Science and Religion – 5 Christians Who Changed the World of Science

To some people, religion, especially Christianity and science are worlds apart, given that science deals with facts while Christianity is based on beliefs and hope.

However, science and Christianity don’t have to be at war with each other. In fact, both of these worlds can intercept and even complement each other. For example, there are things in the world that science cannot explain, which can be explained by religion. Likewise, science can help to improve the spiritual life of Christians by leading to discoveries that highlight the power and glory of the Creator.

This is why you will find that several famous scientists who shaped the history of the world were Christians or held Christian-like beliefs. Here is a look at the top 5 of these scientists.

1. Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler was one of the early scientists who helped to shape the history of the world. A German astrologer, astronomer, and mathematician, he is credited for his several contributions to the scientific revolution of the 17th century, including the Kepler’s law of planetary motion).

Other scientific contributions include Kepler’s conjecture, a mathematical theorem, and Rudolphine Tables, a star catalog and planetary tables. Johannes Kepler is also remembered for providing the foundation (through his work) for the theory of universal gravitation (discovered by Isaac Newton).

In addition to being a famous scientist, Johannes Kepler is also remembered for being a devout Christian. He was of the belief that God created the universe in an orderly fashion, which is what inspired him to attempt to discover and understand the laws that govern the universe, especially when in relation to astronomy. He is famous for several quotes such as “God is in the numbers”, “I am thinking God’s thoughts after him“, “I give myself up to the holy ravings”, and more.

You can find out more information about Johannes Kepler, including several of his other scientific contributions at http://www.johanneskepler.info. The site, which is dedicated to the scientist was built by Martin Wilson, a web designer at Albion.

2. Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton is another renowned scientist who contributed greatly to the scientific revolution. Considered to be a natural philosopher during his time, Newton was a mathematician, astronomer, physicist, and author. He is considered to be one of the most important and influential scientists of all time due to his numerous contributions. However, he is most famous for formulating the theory of universal gravitation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_law_of_universal_gravitation) and the laws of motion. Other significant scientific contributions of Isaac Newton include using the mathematical formula for gravity to account for tides, the precession of equinoxes, trajectories of comets, and other scientific phenomena. He also proved Kepler’s law of planetary motion. He also helped to advance scientific study and research by lecturing (University of Cambridge) and publishing scientific books.

Aside from being a scientist, Isaac Newton was a devout Christian. He held the belief that God was essential to the existence of the universe, and he is quoted saying that while gravity explains how planets orbit, it does not explain what set about the orbiting in the first place (hence the existence of a higher being, God). On top of his religious beliefs, Newton was a theologian, who dedicated his time to studying biblical history and numerology.

His religious beliefs have, however, been characterized as being unorthodox, and would have been considered controversial by the mainstream Christians of his time, had they been made public (at the time).

3. Francis Collins

Dr. Francis Collins
Dr. Francis Collins is one of the most influential scientists of modern times. A physician and geneticist, he is famous for leading the Human Genome Project and discovering the genes that are associated with various diseases. Currently, Collins serves as the director of the National Institute of Health, the U.S government agency that is tasked with public health and biomedical research. Before that, he was the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he oversaw several genomic research projects.

On top of being an influential figure in the scientific community, Francis Collins is one of the several scientists who believe in religion and God. However, it was not always this way: by the time he was in graduate school, Collins was an atheist. However, he started to question his religious views, which led him to investigate various faiths. This led him to discover evidence of God in the Universe, and today, he considers himself to be a “serious Christian”.

4. Galileo Galilei

A portrait of Galileo Galilei with his telescope
Galileo Galilei was an Italian physicist, astronomer, engineer, and philosopher. He is considered to be one of the most influential early scientists, and has been dubbed “the father of modern science”. He started his higher education studying medicine at the University of Pisa. However, he developed a passion for mathematics, and he left the university to become a mathematics tutor, and later a professor. Apart from mathematics, he had a passion for physics and astronomy. His contributions to astronomy include making a telescope and discovering evidence that the earth and other planets revolve around the sun.

Galileo Galilei was a Christian of the Roman Catholic church. However, his work and scientific beliefs created Catholicversy with the church (http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/the-truth-about-galileo-and-his-conflict-with-the-catholic-church). During his time, it was believed that the earth was the center of the universe – the official belief of the Roman Catholic church. The evidence he discovered of a heliocentric solar system (the sun being the center of the universe) was thus very controversial, such that he was accused of heresy.

5. Ernest Walton

Ernest Walton
Ernest Walton was an Irish physicist and Noble prize winner. He was one of the most influential scientists in the field of atomic physics. He is best known for his research in atomic physics, which he conducted in collaboration with John Cockcroft in the early 1930s. Together, they built a particle accelerator apparatus that used a stream of photons to split the nuclei of helium atoms. As a result, he became the first person to split the atom ). The research in atomic physics led Walton to win a Nobel Prize in physics in 1951.

Walton was a devout Christian, having been raised as a Methodist. He was one of the several scientists advocating for the peaceful co-existence of science and religion. He also believed in the advancement of science as a way of understanding the universe and God. After winning his Nobel Prize, he gave several lectures about these beliefs.

Conclusion

While Christianity and science might seem like worlds apart to some people, the above scientists prove that the two can co-exist. However, it is not always easy, especially given that Christianity is based on beliefs, the complete opposite of what science advocates for – facts – which makes it hard to balance both worlds.

And so, while these scientists and others (especially the early ones who shaped the scientific revolution) were devout Christians, their faith would have been hard to maintain in today’s world, where science has advanced so greatly.

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