Read Along: Ch2—Are Science and Christianity at Odds?

Today we continue with Chapter Two in the Read Along with Apologetics 315 project. This is a chapter-by-chapter study through the book Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow. (Hear an interview about the book here.) Below you will find an audio intro for Chapter Two, a brief summary of the chapter, a PDF workbook with questions for the chapter, and some notable quotes. You’re also encouraged to share your comments and feedback for each chapter in the comment section below. Feel free to interact!

[Audio Intro] – Jonathan Morrow introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 02 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) – PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] – Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Two: Are Science and Christianity at Odds?
(pages 32-43)

Chapter two addresses the claim that Christianity is opposed to or in conflict with science. In answer to this, the authors point out the positive influence of Christianity on science, along with a number of pioneers of modern science who were theists. They describe the supposed persecution of Galileo and correct some of the modern myths that seem to be propagated about the Galileo episode. Furthermore, McDowell and Morrow point out that Christianity actually provides the proper philosophical foundation and motivation for doing science, whereas naturalism is fundamentally at odds with the scientific endeavor.

Apologist John Warwick Montgomery contributes an essay entitled “Faith Founded on Fact.” He argues that the finitude of the universe, its beginning, and its fine-tuning point to a creator.

Notable quotes:

Although it is widely believed that science and Christianity are at odds, the opposite is actually true. There is no inherent conflict between Christianity and science. We don’t mean to suggest that religious antagonism to science has never existed. It has and does. But the history of science shows that such claims of antagonism are often exaggerated or unsubstantiated. (p. 33)  

Defining these two worldviews shows us the root problem: naturalism and theism are at odds, not science and Christianity. Naturalism is intrinsically atheistic because it sees nothing outside the natural or material world(p. 37)

Science depends on the assumption that the world is orderly and that our minds can access this reality. Even the most secular scientists presume that nature operates in a lawlike fashion. This conviction is best explained by the pioneers of the scientific revolution, who believed the cosmos is orderly because it was designed by the rational Creator of the universe who desires for us, as beings made in his image, to understand, enjoy, and explore his creation. (p. 40)


  1. How do you respond the the statement that Christianity is anti-science?
  2. How does naturalism fail to give an adequate foundation for doing science?
  3. Do you think science is helpful or harmful to the case for Christianity?
Recommended Reading
Next Week: Chapter 3—Are Miracles Possible?
Written by

Brian Auten is the founder emeritus of Apologetics315. He is also director of Reasonable Faith Belfast. Brian holds a Masters degree in Christian Apologetics and has interviewed over 150 Christian apologists. His background is in missions, media direction, graphic design, and administration. Brian started Apologetics315 in 2007 to be an apologetics hub to equip Christians to defend the faith.

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The mission of Apologetics 315 is to provide educational resources for the defense of the Christian faith, with the goal of strengthening the faith of believers and engaging the questions and challenges of other worldviews.

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