Inaugural lecture of the new Andreas Idreos Professor – Conflict or mutual enrichment? Why science and theology need to talk to each other
The lecture sets out a view of the field of science and religion which both affirms its intellectual legitimacy and its cultural and spiritual importance. Among the themes to be engaged are the importance of a coherent vision of life, the need for a rationally satisfying understanding of reality, and why it is appropriate to identify and transcend the limits of the natural sciences. It also explores the challenges posed by the natural sciences for theology, and how it might respond, noting in particular some of the issues arising from the "New Atheism". Finally, the lecture affirms the place of a theological understanding of reality within our scientific culture ALISTER MCGRATH, the new Andreas Idreos Professor at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford, holds three Oxford doctorates: A DPhil from the Faculty of Biological Sciences in molecular biophysics, a DD for research in historical and systematic theology from the Faculty of Theology, and a DLitt for research in science and religion from the Division of Humanities. His specialist interests include the philosophy of explanation in science and religion, the theological application of a “critical realist” epistemology, and the development of natural theology as an interface between theology, sciences, and the arts. His most recent book Emil Brunner: A Reappraisal (2014) is a critical study of the development of the theology of the Swiss theologian Emil Brunner, focussing especially on his approach to natural theology, and the interface between theology and the natural sciences. Following the huge critical and popular success of his recent biography of CS Lewis (2013), McGrath is also researching the origins and development of Lewis's distinct views on the relation of science and faith.