Man and the Universe: a Study of the Influence of the Advance in Scientific Knowledge upon our Understanding of Christianity

Abstract

IN this vigorous and attractive work Sir Oliver Lodge has gathered into a more or less systematic whole his well-known views upon the relation between science and religion. The result is a “Religio Physici” which recalls its famous prototype as much by contrast as by similarity. Sir Oliver Lodge, like Sir Thomas Browne, is at once a man of science and a sincere and candid friend to religion, but his apology for this position is far from a mere demon stration that a whimsical temperament can (by a credo quia impossibile est) hold incompatibles in conjunction. Nor does he follow the dangerous precedents of later apologists, who have strained analogies to prove that science and orthodox Christianity, so far from being at loggerheads, are really in perfectly amicable agree ment. There is, admits Sir Oliver, “an outstanding controversy” between orthodox men of science and orthodox theologians, “although active fighting has been suspended.” The reason for this controversy is “that the attitudes of mind appropriate to these two classes” are “at present fundamentally diverse.” Such being the case, the only hope of reconciliation lies in the admission on the part both of man of science and of theologian that neither is in occupation of the sole point of view from which truth is visible. In particular, the man of science must learn “that it is a sign of unbalanced judgment to conclude, on the strength of a few momentous discoveries, that the whole structure of religious belief, built up through the ages by the developing human race from fundamental emotions and instincts and experiences, is unsubstantial and insecure.”

Man and the Universe: a Study of the Influence of the Advance in Scientific Knowledge upon our Understanding of Christianity.

By Sir Oliver Lodge Pp. viii + 356. (London: Methuen and Co., n.d.) Price 7s. 6d. net.

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N., T. Man and the Universe: a Study of the Influence of the Advance in Scientific Knowledge upon our Understanding of Christianity . Nature 82, 424–425 (1910). https://doi.org/10.1038/082424a0

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