J.B. (Jim) Stump has a new book, Science and Christianity: An Introduction to the Issues. This book is designed as a college textbook to introduce the reader to various facets of the problem. It is not an apologetic for science or for Christianity. The book is short – 180 pages – and an easy read. It will provide an excellent introduction for Christian leaders at all levels, including (and perhaps most importantly) the local church. I gave a brief introduction in an earlier post (Signposts to God and More).
Science as we know it today originated in the Christian West. There is no debate about this. All cultures are capable of science – and the scientific revolution has traveled the globe, but it originated in Christian Europe. The role Christianity played in the development of science is less clear and debated. Was this an accident of history or are there features of Christianity that allowed scientific thinking to develop?
Other cultures seemed to have been further along the road of scientific development in the ancient world. But their attempts at birthing science were “stillborn” to use the phrase of Stanley Jaki…. The Scientific Revolution occurred in the Christianized Europe of the 16th and 17th centuries. (p. 20)
Some people, those who view the relationship between science and Christianity as dominated by inherent conflict, will claim that science developed in spite of Christianity rather than because of it. Others view the relationship between Christianity and the Scientific Revolution as incidental. There are, however, solid reasons for believing that the Scientific Revolution occurred in the Christianized West because of Christianity. Not because Christianity is true or false, but because it led to an environment ripe for scientific thinking.