Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:

login

Log in through your institution.

Journal Article

No Room for God? History, Science, Metaphysics, and the Study of Religion

Brad S. Gregory
History and Theory
Vol. 47, No. 4 (Dec., 2008), pp. 495-519
Published by: Wiley for Wesleyan University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25478792
Page Count: 25
Were these topics helpful?
See something inaccurate? Let us know!

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

Cancel
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
No Room for God? History, Science, Metaphysics, and the Study of Religion
Preview not available

Abstract

Despite widespread beliefs to the contrary within the secular intellectual culture of the modern academy, scientific findings are not necessarily incompatible with religious truth claims. The latter include claims about the reality of God as understood in traditional Christianity and the possibility of divinely worked miracles. Intellectual history, philosophy, and science's own self-understanding undermine the claim that science entails or need even tend toward atheism. By definition a radically transcendent creator-God is inaccessible to empirical investigation. Denials of the possibility or actual occurrence of miracles depend not on science itself, but on naturalist assumptions that derive originally from a univocal metaphysics with its historical roots in medieval nominalism, which in turn have deeply influenced philosophy and science since the seventeenth century. The metaphysical postulate of naturalism and its correlative empiricist epistemology constitute methodological self-limitations of science - only an unjustified move from postulate to assertion permits ideological scientism and atheism. It is entirely possible that religious claims consistent with the empirical findings of the natural and social sciences might be true. Therefore historians of religion not only need not assume that atheism is true in their research, but they should not do so if they want to understand religious people on their own terms rather than to impose on them an undemonstrated and indemonstrable ideology. Exhortations to critical thinking apply not only to religious views, but also to uncritically examined secular ideas and assumptions, however widespread or institutionally embedded.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[495]
    [495]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
496
    496
  • Thumbnail: Page 
497
    497
  • Thumbnail: Page 
498
    498
  • Thumbnail: Page 
499
    499
  • Thumbnail: Page 
500
    500
  • Thumbnail: Page 
501
    501
  • Thumbnail: Page 
502
    502
  • Thumbnail: Page 
503
    503
  • Thumbnail: Page 
504
    504
  • Thumbnail: Page 
505
    505
  • Thumbnail: Page 
506
    506
  • Thumbnail: Page 
507
    507
  • Thumbnail: Page 
508
    508
  • Thumbnail: Page 
509
    509
  • Thumbnail: Page 
510
    510
  • Thumbnail: Page 
511
    511
  • Thumbnail: Page 
512
    512
  • Thumbnail: Page 
513
    513
  • Thumbnail: Page 
514
    514
  • Thumbnail: Page 
515
    515
  • Thumbnail: Page 
516
    516
  • Thumbnail: Page 
517
    517
  • Thumbnail: Page 
518
    518
  • Thumbnail: Page 
519
    519