On Church and Science: Yet Another Phony Narrative

Academics today view Christianity as a fairy tale, and those believing in it as gullible and witless. Science and religion are portrayed as mutually exclusive, but this view has gained acceptance only in the last 100 years, and can be disproven.  Isaac Newton, the inventor of calculus and one of the greatest minds of all time, was a devout Christian and attributed to God all that he discovered in nature. 

“It was monotheism that launched the coming of physical science, for it premised an intelligible world, sacred and disenchanted, a world with a blueprint, which was therefore open to the searches of the scientists.  The great pioneers in physics—Newton, Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus—devoutly believed themselves called to find evidence of God in the physical world.”  Return of the God Hypothesis, Stephen C. Meyer

During the dark ages, the years after the the Roman Empire, learning ceased, right? The Church was the ultimate authority and jealously guarded its authority, being especially skeptical of science and new discoveries or innovations, right? It wasn’t until the Renaissance and the Reformation that science, art and learning once again flourished, right?

However, it seems mankind is remarkably adaptable, and Western civilization did not simply hunker down for a thousand years sleep while the Church censored attempts to understand our world and nature. Even before Newton, Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, hundreds of years before the Renaissance, the Church was indeed “the most powerful institution in Europe” yet “early Christian monasteries encouraged literacy and learning.”


While it’s true that such innovations as Roman concrete were lost, and the literacy rate was not as high in the Early Middle Ages as in ancient Rome, the idea of the so-called “Dark Ages” came from Renaissance scholars like Petrarch, who viewed ancient Greece and Rome as the pinnacle of human achievement. Accordingly, they dismissed the era that followed as a dark and chaotic time in which no great leaders emerged, no scientific accomplishments were made and no great art was produced.

Instead, the medieval Church grew into the most powerful institution in Europe, thanks in no small part to the rise of monasticism, a movement that began in the third century with St. Anthony of Egypt and would rise to its most influential point in the High Middle Ages (1000-1300 A.D.).

The dominance of the Church during the Early Middle Ages was a major reason later scholars—specifically those of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century and the Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries—branded the period as “unenlightened” (otherwise known as dark), believing the clergy repressed intellectual progress in favor of religious piety. But early Christian monasteries encouraged literacy and learning, and many medieval monks were both patrons of the arts and artists themselves.

The church also encouraged the lay people as well to become educated.


The university was invented in the Dark Ages, many universities developing from church cathedral/monastic schools. Universities were tasked with the pursuit of knowledge and innovation was esteemed, eg human dissection was introduced into human physiology studies. The first university was founded in Bologna in about 1088, then Paris (1150), Oxford (1167), Palencia (1208) and Cambridge (1209). About 60 more were added by 1500, over half endowed with papal charters.

Stark records the scientific work done by clerics in medieval universities, including Roger Bacon (1214 -1205) and William of Ockham (1295-1349). For example, space in the solar system was identified as a frictionless vacuum, allowing heavenly bodies to continue in motion forever. It was discovered that Earth turns on its axis and human perceptions that the earth is stationary in space are unreliable.

Such expansion of learning and science in Europe could not have advanced without the concurrence of the Catholic Church. How dark were these years actually?


Among the more popular myths about the “Dark Ages” is the idea that the medieval Christian church suppressed natural scientists, prohibiting procedures such as autopsies and dissections and basically halting all scientific progress. Historical evidence doesn’t support this idea: Progress may have been slower in Western Europe during the Early Middle Ages, but it was steady, and it laid the foundations for future advances in the later medieval period.

At the same time, the Islamic world leaped ahead in mathematics and the sciences, building on a foundation of Greek and other ancient texts translated into Arabic. The Latin translation of “The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing,” by the ninth-century Persian astronomer and mathematician al-Khwarizmi (c. 780-c. 850), would introduce Europe to algebra, including the first systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations; the Latinized version of al-Khwarizmi’s name gave us the word “algorithm.”

Charlemagne worked to uphold this lofty distinction, building a strong centralized state, fostering a rebirth of Roman-style architecture, promoting educational reform and ensuring the preservation of classic Latin texts. A key advancement of Charlemagne’s rule was the introduction of a standard handwriting script, known as Carolingian miniscule. With innovations like punctuation, cases and spacing between words, it revolutionized reading and writing and facilitated the production of books and other documents. Though the Carolingian dynasty had dissolved by the end of the ninth century (Charlemagne himself died in 814), his legacy would provide the foundations—including books, schools, curricula and teaching techniques—for the Renaissance and other later cultural revivals.

Wikipedia lists many well-known names from science, names from every age, who were actually Catholic clerics:

This is a list of Catholic clergy[a] throughout history who have made contributions to science. These churchmen-scientists include Nicolaus CopernicusGregor MendelGeorges LemaîtreAlbertus MagnusRoger BaconPierre GassendiRoger Joseph BoscovichMarin MersenneBernard BolzanoFrancesco Maria GrimaldiNicole OresmeJean BuridanRobert GrossetesteChristopher ClaviusNicolas StenoAthanasius KircherGiovanni Battista RiccioliWilliam of Ockham, and others listed below. The Catholic Church has also produced many lay scientists and mathematicians.

We have been told by today’s many atheistic scientists that religion, the Catholic Church in particular, has always been opposed to science. However, the Church not only supported the advancement of learning, but did so from within its own ranks: Gregor Mendel (1800s) is called the father of genetics; Nicolaus Copernicus (1500s) was the first to claim the solar system is heliocentric; Roger Bacon (1200s) was a Renaissance man before the Renaissance itself, a prodigious writer and scholar; William of Ockham (1300s) was a philosopher and the source of the famous Ockham’s razor–and these notables from history and many others were clerics. Albertus Magnus (1200s), a cleric, scientist, and philosopher was even made a saint (beatified in 1622). The Church opposed scientific advancement, yet a man of the cloth and science was promoted to the Church’s highest order?

The Catholic Jesuit order was founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola in 1534. They focused on advancing education since their inception. Dozens of American Universities, Georgetown (the first founded in 1789), Notre Dame, Boston College, among others were founded by the Jesuits.


Jesuits were called the schoolmasters of Europe during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, not only because of their schools but also for their pre-eminence as scholars, scientists and for the thousands of textbooks they composed. During their first two centuries, the Jesuits were involved in a burst of intellectual activity, and were engaged in over 740 schools.

Jesuits became deeply involved in scholarship, in science and in exploration. By 1750, Jesuit astronomers ran 30 of the world’s 130 astronomical observatories. Up to 35 lunar craters have been named to honour Jesuit scientists. The so-called “Gregorian” Calendar was the work of the Jesuit Christopher Clavius, the “most influential teacher of the Renaissance”.


The Jesuits in particular have made numerous significant contributions to the development of science. For example, the Jesuits have dedicated significant study to earthquakes, and seismology has been described as “the Jesuit science.”[1][2] The Jesuits have been described as “the single most important contributor to experimental physics in the seventeenth century.”[3] According to Jonathan Wright in his book God’s Soldiers, by the eighteenth century the Jesuits had “contributed to the development of pendulum clocks, pantographs, barometers, reflecting telescopes and microscopes, to scientific fields as various as magnetism, optics and electricity. They observed, in some cases before anyone else, the colored bands on Jupiter‘s surface, the Andromeda nebula and Saturn’s rings. They theorized about the circulation of the blood (independently of Harvey), the theoretical possibility of flight, the way the moon affected the tides, and the wave-like nature of light.”[4]

This tradition of the Catholic Church advancing education and learning has a long pedigree, going back well into the beginning of the dark ages. St. Benedict founded a new religious order in 529 at Monte Cassino (Italy).


He wrote extensive works and instructions that spelled how monks should live peaceful and piously in a communal setting that was headed by an abbot. His 516 CE book, the Rule of Saint Benedict, contained all those precepts and commandments. The Benedictine Rule went on to serve as the standard precept for more than a millennium and a half.

The abbey also encouraged its monks to acquire new medical tools in order to be able to better handle the health issues of their patients in Monte Cassino.

The abbey gathered so many books by authors from different eras that it soon became one of the biggest libraries in Europe. Many of those books and manuscripts were translated into Latin.

Between the 10th and 11th centuries, the abbey was considered Europe’s hub when it came to medicine, culture and education. The first High Medical School, which was opened near the abbey, made the abbey even more renowned across Europe.Why

Still, why has the view that the Church is a jealous competitor of science been advanced?


There’s no shortage of myths about the Middle Ages, like the oft-repeated — and easily debunked — notion that everyone back then thought the Earth was flat. Another common misconception is that scientific progress largely went dark during this era, snuffed out by the medieval church. But if you ask University of Cambridge historian Seb Falk, the reality is far brighter.

And then it [the new term: Renaissance] was picked up — particularly in the English-speaking world — by Protestants; Christians who rejected Roman Catholicism and the authority of the pope. Because they saw this period before the [Protestant] Reformation in the 16th century as being dominated by the church. So it was a way, for them, of disparaging the church; because they were anti-pope, they said that everything associated with the pope must be awful. And they picked up on episodes where the church had acted badly and took it to represent the entire period of 1,000 years, which is hardly fair.

Contemporary scientists like Neil DeGrasse Tyson are among those who still advance the notion that church and science are mutually exclusive:


Can science and religion be reconciled?

NT: As religion is now practiced and science is now practiced, there is no intersection between the two. That is for certain. And it’s not for want of trying. Over the centuries, many people–theologians as well scientists–have tried to explore points of intersection. And anytime anyone has declared that harmony has risen up, it is the consequence of religion acquiescing to scientific discovery. In every single case.

Dr. Tyson, a highly eminent scholar and scientist, doesn’t know history. I show above the Church itself has advanced the intersection between theology and science from the beginning of the dark ages (and before). I extensively quoted the History Channel, Discover magazine, Wikipedia, other books and periodicals, not Fox News or sources one could consider biased towards the Religious Right. Galileo’s censure notwithstanding, the Catholic Church is and has for thousands of years both pro-education and science. Even smart guys like Tyson are wrong sometimes.

What Else Do They say Today?

Stephen Hawking another well-known contemporary scientist said: “My prediction is that we will know the mind of God by the end of this century.” In other words, scientific advancement has eliminated the need for God. God is no longer needed to fill the gaps of our knowledge, per Hawking. The gaps are now quite small and an infinite and omnipotent God is not needed to explain what we never understood before.


“Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation,” he said“What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”


I believe that the discovery of these laws has been humankind’s greatest achievement, for it’s these laws of nature — as we now call them — that will tell us whether we need a god to explain the universe at all. The laws of nature are a description of how things actually work in the past, present and future. In tennis, the ball always goes exactly where they say it will. And there are many other laws at work here too. They govern everything that is going on, from how the energy of the shot is produced in the players’ muscles to the speed at which the grass grows beneath their feet. But what’s really important is that these physical laws, as well as being unchangeable, are universal. They apply not just to the flight of a ball, but to the motion of a planet, and everything else in the universe. Unlike laws made by humans, the laws of nature cannot be broken — that’s why they are so powerful and, when seen from a religious standpoint, controversial too.

Dr. Hawking was so much smarter than I will ever be, but I still criticize these silly observations. The universe is so incredibly large, more than 7 trillion light years across (https://www.space.com/24073-how-big-is-the-universe.html). The creator is always greater than the created. To be on par or to surpass the need for God, mankind would have to be greater than a universe of such unfathomable proportions, a universe we can never fully know.

Further, why should scientists see laws of nature as controversial? The great 19th century minds thought exactly the opposite.

Many founders of early modern science attributed the regularity of nature not only to God’s constant orderly supervision of it. As the Oxford University Historian of science John Hedley Brooke has explained: “For Newton, as for Boyle and Descartes, there were laws of nature only because there had been a [Divine] Legislator”. Stephen C Meyer, Return of the God Hypothesis

Dr. Hawking starts with the assumption that God is not knowable and has not been revealed to mankind. It angers modern thinkers that religious folks believe in something based on faith and without scientific hard evidence. This is why so many are attacked as believing in fairy tales.

Yet, we find God both in faith and reason; the two are not at odds. St Thomas Aquinas who lived smack dab in the middle of the dark ages provided five proofs for the existence of God (see below). Deductive logic says God is knowable. Aquinas demonstrated that God does not wish to remain unknown. God reveals himself for those who actually seek Him.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Perhaps is it proud men unwilling to share the contemporary stage with God who wish him to remain unknown?

Dr. Tyson, says the following about the Judeo-Christian God.


NT: OK, if that god is described as being all-powerful and all-knowing and all-good, I don’t see evidence for it anywhere in the world. So I remain unconvinced. If that god is all-powerful and all-good, I don’t see that when a tsunami kills a quarter-million or an earthquake kills a quarter-million people. I’d like to think of good as something in the interest of your health or longevity. That’s a pretty simple definition of something that is good for you. That’s not a controversial understanding of the word “good.” So if Earth in two separate events separated by just a couple of years can kill a half-million people, then if the god as you describe exists, that god is either not all-powerful or not all-good. And so therefore I am not convinced.

His argument is a common one: there is pain, suffering, and death in the world, so a loving God is a contradiction to such a world.

Still, Tyson goes even farther, saying he sees no evidence of good anywhere in the world. No evidence? Marriage and children brought no good in Tyson’s life? Fame and acclaim, college degrees, and life’s little joys, fail to provide any evidence of good in his own life? Is Tyson actually saying we should expect only good in all aspects of our lives? What indeed would the world be like if it were truly pain-free, if there was no death, and we were all immortal from birth? From a practical sense the world very soon be overcrowded.

It seems Tyson demands God hand us our birthright of happiness and immortality without any struggle. Should earth be our home forever or should our souls ascend to that better place our God has promised? God has not left us without hope or without a promise of a pain-free future. That would be the world provided by a truly cruel god. But Tyson’s world is the depressing one. What hope is there if we follow him? He believes this world is all there. If true, we should hold on to this world with all we have and gain all we can for ourselves in this world if nothing else is to come. However, our Judeo-Christian God (and other mono-theistic religions) promises a better life to come, so we have hope. We can make a better life for ourselves and others because we know there is better to come. We do not cling bitterly to this life. We religious have recognized and accepted the better deal than Dr, Tyson.

Still, pain and suffering understandably troubles many. Do we ever consider that good often comes of pain and suffering? Child bearing and childbirth are difficult and often painful. Children continue to cause pain for parents throughout their lives, yet children make our lives so much more fulfilling and meaningful than they would be without them. A high school or college degree, completing a marathon, finding true love, etc. come after considerable pain, hard work, and suffering. They are certainly worth the effort. In fact, nothing worth accomplishing in this world comes easily. If it comes to you easily, it is not worth having. “Hard is good”, I tell my kids continually. How simple and how fulfilling would life be if all pain and suffering were eliminated and everything came without effort? For more on this topic: why-all-people-suffer-how-a-loving-God-uses-suffering-to-perfect-us

Contemporary scientists at least recognize they cannot simply dismiss religious views and that they must provide an alternative to God. Tyson, Hawking, and others have recently given us the “multiverse” as that alternative.

NT: Philosophically, the universe has really never made things in ones. The Earth is special and everything else is different? No, we’ve got seven other planets. The sun? No, the sun is one of those dots in the night sky. The Milky Way? No, it’s one of a hundred billion galaxies. And the universe–maybe it’s countless other universes.

Stephen Meyer addresses this notion by first explaining (and providing much detailed evidence for) our universe is finely tuned and that any slight variations in certain universal constants would yield a universe that would ultimately collapse on itself. He then adds:

To explain cosmic fine tuning some physicists have postulated not a “fine tuner” or intelligent designer, but the existence of a vast number of other universes. This “multiverse” concept not only posits many other universes, but also various mechanisms for producing these universes . . . Thus, they portray our universe as something like the lucky winner of a cosmic lottery and the universe generating mechanism as something like a roulette wheel or slot machine turning out either life-conducive winners or life unfriendly losers.

A cosmic roulette wheel for millions of multiple universes, each trillions of light years across is a better replacement for God? Sure. Twist yourself in knots to explain away God. Perhaps Ockham’s razor, “The simplest explanation is usually the best one”, provided by a 13th century cleric might suit better.

Proofs of God from St. Thomas Aquinas:


Dave https://seek-the-truth.com/about/

This is a continuation of theme in my last post on faith: revival-must-happen

For more in this category: https://seek-the-truth.com/category/faith/

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