Elizabeth Cady Stanton lived her life without deference to a higher powerand advocated such living for others. Her criticism of religion was not limitedto "organized religion," which is popularly disparaged today. Shedecries "superstition," which probably indicates all religiousbelief, and trumpets rationalism and reason. Her identification of God withnature is a way of celebrating the purely secular without directly denouncingthe religious beliefs of others. She is in the camp of other freethinkers ofher time, such as Robert Green .
One way to distinguish between science and religion is the claim thatscience concerns the natural world, whereas religion concerns both thenatural and the supernatural. Scientific explanations do not appeal tosupernatural entities such as gods or angels (fallen or not), or tonon-natural forces (like miracles, karma, or Qi). Forexample, neuroscientists typically explain our thoughts in terms ofbrain states, not by reference to an immaterial soul or spirit.
One way to regard miracles and other forms of special divine action isto see them as actions that somehow suspend or ignore the laws ofnature. David Hume (1748: 181), for instance, defined a miracle as“a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition ofthe deity, or by the interposal of some invisible agent”, and,more recently, Richard Swinburne (1968: 320) defines a miracle as“a violation of a law of Nature by a god”. This concept ofdivine action is commonly labeled interventionist. Interventionismregards the world as causally deterministic, so God has to create roomfor special divine actions. By contrast, non-interventionist forms ofdivine action (e.g., Murphy 1995, Russell 2006) require a world thatis, at some level, non-deterministic, so that God can act withouthaving to suspend or ignore the laws of nature.
Views on divine action were influenced by developments in physics andtheir philosophical interpretation. In the seventeenth century,natural philosophers, such as Robert Boyle and John Wilkins, developeda mechanistic view of the world as governed by orderly and lawlikeprocesses. Laws, understood as immutable and stable, createddifficulties for the concept of special divine action (Pannenberg2002). How could God act in a world that was determined by laws?
Theistic evolutionists hold a non-interventionist approach to divineaction: God creates indirectly, through the laws of nature (e.g.,through natural selection). For example, the theologian John Haught(2000) regards divine providence as self-giving love, and naturalselection and other natural processes as manifestations of this love,as they foster autonomy and independence. While theistic evolutionistsallow for special divine action, particularly the miracle of theIncarnation in Christ (e.g., Deane-Drummond 2009), deists such asMichael Corey (1994) think there is only general divine action: Godhas laid out the laws of nature and lets it run like clockwork withoutfurther interference. Deism is still a long distance from ontologicalmaterialism, the idea that the material world is all there is.
Joseph Stalin, Soviet politician (1879-1953).
I believe Stalin called himself an atheist, but some would argue that hebelieved in the Hegelian doctrine of progress as a god.
campaigned throughout Tamil- for social reform, especially empowerment for womenand end to the social oppression of religion.
"He who created the god was a fool; he who spreads his name is a scoundreland he who worships him is a barbarian."
Albert Einstein, German born American physicist (1879-1955).
"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a liewhich is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God andI have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in mewhich can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for thestructure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." [From aletter Einstein wrote in English, dated . It is included in , edited by Helen and Hoffman, published by Princeton UniversityPress.
"A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy,education and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man wouldindeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment andhope of reward after death."
'Tis therefore by EXPERIENCE only, that we can infer the existence of one object from that of another. The nature of experience is this. We remember to have had frequent instances of the existence of one species of objects; and also remember, that the individuals of another species of objects have always attended them.... Thus we remember to have seen that species of object we call , and to have felt that species of sensation we call . We likewise call to mind their constant conjunction in all past instances. Without any further ceremony, we call the one and the other , and infer the existence of the one from that of the other.
"Gravity" would be an appropriate designation for the invisible force governing the observable interactions of massive bodies regardless of whether nature, the direct activity of God, or the indirect activity of God were its ultimate cause. "The point to note here," the logician Irving Copi writes, "is that from the point of view of observability and direct verifiability there is no great difference between modern scientific theories and the unscientific doctrines of mythology or theology. One can no more see or touch a Newtonian 'particle,' an atom, or electron, than an 'intelligence' or a 'gremlin.'" It should go without saying that if God is either the direct or indirect cause of gravity, then God has the power and authority to override gravitational forces at his discretion. On the question of ultimate cause Newton himself remarked, "Gravity must be caused by an agent acting constantly according to certain laws; but whether this agent be material or immaterial, I have left to the consideration of my readers."The metaphysical identity of gravity's own cause therefore remains a mystery no matter how precisely and consistently we are able to predict the behaviors between and among massive bodies. That being the case, theism and naturalism remain equally unaffected by the ongoing success of science—at least with respect to gravity.
James Joyce, Irish author (1882-1941).
Joyce rejected Catholicism and indeed all religion when he was a young man (as portrayedin A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man). He considered Catholicism to be"black magic", and deplored its anti-individuality. "For methere is one alternative to scholasticism, ." He also rejected the church's moralizing,etc. etc.
"He comes into the world God knows how, walks on the water, gets out ofhis grave and goes up off the Hill of . Whatdrivel is this?"
"I confess that I do not see what good it does to fulminate against theEnglish tyranny while the Roman tyranny occupies the palace of the soul."
As noted, most studies on the relationship between science andreligion have focused on science and Christianity, with only a smallnumber of publications devoted to other religious traditions (e.g.,Brooke and Numbers 2011). Relatively few monographs pay attention tothe relationship between science and religion in non-Christian milieus(e.g., Judaism and Islam in Clark 2014). Since western science makesuniversal claims, it is easy to assume that its encounter with otherreligious traditions is similar to the interactions observed inChristianity. However, given different creedal tenets (e.g., in Hindutraditions God is usually not entirely distinct from creation, unlikein Christianity and Judaism), and because science has had distincthistorical trajectories in other cultures, one can expect disanalogiesin the relationship between science and religion in differentreligious traditions. To give a sense of this diversity, this sectionprovides a bird’s eye overview of science and religion inChristianity, Islam, and Hinduism.