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Original Research

Opinions about science and faith amongst Southern African clergy and theologians from the Reformed church tradition

Peet J. van Dyk

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 34, No 1 (2013), 9 pages. doi: 10.4102/ve.v34i1.750

Submitted: 12 June 2012
Published:  26 June 2013

Abstract

The main objective was to determine the opinions of Southern African clergy and theologians (from the Reformed church tradition) about science and faith. A secondary objective was to do an initial exploration amongst other church denominations. A total of 1770 structured electronic questionnaires were sent out via Email to all clergy belonging to the ‘Nederduitse Gereformeerde’ and ‘Nederduitsche Hervormde’ churches of which 108 were received back. The SPSS 20 statistical program was used to analyse the data. Most participants expressed a positive opinion about science. This positive opinion was closely linked to the general conviction that science and faith are not hostile towards each other, that science and faith can be reconciled and that the cosmos shows clear signs of divine intelligent design. Most participants nominally expressed strong anti-fundamentalist views regarding the authority of the Bible, but they did not necessarily appreciate the full implications of such a view, that is, given the prescientific cosmology of the Bible, it is highly unlikely that the biblical and scientific views of the natural world would be compatible. In conclusion, one could say that most participants were positively inclined towards science but arguably for the wrong reasons.

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Author affiliations

Peet J. van Dyk, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa

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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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