With his new book "The Open Secret. A new Vision for Natural Theology", the world-famous British theologian Alister McGrath does neither religion nor science a service. That’s the opinion of University of Groningen professor Andy Sanders. In his view, McGrath is presenting his Christian theology as a kind of super science. ‘All he’s doing is creating confusion in the debate between religion and science. I’m expecting a lot of criticism when McGrath comes to Groningen soon to present his book.’
Knowing God via reason and nature, reality as created by God, that’s what natural theology is all about. This kind of theology does not try to rely directly on the Bible or other revelationary writings but tries when pondering God to take human understanding and experience as its starting points. The ancient Greeks and Romans were already involved in natural theology. In the Middle Ages natural theology took off, but after the Enlightenment and 19th century religious criticism it came increasingly under pressure. Advances in natural science also played an important role in this development. Alister McGrath, an acclaimed theologian from Oxford who gives lectures and interviews all over the world, is attempting in his newest book to bring natural theology up to date. He will be coming to Groningen on 16 and 17 September to give a lecture on Darwin and to present the Dutch translation of his book.
Andy Sanders is professor by special appointment, in particular in the philosophy of present-day multi-religious society, at the University of Groningen. He has worked for the University of Groningen since 1979. In 1988 he was awarded a PhD for his analytical reconstruction of Polanyi’s epistemology and the concept of ‘tacit knowledge’. He has published on subjects in the field of theology, philosophy of science and religious epistemology, and more recently on contemplative religious philosophy in the line of Wittgenstein and D.Z. Phillips.
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