God and the Scientists

2009, Religion  -  48 min Leave a Comment
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Why are we here, how did we come to be, and can these common existential questions best be explained through faith or proven facts? Oxford University Professor of Neuroscience Colin Blakemore gives viewers an overview of Christianity's historically volatile relationship with science in this amusing and thought provoking film.

Blakemore explains that tolerance for scientific inquiry and challenges to church doctrine were generally tolerated until a turning point in the 1500s. It was at this time accusations of heresy started to arise and scholars too often found themselves branded as heretics. Scientists and educators were forced underground lest they be tortured into confessions of heresy, a crime punishable by execution.

Blakemore takes the audience on a tour of Rome's Museum of Criminology, where he encounters a number of 16th century torture devices, as well as an intimidating tome menacingly titled "The Inquisition Handbook of Torture, Volume 1." Continuing his travels to London, Kentucky, and Geneva, Blakemore surveys the great minds that have found themselves at odds with the church throughout history, including Galileo Galilei, Benjamin Franklin, and Charles Darwin.

An interview with Vatican staff astronomer Brother Guy Consolmagno takes viewers inside the Vatican's observatory and meteorite lab to illustrate how far the church has come in its relationship with science. Consolmagno patiently and passionately explains that the Bible is not a science book, but rather "a human interpretation of divine inspiration." A champion of both science and religion, Consolmagno strives to find the common ground between both worlds.

While the church has clearly taken enormous strides since the inquisition age, a visit to Kentucky's Creation Museum illustrates the ongoing struggle many people still have with the scientific inquiry into the creation of man. In one of the film's funnier moments Blakemore is visibly confused and disturbed by the Museum's depiction of a past in which dinosaurs and humans co-existed.

Culminating in a visit to CERN's Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, God and the Scientists provides an entertaining lesson in history and theology while questioning if religion and science will ever universally co-exist, or if there will always be a struggle to find common ground between believers and researchers.