Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Science and Religion: Continuing the Discussion

After the fall of Rome (476 CE), the writings of Aristotle and many other philosophers were largely lost to the Western world, although Plato's speculative thought progressively made its way into Christian theology. As ecclesiastical history indicates, the illustrious bishop Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) possibly mixed Neoplatonism with biblical teachings to form a synthesis of knowledge that endured until Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 CE). Aristotelian philosophy then gradually became part of the curriculum in medieval universities: the Philosopher appeared to captivate some medieval denizens perhaps to a greater extent than Scripture. But what resulted from this admixture of Greek philosophy and scriptural tenets?

By the early thirteenth century, Aquinas proceeded to synthesize Aristotelian philosophy with Christian theology. He became known as the Church version of Aristotle. The so-called “Angelic Doctor” believed that by effecting this synthesis, he would provide sacra doctrina with more ammunition for defending the Church. So part of his reason for commingling philosophy and theology was to develop an apologetic bulwark against intellectual opponents of the Church. However, was this synthesis an augmentation of Christianity or did it somehow work against the Christian religion?


Duncan said...

Is "philosophy and religion" the same as "science and religion"?

Edgar Foster said...

The commonly posited and accepted response to your question is "no." Philosophy and religion are two separate domains, nor is science equivalent to philosophy.

1) Religion-starts from divine revelation
2) Philosophy-starts from/with human reason and emphasizes rationality
3) Science-empirically-based methods. More a posteriori approach to the world than a priori thinking.

Edgar Foster said...

Keep in mind that the blog post is also titled science and religion because my remarks were a continuation of an earlier submission. I'm eventually going to merge this post with another one.

Duncan said...

Thanks for clearing that up. The title and content had me confused.

Edgar Foster said...


You're welcome. The original post to which I'll be merging information is found here: https://fosterheologicalreflections.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-natural-limits-of-science-work-in.html