Uncertainty in Science and Belief in God

Thomas Emeleus

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Abstract

One basis of atheism is the ability of science to provide natural explanations of phenomena once regarded as supernatural, and once responded to in superstitious ways. In that frame, scientific progress dooms the supernatural to inevitable final redundancy. Such atheist belief is in tension with the sense shared by many people that human awareness is bounded by fundamental limitations which will never be overcome, and the intuition that we are caught up in underlying meaning and purpose, even though that is methodologically excluded from scientific work. Recent decades have brought an increasing understanding that unpredictability in many natural processes, including life processes and human culture, is an inherent consequence of complexity in nature. Human limitations and uncertainty in nature itself each makes science open-ended, provoking imagination of possible deeper layers of meaning and purpose, and inviting conversation with religious traditions and intuitions. Dualisms such as soul and body, material and spiritual, and natural and supernatural, may then be called into question and imagined as expressions of a deeper, all pervading, though elusive unity. To faith, God is in that place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalUniting Church Studies
Volume18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

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