A Short History of Science and Religion - Personal Thelogy
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Article Index
A Short History of Science and Religion
The Ancient World
The Greek Contribution
Rise of Christtianity
Dark and Middle Ages
Enlightenment
Rise of Science and Philosophy
Galileo, Newton, Kant
Reason
Modern Times
Personal Theology
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Personal Theologies of God

People who come to SPAFER meetings have many understandings of God. Some are atheists and do not believe there is an entity such as God. Others are agnostics. What one comes to believe about God is a personal conclusion that results from a personal search. However, one's god theology has everything to do with one's ability to reconcile religion and science.

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Only a very brief summary will be given here. Go to the links to read more about these theologies, many of which are very complex. Theologies that bear on the issue:

Theism – The ideas embedded in theism go back to the 16th century, but is still a primary God theology, especially in modern U.S. churches. In theism, God is an omnipotent entity that intercedes into the modern world (divine intervention), sometimes suspending the laws of nature by. A belief in a theistic god makes reconciliation with modern science very difficult.

Deism – Deists believe that God created the world and the natural laws, but does not interfere with the process in the present. Many scientists who still hold onto a belief in God have this model of God. It is compatible with modern science since there is no divine intervention.

Atheism – Many scientists, if not most, consider themselves to be atheists. There are more kinds of atheism than you might expect! See the link to the left to explore more. Atheism is compatible with modern science.

Agnosticism – Agnosticism is a belief that the existence of God cannot be proved, but the possibility for God to exist is left open. Many scientists share this belief. It is compatible with modern science.

Pantheism – Pantheists believe that God and the universe are synonymous, i.e., God is in and is everything. Pantheism is compatible with modern science.

Panentheism – Panentheists believe God is all that is in the universe, but is more, is the source of universal truth, and that God will likely always be beyond human understanding. Panentheism is compatible with modern science.

Process theology – Process theology plays a large role in the underpinnings of pantheism and especially panentheism. Process theology describes a God that is not omnipotent, and that God and everything in the universe is in change or "process". Self-determination plays a large role in the world. God maintains a mysterious component, but moves the world toward “completion” or “good” in ways not understood. Process theology is compatible with modern science.

One's God theology is not the only key to one's view of modern science. The belief about the role of the Bible in one's religion also plays a key role. Two polar views are common today:

a) The Bible is to be taken literally and is the infallible Word of God. This viewpoint makes reconciliation with modern science difficult since the entire Bible is written by men during the Bronze and Iron Ages when almost no modern science was known.
b) The Bible is to be best understood metaphorically and understood in terms of the time when it was written. This viewpoint leaves room for building a compatibility between science and religion.