Thursday, 17 May 2012

English Religion and British Science

Reflection on religions and science (see here) was occasioned by visiting Canterbury Cathedral before seeing Hawking and Dawkins discussing British scientists on TV. Thus, English religion and British science.

The Church of England is our state religion. Henry VIII, like Constantine's successors, established Christianity. Consequently, C of E Cathedrals belong to everyone, Christian or otherwise. Even if disestablished, it will remain our historical Church. I agree with the Anglican refusal to accept a supremacy of the Bishop of Rome over the Archbishop of Canterbury and with the attempt to combine different branches of Christianity within a single Church. Canterbury Cathedral contains memorials to British soldiers killed overseas, including one murdered by a "Mahomatan fanatic", also described as a "foul assassin". Thus, we can contemplate this record of British military conflict while now adopting broader attitudes of pluralism and multiculturalism.

Britain has had the Reformation, the Puritan Revolution, the Glorious Revolution, the scientific revolution and the Industrial Revolution. Thus, we now have an established Church, a constitutional monarchy and the modern capitalism that conquered the world. The world has changed, is changing and will continue to change but we can still meditate in a Cathedral. 

On the TV programme, "Genius of Britain", Hawking discussed Darwin and also mentioned the year 1848 though not in relation to the Communist Manifesto which was published in that year. Marx and Engels, not British but in Britain, founded "scientific socialism" which, with Darwinism, explains the transition from single-celled organisms to the world economy.     


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