You don’t have to search too hard on the internet to find people parroting the tired old refrain that religion—and in particular, Christianity—is responsible for all sorts of ills. It’s blamed for everything from bigotry and closed-mindedness to war.
We’ll address the baseless claims above in future articles, but today we want to focus on another claim that gets quite a bit of play: Religion (especially Christianity) has historically stifled scientific advancement and if it weren’t for religion getting in the way, then we’d be out exploring the galaxy by now, cancer would be cured, and so on.
For anyone who’s studied the facts, the claim above displays a stunning ignorance of history, as well as an inability to think critically. After all, it was the belief that God created an ordered universe operating according to natural laws that helped give birth to modern science in the West in the first place.
We’ve addressed the alleged “war” between science and religion in a previous article. For today, however, we simply offer a totally non-comprehensive list of 20 famous and groundbreaking scientists with a belief in God. Incidentally, most were or are Christians.
This is not to say that atheist, agnostic, and other non-Judeo-Christian scientists have not made powerful contributions to science. They certainly have. However, when one considers the massive contributions made by these and other God-believing scientists, it helps put the lie to the old and busted claim that religion has stifled scientific advancement.
- Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543) – Helio-centric solar system – Christian
- Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) – Scientific method – Christian
- Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) – Astronomy, planetary motion – Christian
- Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) – Astronomy, helio-centric solar system – Christian
- William Harvey (1578-1657) – Anatomy and physiology, first to describe the circulatory system – Christian
- Rene Descartes (1596-1650) – Mathematics, scientific method, philosophy – Christian
- Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) – Mathematics, physics – Christian
- Robert Boyle (1627-1691) – Chemistry, physics – Christian
- Isaac Newton (1642-1726/7) – Mathematics, physics, astronomy – Christian
- Michael Faraday (1791-1867) – Physics – Christian
- Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) – Genetics – Christian
- Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) – Microbiology – Christian
- Maria Mitchel (1818-1889) – Astronomy (America’s first female astronomer) – Christian
- William Thomson Kelvin (1824-1907) – Physics – Christian
- Max Planck (1858-1947) – Physics / quantum theory – Christian
- Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) – Physics, electrical engineering, radio – Christian
- Albert Einstein (1879-1955) – Theoretical physics, Theory of Relativity – Raised a secular Jew, Einstein did believe in God, though not a personal God. He disavowed atheism.
- Lise Meitner (1878-1968) – Nuclear physics, helped discover fission, first female to become a full professor of physics in Germany – Christian
- Werner Heisenberg (1901-1975) – Theoretical physics / quantum mechanics – Christian
- Francis Collins (1960- ) – Genetics / Human Genome Project – Christian