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The science vs. religion warfare thesis is a modern atheist invention

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With a lot of help from Christians for Darwin

(This story should have run yesterday, but Father’s Day took priority.)

A reader writes to remind us of a recent book, doubtless forgotten in the current silly season of new atheist claims, a Pulitzer-winning history of America during the period 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America,1815-1848:

The quotation proved the perfect choice, capturing the inventor’s own passionate Christian faith and conception of himself as an instrument of providence. As Morse later commented, the message “baptized the American Telegraph with the name of its author”: God. [footnote omitted] The American public appreciated the significance of the message, for biblical religion then permeated the culture in ways both conventional and sincerely felt. Morse’s invocation of the Bible typified that recurrent importance of religion which has long characterized American history.

Of course. Forbidding the study of the Bible in school helps keep people ignorant of the actual history of the Western democracies, and more pliable with respect to increasingly authoritarian rule. Textbooks can then fail to emphasize and make explicit the strong religious dimensions of struggles like abolition and the civil rights marches.

Morse’s synthesis of science and religion represented the predominant American attitude of the time; only a few eccentrics believed there was any conflict between scientific and religious truth. Revelation and reason alike, Americans were confident, led to knowledge of God and His creation. Religious awakening, expansion of education, interest in science, and technological progress all went hand in hand. – From Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848, pp. 2-3 (New York: Oxford University Press 2007).

The reader who kindly sent this in notes that Howe, Rhodes Professor of American History Emeritus at Oxford, is not arguing a case, merely stating a fact in a largely axe-free general history of the period, part of the respected, multi-volume Oxford History of the United States.

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG That won’t help, of course, if airhead TV is into new atheism and the channel changer is bust again, or everyone watching has hand cramps.

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To all readers who are or have fathers: Happy (recent) Father’s Day!

5 Replies to “The science vs. religion warfare thesis is a modern atheist invention

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Well actually there is a war between science and religion. Only it is not a war between science and Christianity as atheists like to mislead people to believe, (in fact Christianity gave birth to modern science).

    The war between science and religion is a war between science and the religion of atheistic materialism/naturalism.

    In fact, since Darwinism, which is based on atheistic materialism, is more properly thought of as a religion rather than a falsifiable science, then it should, by all legal rights, be illegal to teach it in the public school classrooms of America. (No, I’m not holding my breath for that to happen anytime soon).

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-567588

  2. 2
    Robert Byers says:

    America was a very puritan , in the north, Protestant society. The South less so.
    Saying its religious is just as much missing the historical facts.
    Indeed teaching the trith would be seen as the natural thing to do in old america.
    They would not understand censorship in the name of higher ideals of scholarship.
    It would seem to them like plain state teaching that the bible is false under a guise of higher ideals.
    The reason they left England when they banned puritan ideas in the prayer books and schools.

  3. 3
    mahuna says:

    for Robert Byers @2–

    Don’t push the “religious freedom” thing too far. The Puritans came to America so that they could discriminate against other Christians (and of course everybody who was not a Christian), since the Church of England prevented the Puritans from enforcing their extreme beliefs in England. In New England, people could and were jailed, whipped, mutilated (ears and noses cut off), and hanged for the “crime” be simply BEING a Quaker. I’m sure that the same would have held true for Catholics and Jews, but apparently Catholics and Jews of the early colonial period kept well away from colonies run by fanatical Protestants.

    But even in the case of Maryland, which was created specifically as a refuge for English Catholics, as soon as Protestants took over the government of the colony, it essentially became illegal to be a Catholic in Maryland. It was already illegal to be Catholic anywhere else.

    And of course for centuries, there were laws that required businesses to be open on Saturday for the specific purpose of inconveniencing Jews. When public schools were started, it was common for there to be at least a half-day of class on Saturday for the same reason.

    At the same time, there was widespread suppression of Christmas and all other holidays. In the city of Alexandria, Virginia, you could be arrested and fined for being caught with a Christmas Tree in your house because several of the Protestant sects didn’t like ANY feasts of joy.

    And the effort to get prayer out of public schools was headed not by Atheists but but Catholics and Jews because the prayers taught in public schools (at the expense of all taxpayers and allegedly for the benefit of all citizens) were Fundamentalist Protestantism. Catholic parochial (parish-run) schools were started in the 19th century after a 10-year old Catholic boy was savagely beaten in front of his class for correctly reciting the Catholic version of the 10 Commandments and refusing to recite the Protestant version.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Axel says:

    It seems amazing that someone who has peddled a major, yet easily-verifiable lie should somehow get to lead the voluble apologetic movement of campaigning atheism, but presumably because militant atheists live in a kind of alternative reality, that is precisely the ‘achievement’ of Richard Dawkins.

    Just read this article, linked below, and be amazed. It is well-known that Einstein was a deist, indeed a kind of panentheist, as the article states, sharing with Christianity the belief in a God that is both transcendent and immanent.

    Dawkins repeatedly quotes from a book by a Max Jammer, a friend of Einstein. John Marsh, the author of the article, quotes from the very same book, yet finds that Dawkins has totally misrepresented Jammer’s words. I mean.. what sort of standards of behaviour does Dawkins wish to personify?

    Read and judge for yourself whether I exaggerate the appalling depth of his mendacity:

    http://www.bethinking.org/god/.....eve-in-god

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