5 – Incompatibility with science and reason
From a general perspective
Like all religions, Christianity is not compatible with science or reason.
Christianity like all religions is not compatible with science
Christianity has encouraged scientists to seek to know God by understanding their surroundings and nature, but it has also been a strong force of obscurantism during some specific periods of human history. Great pioneers in different fields have suffered major opposition of priests, preachers, and especially, inquisitors, under the Catholic Church.
It has sometimes had an antagonistic relationship with science. According to American religious scholar Kaufmann Kohler, the resulting Christian orthodoxy from the 4th century onward “emphasized faith, produced a thinking that deprecated learning, as was shown by Draper (“History of the Conflict between Science and Religion”) and by White (“History of the Warfare of Science with Theology”), a reliance on the miraculous and supernatural, under the old pagan forms of belief. In the name of the Christian faith reason and research were condemned, Greek philosophy and literature were exterminated, and free thinking was suppressed.”
Perhaps the best known example of this is when Galileo Galilei (“the father of science”), was persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church (even though Galileo asserted himself as devout Catholic) for popularizing the concept of Heliocentrism (of Copernicus), which is now understood to be correct. According to Professor Andrew Dickson White, in “A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (III.iii)”, 1896, Galileo’s experiences demonstrate a classic case of a scholar forced to retract his scientific insight.
Christianity like all religions is not compatible with reason
Some critics, such as Daniel Dennett and ethnologist Richard Dawkins, argue that Christianity has sought to suppress rational enquiry and hence the quest for truth. Dawkins cites the story of Thomas from the Bible and argues that the Bible actively discourages believers from making rational enquiries about their faith. Dawkins has said that he is against religion “because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.” Though Dawkins and Dennett are significant living critics on the issue of reason, they are by no means alone. A number of prominent philosophers throughout the ages have made similar criticisms. Bertrand Russell’s are recounted in ‘Why I Am Not a Christian’. Nietzsche is well known for his bleak view of Christianity, etc