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date: 20 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a comprehensive overview of the ways religion and science have been related to each other since the nineteenth century, taking into account contemporary debates on the role of the church in society and of the professionalization of science. There are at least four different positions on how to conceptualize the relationship: the conflict thesis, the complexity thesis, the dynamism thesis, and the discursive perspective. Most discussions of the relationship between religion and science operate with a conceptual distinction that defines ‘religion’ and ‘science’ as clear, separate categories, which then are related to each other, creating rigid dichotomies. The chapter discusses integrative and discursive approaches that are more suitable to capture the complexity of meanings of ‘religion’ and ‘science’ and that attempt to move beyond problematic dichotomous constructions. Two case studies demonstrate the usefulness of discursive approaches for the study of religion and science.

Keywords: discourse, religion, science, warfare thesis, spirituality, Buddhism, neuroscience

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