This book explores the ways in which science and religion can coexist, and argues that there is no real conflict between the two. It’s what you might expect from the author, who is an Anglican priest with a PhD in physics.

The book is structured in a helpful way, from describing science and religion to exploring the history of the two and the different models for understanding them. It goes on to explore issues such as consciousness, the Big Bang and evolution using these different approaches.

Although it is an introductory text, it’s not a book for the (wo)man on the street, unless he or she already has an interest in science or philosophy. However, it does explain terms and sets out the foundations of the subject, including the basics of the philosophy of science. It is written from a fairly liberal theological perspective and appears to show some sympathy towards open theism and process theology, which might not be to all readers’ tastes.

It is somewhat disappointing that Straine has not engaged with modern apologetics and rational arguments for the existence of God, even going as far as to write: ‘Few would argue that faith in God can (or indeed should) be defended rationally.’ She briefly cites Aquinas’ ‘five ways’ and the ontological argument.

The book does not seem very likely to inspire faith in a reader, but it would certainly inform study into the broader academic subject. There is some helpful debunking of common myths about the so-called conflicts between faith and science.

In summary, it works as a thoughtful introduction to the issues, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it for someone outside the Church. HT

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