Appeared in 1997-1998, Vol. XXIII, Nos. 3 & 4

Three hundred or so years ago not a few scientists spoke of science and religion as united in a holy alliance. Two hundred years later theologians could do little about the warfare in which science and religion appeared to be locked forever. Today, many theologians and some scientists speak of the mutual integration of science and religion, these two paramount forces in human life.

From both sides all too often mere generalities rather than tangible specifics are offered. This may already indicate a lack of simultaneous competence in both fields. Actually, those generalities suggest that an identity crisis may be enveloping both science and religion, and to an extent far greater than one may suspect.

The religious side of that crisis is easier to diagnose by a mere look at programs of instruction offered in most departments of religion and religious studies, as well as divinity schools and theological faculties. Actual exposure to what goes on in those places can readily bring into focus a feature typical of most of them. Whenever a question is posed, only a multiplicity of answers is tolerated. even the slightest effort to cut through that multiplicity, within which contradictory stances too are acceptable, is frowned upon as judgmental. The result is the rise of that church where, to paraphrase a remark of Chesterton, each communicant is sharing the other’s unbelief.

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