Unbridled Spirit of Power | Sojourners

Unbridled Spirit of Power

The splitting of the atom, whether it is used for the production of energy for industry or for military ends, raises questions of a theological nature; the "how" of its use brings up moral and ethical questions.

Following are four issues that the split atom raises. Despite their seemingly sociological nature, theology cannot be indifferent to them.

The limits of science

It is with some trepidation that anyone broaches the insoluble question of the limits of science: if such and such a research is called "scientific," is it therefore legitimate and proper? Do we have the right to do anything and everything?

It is quite clear that the modern age, to the extent that it has no criterion for life other than scientific "truth" and is dazzled by research results, will spontaneously answer yes. But the Christian has to phrase it a bit differently: do we, before God, have the right to do absolutely nothing in protest of a type of research simply because it is scientific? That is the true problem.

Christians are often afraid to take a stand, first because they share the prejudices favorable to science held by all and sundry in this era and, second, because they remember the errors committed by the "obscurantist" church in the Middle Ages--for example, the ban on dissecting cadavers, and the Galileo affair (let's not forget that the medieval church was not as obscurantist as we're led to believe and that Galileo was able to pursue his research thanks only to a pension from the pope!).

We must get beyond this difficulty. Are there limits? Are there any spheres before which we must remain silent or research must stop? Is it good that science recognizes no limit?

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