Sunday, October 21, 2012

Moltmann on science, theology, and the military

The latest issue of the journal Science and Christian Belief has a fascinating and stimulating article by Jurgen Moltmann, "From Physics to Theology - a personal story". It is based on a Faraday Lecture he gave at Emmanuel College (Cambridge, not UQ!) earlier this year. You can watch the lecture here.

Moltmann first gives the very moving story of how as teenager in the German army he ended up in an English POW camp searching for redemption, hearing the Gospel, and starting to read theology. I will post some of that later.

He then moves on to discussing Francis Bacon's notion that "[scientific] knowledge is power". He then makes the poignant observations:
Gaining power was, and is, a modern motive for the exploration of na- ture, but it is a very dangerous one. The twentieth century saw the politicisation of science as fascist and communist ideologies took possession of the sciences. The twentieth century also saw the militarisation of science during two world wars and the cold war that followed. The twenty-first century has brought us the economisation of science. Knowledge is not only power, but profit as well. These interests are alienating pure science from nature. Do we want to know nature for its own sake, seeking truth and correspondence with nature and finding what we have in common with nature? If so, the sciences are better preserved in fellowship with theology, than in the service of politics, economics and the military.                                                                     

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