Have you ever imagined spending a semester or a full year digging into the liberating well of human knowledge and wrestling with some of the greatest questions that have puzzled humanity since the beginning of history, while enjoying the beautiful surroundings and rich cultural heritage of Cambridge?
The aim of our Study in Cambridge Tutorial Programme is to provide a gateway into the centuries-old science-religion debate, equipping you to formulate a critical and coherent approach to one of the most consequential discussions that has shaped the development of modern scientific and technological societies.
Science and Religion
Human beings have always been interested in big questions like: What’s the purpose of life? Where do we come from? What is the nature of reality? How do we know what is true? These big questions are big precisely because it is difficult for human beings to agree how to answer them.
In the past, in Western civilisations at least, people have developed two methods to approach these questions. Based on reason, philosophers have tried to come up with grand theories of reality and human nature to help us live better lives. Today, science takes on the legacy of the philosophers as the ‘reason-based’ approach to big questions. Stephen Hawking, for example, exemplified this approach.
On the other hand, based on faith, religions such as Christianity have offered sacred teachings from divinely inspired books to guide our thinking and actions in life. Religions don’t necessarily deny the usefulness of reason and scientific investigations; but religious people tend to emphasise the authority of religious teachings from books like the Bible over our incomplete and limited rational investigation.
These two approaches raise an important question for all of us. Are science and religion in conflict with each other? Can science refute religious claims and vice versa? Or are science and religion two non-overlapping sources of truth? Do they talk to each other, joining hands to help progress human knowledge? Or are they two different routes of getting to one and the same truth about reality?
Our approach to these questions can explicitly or implicitly affect our personal life-style choices, how we compartmentalise our lives, and, at a larger scale, affect policy making, education, public discourse and politics.