re the one with the cash to back everything up (don´t get me started on that one and where most of this came from) sure you are the one creating a culture. So thanks, but no thanks. Jesus´teachings. Great! If everyone actually lived by them the world truly would be a better place, ID etc in schools. No better way to hold a civilization back.

After coming back to the site and taking a little time to read some of the 1500 plus replies I will say a few more things on the topic.

First of all I was very pleasantly surprised by the high level of the discussions lead both by christians and atheists alike ( a few exceptions as always). So if you find the time, do read one or the other.

The bigger aspect though was that a recurring point of argument was the differentiation between the christian church and the christian belief. Can this really be separated? Especially when taking credit for christian scientists in a time when any other belief than the catholic one was unthinkable for most. I think not. In some cases one can definitely credit the church for discoveries, mostly by creating an infrastructure as monasteries were, where some bright minds had nothing much to do all day than to indulge in the research of herbs for example based on the fact, that they had time to spend and hardly needed to worry where the next meal came from. But is this not the same as some sort of research today, where universities or corporations fund research allowing bright minds to throw thoughts around and make discoveries doing doing so.

The article has yet to make a point out of what special aspect of the “christian” mindset would have led people to be better scientists or researchers than others. More so, how then would one explain how many other cultures (chinese, arabic, egyptian, roman) had their high times of breakthroughs. If one looks for a common denominator it ca only be one.

The more a culture/entity gave people (often of a limited circle) the luxury of having the time, freedom and resources to think and experiment the more breakthroughs happened in that time and area. A soon as these freedoms and/or fundings were reduced or cancelled the less happened and every time a religion or entity started feeling threatened by development of thought and science these tended to move backwards. Be it the “dark ages” in Europe or the times in the arabian world as of the 16th/17th century. The point that the base belief in christianity had any positive effect on science outside of these premises has yet to be made.

Rob Zeth

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