“Belief in God is a science stopper.” A reply.


The Christian could respond by saying that it was the Christian religion that so played a role in the rise of modern science, as commentator Efron captures:

“To be fair, the claim that Christianity led to modern science captures something true and important. Generations of historians and sociologists have discovered many ways in which Christians, Christian beliefs, and Christian institutions played crucial roles in fashioning the tenets, methods and institutions of what in time became modern science…today almost all historians agree that Christianity (Catholicism as well as Protestantism) moved early-modern intellectuals to study nature systematically” (1).

Belief in God, to many notable past & current scientists, has cultivated a sense of awe in the order and beauty of the universe that God created. Sir Isaac Newton once wrote that “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being” (2). Similarly, the well-known German mathematician Johannes Kepler saw God’s fingerprint in the intricacy of mathematics, writing that “The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order and harmony…which has been imposed on it by God, and which he revealed to us in the language of mathematics” (3).

More contemporaneous is John Lennox, Oxford mathematician and philosopher of science, who claims that “Far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise is validated by his existence” (4).

It may be the case that fundamentalist Christians view much of science as the enemy but it wouldn’t follow that all Christians are of such a view. To many Christianity is far from being a science stopped. In fact, some would argue that belief in God and the rational intelligibility of the universe is what gave science value and purpose.


1. Efron, N. 2010. Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths About Science and Religion. p. 80.

2. Newton, I. 1687. The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.

3. Keppler, J. 1858. On the more Certain Fundamentals of Astrology.

4. Lennox, J. 2009. God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? p. 210.

19 responses to ““Belief in God is a science stopper.” A reply.

  1. I think the Christian religion actually is a science stopper. If God intervened in the world supernaturally (as suggested by Christians) then the scientific method would be compromised. How can science work if an event can be either natural or supernatural based on ad hoc intervention by God?

    Also your quotes seem to verge on the appeal to authority fallacy.

    • ” I think the Christian religion actually is a science stopper.”

      I don’t really think so, Craig. Miracles are by definition rare, even in the Bible, and believing in them didn’t stop brilliant scientists like Newton, Kepler, Galileo, Copernicus, etc. from making their discoveries in the past, nor did it stop Father Lemaitre (a physicist) from proposing the Big Bang Theory in the 1930’s, or Francis Collins (a theistic evolutionist) from mapping the human genome in the present.
      Science deals mostly with the physical world , and so scientists (Christian or not) should (and most do) stick with methodological naturalism. to get answers. Doctors, I’m sure, are occasionally confronted with unexpected healings/recoveries for which no explanation exists, but no one would suggest that they should then throw away their stethoscopes and quit practicing medicine.
      Anyway, that’s my take, hope it helps.

      • It is interesting that you say miracles are rare. Every Christian I have met says that they have experienced miracles regularly. How do Christians recognise a miracle? When I used to go to Church, people were invited to come up (after the service) and testify about anything God had done for them recently. And there would be at least a dozen miracles in our congregation every week. Someone was sick and then they got better after medical treatment. Someone needed a new car and their finance application was approved. Someone lost something and later found it after praying to God. Have you ever experienced a supernatural miracle?

        The previous comment that you responded to was actually rhetorical Mark. The fact that science works tells me that a God does not perform supernatural miracles.

        • Yes, of course science works, but that doesn’t prevent the Author of the laws of science from superseding them from time to time. If someone drops an apple and I catch it before it hits the ground, I am not invalidating the law of gravity; I am merely overriding it temporarily for my own purposes. So with God.
          An excellent book that has many examples of documented miracles attested to by medical personnel and other eyewitnesses is Craig Keener’s Miracles. In it he gives examples both modern and more ancient of God performing miracles of healing, and even raising people from the dead. Definitely worth a look.

          • Have you ever seen a dropped apple not hit the ground?

            Have you ever observed something supernatural?

            • Like I said, check out Keener’s book. It contains tons of documentation, testimony, etc. for miracles past and present.I don’t believe I’ve ever witnessed a miracle of healing per set, but that has nothing to do with my argument.
              BTW, I should have said miracles in the Bible are rare, above.

              • All I wanted to know is whether you have observed a miracle (not necessarily just for healing). But you simply referred me to a book – so I’m guessing the answer is no. The trouble with your book reference is that it is even worse evidence than a directly hearsay testimony from yourself.

                As I said earlier, this is interesting to me. The many Christians I have come in to contact with claim that God is regularly performing miracles in their lives. So just as a rough guess, what percentage of people in your congregation do you think claim to have experienced a miracle?

  2. Once again, your own special brand of presupposition.

    Please explain how you get from the character Jesus of Nazareth to a universe creating deity?

  3. Why did God kill thousands of people in the Nepal earthquake?
    He created the universe, therefore, he created earthquakes.

    • This is a tough one for me too, Craig, partly because it is so emotional. What a horrible tragedy. We must pray for the survivors and their rescuers.
      As to your question, I don’t think there are any pat answers as to why God allows suffering, but here is one, and only one, PARTIAL response.

      I am a Christian man. As a Christian, I believe that God is the Giver and Sustainer of all life everywhere, throughout His creation. As the Giver of all life, upon Whom all of us depend, God can take life whenever and in whatever manner that He chooses. He has placed all of us on a scale of suffering, and He reserves the right to move us UP or DOWN that scale as far as He chooses, for as long as He chooses. Even to the point of taking our lives. For our lives are not our own. No one ever asked to be born, nor has anyone ever made themselves. I don’t mean to sound cold, which is why this is a partial response, but this is PART of what I believe, as a Christian man.
      Also, we Christians would do well to remember that while He was dying, Jesus on the cross asked “Why?” and got no answer.


      • We must pray for the survivors and their rescuers.
        Why? They survived.

        God can take life whenever and in whatever manner that He chooses.
        So is it ok for a parent to kill their own child if God is allowed to kill his children?

        No one ever asked to be born, nor has anyone ever made themselves.
        And yet the people that never asked to be born were born in sin and then they were ordered to be perfect. But unfortunately people were made imperfect so they were then given an ultimatum by their creator – submit or burn. I know he gave us freewill and all but I’m feeling a little bit pressured.

        • Pray for the survivors that they make a full recovery and rebuild their lives. Pray that the rescuers find more survivors.

          “So is It OK for a parent to kill their own child if God is allowed to kill his children?”

          You seem to have missed my point above, Craig. Our parents don’t give us life, GOD DOES. My mom and dad didn’t make the egg and sperm that made me; they just did what couples do to get them together. Again, IT IS GOD WHO ALONE GIVES LIFE AND SUSTAINS IT. Therefore He reserves the right to take it. My kids are not my own, they belong to God. So do I. So do you (whether you believe He exists or not). So does everybody and everything. As the Maker and Sustainer of all things, He can do what He chooses to do with His creation. Again, not a complete answer (of course), but a partial one.

          • Again, IT IS GOD WHO ALONE GIVES LIFE AND SUSTAINS IT. Therefore He reserves the right to take it.

            As the Maker and Sustainer of all things, He can do what He chooses to do with His creation.

            Having said that Mark, how do you reconcile the problem of evil? Have you ever been to a children’s hospital and seen the life that God has given to some of those children? Some of them do not want God to sustain the life that God gave them.

            • On atheism, what is evil? Children have no intrinsic value, they’re just globs of chemicals that came from nowhere and are going nowhere, regardless of whether they are “good” or “evil” (whatever that is). They have no more value than a roach. But IF they are created in the image of God, then He loves them far more than we do, and has promised to make all things work together for their good, if they will only let Him. And being all-powerful, all-loving, all-wise, and all-knowing, He can and will do this.
              Sorry for the long delay, my wife and son both had surgery recently.

              • On atheism, what is evil?
                The ‘problem of evil’ argument exists within the context of the theist’s claim of an omnimax God. The problem of evil includes all suffering, not just moral evil caused by human actions. It includes disease, famine and natural disasters etc. Therefore, criticising atheism for supposedly lacking a divine and absolute moral standard doesn’t resolve the problem.

                In a godless universe, we are actually just as insignificant as roaches, which is why we experience the same cruel indifference in the universe that all other animals experience. An indifferent universe makes perfect sense when we observe all of the evil and suffering in our world. But the Christian God makes no sense at all regarding the problem of evil.

                And being all-powerful, all-loving, all-wise, and all-knowing, He can and will do this.
                1. A God that is all powerful would be able to prevent evil and suffering.
                2. A God that is all knowing would know that evil and suffering happen.
                3. A God that is all loving wouldn’t want evil and suffering to happen and would take needed action to stop it.
                4. Evil and suffering happen.
                Since evil and/or suffering happen, these statements are contradictory. An all powerful, all knowing and all loving god cannot exist.

              • You left out all-wise in your response, Craig. Being all-wise as well as all-knowing, God knows whether or not a greater good can be obtained by allowing a lesser evil to occur. Because we are limited in our knowledge and wisdom, we are not in a position to say what the Almighty can or cannot do with what happens on earth. And how do we know how much evil God is PREVENTING?

              • All-wise wasn’t omitted, it is encompassed by omniscience (all-knowing).

                Once again you are suggesting that God simply allows evil and you disregard the point that if God created the universe, then he created everything in it – including evil. How can an omnibenevolent God create a universe that contains evil?

                What evil was God busy preventing when 250,000 people were killed in the boxing day tsunami in 2004?

    • You know the drill. Anything good that happens is credited to God and all bad is credited to nature. Anything good in the Bible is from God and all the evil is the author expressing his own opinions. Christians can twist anything but can convince only themselves. Funny isn’t it?

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