Keeping the Faith

Religious Belief in an Age of Science

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About the Book

This book explores the modern relationship between religion and science, highlighting the public backlash over teaching evolution in U.S. public schools as an example of the conflict between religious faith and scientific reason. The author explores the middle ground between the two most extreme arguments, arguing that it is possible for science and religion to exist in harmony. The book also provides an analysis of 10 world religions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, revealing how each finds compatibility with differing religions and scientific doctrine.

About the Author(s)

Thomas J. Schoenbaum is research professor at George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. He is the author of many books and articles on legal and international topics.

Bibliographic Details

Thomas J. Schoenbaum

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 218
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3173-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1074-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. The Controversy Between Science and Religion      7

2. Creationism and the Constitution      12
The Cultural Wars of Religion      12
The Scopes Case      13
Evolution Eclipsed      14
Science Makes a Comeback      14
Equal Time for Creation Science      15
Enter Intelligent Design      18
A Fundamental Flaw      20

3. The World of Science      23
Categories of Reality      23
The Scientific Method      26
Classical Physics      28
Energy and Force      31
1. HEAT      31
2. ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM      32
3. LIGHT      33
4. SCIENTIFIC MATERIALISM      35
A New Frame of Reference: Relativity      35
1. SPECIAL RELATIVITY      36
2. GENERAL RELATIVITY      37
Another Frame of Reference: The Very Small      38
1. ATOMS AND MOLECULES      38
2. CHEMISTRY COMES OF AGE      40
3. ATOMIC PHYSICS      42
The Quantum Revolution      43
1. QUANTUM MECHANICS      43
2. QUANTUM ELECTRODYNAMICS      45
3. QUANTUM CHROMODYNAMICS      46
Astronomy      50
1. STARS      50
2. GALAXIES      51
3. COSMOLOGY      52
Theories of the Earth      53
The Life Sciences      55
1. THE BIRTH OF BIOLOGY      55
2. DARWINISM      58
3. THE DESCENT OF MAN      62
Scientific Truth: An Evaluation      64

4. The World of Religion      71
What Is Religion?      71
Religious Knowledge      72
Homo Religiosus      73
Mythic Discourse      73
Ritual, Community and Culture      74
Sacred Places      75
Science and Religion: Independence or Conflict?      75
How Science Influences Religion: Four Paradigms      77
1. DANTE’S MEDIEVAL SYNTHESIS      78
2. DEISM      79
3. DESIGN AND THE WORLD SOUL      80
4. THE TRIUMPH OF RANDOMNESS AND CHANCE      81
Lessons from Science about Religion      85
Mysterium Tremendum: Our A Priori Knowledge of the Holy      88
The Necessity to Choose      90
1. NIETZSCHE      91
2. KIERKEGAARD      92
Religion and Faith: Is There a Difference?      92
Mystical Experiences      93
The Quest for God: The Content of Religious Belief      94
1. HINDUISM      95
2. JUDAISM      98
3. ZOROASTRIANISM      101
4. JAINISM      103
5. BUDDHISM      104
6. RELIGIONS OF CHINA      107
7. RELIGIONS OF JAPAN      110
8. CHRISTIANITY      115
9. ISLAM      119
10. SIKHISM      122
Some Problems of Religious Pluralism      123
Religious Freedom      126
1. FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION      126
2. ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION      128
Summing Up: Final Thoughts about Religious Knowledge      130

5. The World of Philosophy      135
The Importance of Philosophy      135
The Limits of Knowledge      136
Intelligent Design: Rational Arguments for the Existence of God      138
1. COSMOLOGICAL PROOFS      138
2. TELEOLOGICAL PROOFS      139
3. THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT      141
A New Idea of God      141
Expressing the Transcendent      144
1. MYTH      145
2. ANALOGY      146
3. SYMBOLISM      146
4. HERMENEUTICS      147
The Genesis Creation Story      148
The Mystery of Existence      150
Ethics: How We Should Live      151
Ethics and Religion      151
Systems of Ethics      153
A Better Alternative: Virtue Ethics      156
Practical Reason and Objective Goods      160
Existentialism      161
Summing Up      162

6. Faith and Reason      167
Setting the Stage      167
Pope Benedict XVI and Islam      167
Critical Evaluation of Religion      170
Religion and Values      172
Theories of Right Action      175
Religion and Violence      177
Suppression of Minorities      179
The Status of Women      179
Religion and Law      181
The Concept of Law      183
Three Conceptions of Law      184
Which Is Best?      186
The Function of Law      187
The Constraint of Natural Law      187
Enter Positivism      188
A New Concept of Natural Law      190

Summing Up      193
Concluding Remarks      197
Bibliography      203
Index      205