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At the crossroads of religion and science

At the crossroads of religion and science

Historian, Christopher Harding, reviews Playing God for Engelsberg Ideas. 15/05/2024

For all its enormous popularity, something feels a little dated about Netflix’s hit science fiction series 3 Body Problem. Whenever the conversation among its cast of super–smart young physicists turns to life’s big questions, the dominant theme is: ‘We don’t believe in God – we’re scientists!’ The closest one of them comes to finding solace in the face of death is the multiverse theory: many more of him will be living on, elsewhere.

It is a testament to the work of writers such Nick Spencer, and those upon whom he builds, that the idea is steadily filtering through into popular consciousness that science and religion are not the implacable enemies they were once claimed to be, in 19th–century polemics and then in the New Atheism of the early 21st century. Spencer’s previous book, Magisteria: the Entangled Histories of Science and Religion (2023), does a fine job of demolishing the old notion of ‘science vs religion’, replacing it with an account of rich, fascinating entanglement.

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Nick Spencer

Nick Spencer

Nick is Senior Fellow at Theos. He is the author of a number of books and reports, including Magisteria: the entangled histories of science and religion (Oneworld, 2023), The Political Samaritan: how power hijacked a parable (Bloomsbury, 2017), The Evolution of the West (SPCK, 2016) and Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014). He is host of the podcast Reading Our Times.

Watch, listen to or read more from Nick Spencer

Posted 15 May 2024


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