Religion’s War Against Science? (Plus a Second Chance)

Religion’s War Against Science? (Plus a Second Chance) January 10, 2021


Mark Goodman with cameras and etc.
Mark Goodman, the director of our “Witnesses” films, hard at work in the woods.


But, first:


The 45-minute interview last night with Mark Goodman (the director of the Interpreter Foundation’s forthcoming theatrical film, Witnesses), Lincoln Hoppe (who plays Martin Harris), Caleb J. Spivak (Oliver Cowdery), and Michael Zuccola (young David Whiter), came together somewhat the last moment, and the word got out rather late and, possibly in at least some cases, with an incorrect link.


Which is to say that, if you missed it, that can be both understood and, yes, even forgiven.


But you havcn’t lost out permanently.  Not yet, anyway.


The interview will still be up for the next few days.  Possibly (though I’m not certain of the exact terminal date) for roughly a week.


You can find it at this link:




Meanwhile — and I cannot stress too much the vital importance of this — if you are interested in having Witnesses shown on a screen in your town or city or area, please go the link on the website that is marked “Bring Witnesses to Your City” and fill in your email address and your zip code there.  Simple as it is, this will be a very helpful contribution to our effort at getting Witnesses onto as many screens — and, thus, potentially into as many hearts and minds and souls — as we can.




I was  forcibly impressed by this passage from Elder David A. Bednar’s remarks at the October 2020 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I was impressed by it again when my elder’s quorum president cited it in his (very good) lesson for today.  So I cite it here:


While I was serving as the president of Brigham Young University–Idaho, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland came to the campus in December 1998 to speak in one of our weekly devotionals. Susan and I invited a group of students to meet and visit with Elder Holland before he delivered his message. As our time together was drawing to a close, I asked Elder Holland, “If you could teach these students just one thing, what would it be?”

He answered:

“We are witnessing an ever greater movement toward polarity. The middle-ground options will be removed from us as Latter-day Saints. The middle of the road will be withdrawn.

“If you are treading water in the current of a river, you will go somewhere. You simply will go wherever the current takes you. Going with the stream, following the tide, drifting in the current will not do.

“Choices have to be made. Not making a choice is a choice. Learn to choose now.”

Elder Holland’s statement about increasing polarization has been proven prophetic by the societal trends and events of the 22 years since he answered my question. Foretelling the widening divergence between the ways of the Lord and of the world, Elder Holland warned that the days of comfortably having one foot in the restored Church and one foot in the world were vanishing quickly.




Many critics of religious belief like to point to the European Middle Ages in order to illustrate the fact that, as they see it, religion in general and Christianity in particular are and long have been at war with science.  I grew up with this notion, assuming it to be true.  But it’s not.


Over the years, I’ve published several Deseret News columns in which I’ve argued to the contrary, both with regard to medieval Christendom and more broadly:


2 November 2013:  “Finding God through the history, philosophy of science”


17 May 2014:  “The supposed ‘war’ between religion and science and its casualties”


6 August 2015:  “Is religion merely outdated, failed science?”


10 March 2016:  “Thinking about religion and science, Thursday through Sunday afternoon”


15 June 2017:  “Science, progress and religion”


9 August 2018:  “Kepler and the supposed war between science and religion”


22 July 2020:  “Galileo: Science vs. religion or truth vs. fiction?  The intellectual situation surrounding Galileo’s case was rife with politics, and the battle lines were by no means clear cut”


I also call attention to this entry on the “Latter-day Saint Scholars Testify” website — formerly “Mormon Scholars Testify” — that I created and that is hosted by FairMormon:


“Henry Eyring”


Obviously, Henry Eyring had already passed away several years before, and my general principle was to not create “testimonies” for deceased scientists and scholars.  I made an exception in his case, though, because I considered his voice so important.  So I pieced an entry together on his behalf, as it were.


Now I notice the publication of a new book that seems to support my position on the specific issue of Christianity and science in medieval Europe, and that I intend to read:


“‘The Light Ages’ illuminates the science of the so-called Dark Ages: The book re-creates the life of a monk who contributed to astronomy”


I’m pleased to report, by the way, that the editor of the Deseret News has told me that my bi-weekly column on world religions will survive that newspaper’s change from daily to weekly print publication, which took place at the New Year.  I had not been informed, one way or the other, and my primary contact at the paper has been reassigned, so it was something of a relief to recieve an email from him on that score.




And here are some additional science-related links, some of them (not surprisingly) connected either directly or indirectly, with the current coronavirus pandemic:


“These stunning NASA satellite images capture 2020’s extreme climate events”


“The Earth – A Living Creature (The Amazing NASA Video)”


“The Earth has been spinning faster lately”

(Maybe this gives new meaning to the saying that the Lord is hastening his work in the last days?)


“Some identical twins don’t have identical DNA: Mutations arising early in development may account for genetic differences”


“Ancient humans may have deliberately voyaged to Japan’s Ryukyu Islands: Satellite-tracked buoys suggest there’s little chance the remote isles were reached by accident”


“The longest trail of fossilized human footprints hints at a risky Ice Age trek: The more than 1.5-kilometer-long trail was made by a young adult carrying a toddler”


“Plague may have caused die-offs of ancient Siberians: Bacterium DNA was found in two skeletons dating to roughly 4,000 years ago”


“Andrew Cuomo’s vaccine disaster”


“Severe allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines are extremely rare, CDC says: Vaccine sites should still be prepared for the dangerous but treatable reaction”


“We still don’t know what COVID-19 immunity means or how long it lasts: It’s unclear whether we could ever reach herd immunity without a vaccine or a high death toll”


“What the pandemic can teach us about ways to reduce air pollution: COVID-19 shutdowns didn’t fix air pollution, but create a natural experiment to study it”



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