Religious Neutrality and Philosophical / Scientific Theories

The Myth of Religious Neutrality defends the position that it is not possible to construct a theory in philosophy or the sciences that is not regulated by some religious belief or other. By “religious belief” I mean a divinity belief: a belief in something as the self-existent Origin fall else. The regulation effects the nature of a theory’s hypotheses, not which hypotheses it proposes. So, for example there have been (at least) three conceptions of the nature of atoms in the 20th century alone, and each differs from the others relative to the divinity belief it affirms or (tacitly) presupposes. This raises the question as to whether there is a distinctly Christian-Theistic take on theories, and I argue that the answer is “Yes.” The book closes with an account of the proposal of a Christian-Theistic theory of reality by Herman Dooyeweerd of the Free University of Amsterdam.


Which would be (in some way) a trinitarian theory, a view of reality where unity and diversity are coequally and ultimately real.

It does indeed regard a Xn v view as Trinitarian/Incarnational. But unity & diversity are both features of the created cosmos, so while they are equal they are not ultimate. The book defends the Orthodox/Calvinist doctrine of God rather than the doctrine developed by Augustine, Anselm, & Aquinas that regards God as the unity of all the perfections. My new book (unpublished) goes into this in some detail. I call it: Can We KNOW God Is Real?


Thank you for explaining this briefly. I would strongly contend the nature and persons of the Trinity are ultimate… however I did get into a disagreement about this a couple years ago with someone who widely read Edward Feser and we had to agree to disagree in the end over a miniscule point, and yet we gladly considered each other brothers in Christ.

Something else I noticed about unity and diversity being ultimate, which came from a certain Reformed pastor who shall remain unnamed due to the controversy his name creates, is how it totally confounds dialectical philosophy.

Plus for me, as I was being dogged by solipsistic skepticism, the thought of a God who did not know what it was to be alone, was too good to not be true.

I won’t have time here immediately to give this the attention it deserves (or would need for me to get up to speed - I’m still at work here as I even shoot off this reply). But my initial gut reaction is that this all is above my “pay-grade” and that you probably ought to try this in a new thread of its own right instead of letting it get lost in my little back-water thread on MacDonald here. Others smarter than myself would probably have challenges and reactions for you that will be higher caliber than what I can provide. (though others here may hold their own in more informed ways than I can.)

But meanwhile, I think it would be rewarding and enlightening for me/us if an author like you with all the invested research you’ve done for the subject - to hear how you react or what you bring to bear on the subjects at hand - that should provide some good illumination for the rest of us!


I’ll try to do that, Merv. Thanks for the encouragement.


The scriptures are pretty clear that the Son is “begotten” of the Father and the Spirit "proceeded from the Father. St Gregory Palamas comments: God out of a superabundance of love for us… has imposed upon himself a really diverse mode of existence.

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Yes, and I know Wayne Grudem changed his view to agree with this which I read with great interest in the last edition of his Systematic Theology.

However, the “begetting” does not mean the Father was ever without his Son. As far as what occurred at Calvary in the relationship, I don’t know, other than that it would not have been possible apart from the incarnation.

I agree that there never was a time when the Father was without the Son. The Son & Spirit were generated eternally. Time is also a created feature of the cosmos; the NT says a number of times that time was created by God. I distinguish 3 senses of “created”: 1. X is seated if there ever was a time it did not exist and then a time at which it began to exist; 2. X is created if it is a distinct reality from its cause; and X is created if it depends on its cause. Only God is uncreated 3. (This stuff is all in the new ms.that hasn’t been published yet.)

The Son is also uncreated. I’d take it a step further from saying the Father was never without the Son, to saying the Father does not exist apart from the experience of the relationship to the Son and the Holy Spirit.

He is a God that would not know what it is to be alone, that is until he became sin in the person of Jesus.

Yes, the Son is uncreated3. That’s why the scripture uses the term “begotten.” The Son is eternally begotten, not created.That’s because the Son is comprised of the same self-existent being as the Father.
Even when Christ bore the sins of the world his Divine nature was with God and was God; it was only the father’s approval that was temporarily suspended.
If you write to me I’d be happy to send you those chapters of the book that deal with this. My email is:

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  • Either I am clueless and do not understand what you’re saying or I’m very skeptical. My understanding is that Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity are considered “mainstream science” and I fail to see any “religious belief” regulation going on in either theory. Moreover, personally, I’m inclined to affirm that no rational and reasonable version of God is “a relativist” as, physics would currently define a relativist.
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Maybe it stems from the fact that everyone is ‘religious’ in an academic, technical sense. The etymology of the word contains the same root as ligand, ligament, ligature, obligate, oblige, religion. (-lig-: - Dictionary of English). So we bind ourselves to something, to some ideas, just in the fact that everyone has a worldview.

One of the elements that is common is that we live in an orderly universe, as opposed to a completely chaotic one or one where natural laws don’t exist and sometimes we’re all subject to gravity and then in an unpredictable moment we’re all floating in the air.

So that is the sense I infer he is using religious belief, not that God could be a relativist.

(YECs, on the other hand, believe that natural laws can change willy-nilly – the speed of light, radioactive nuclide decay half-lives… :roll_eyes:, contrary to Jeremiah 33:25, “This is what the LORD says: If I have not established my covenant with the day and the night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth…”)

Oh, and then I should have looked at the reply you cited, the whole thing.

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  • Big deal! My now-decease atheistic acquaintance affirmed, based purely on reason, that the world, which some call the universe and I call the cosmos, is, has always been, and will always be rational. whether it is explicable or not.
  • I’d prefer to read RC’s words on the matter, if he deigns to respond.
  • YEC-cers believe a lot of stuff, much wrong but, IMO, essentials (in historically orthodox belief) correct. I owe my current belief to some YEC-cers, and am certain that they were faithful, Spirit-led followers of Jesus Christ.
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The book begins by establishing that the definition of “religious belief” has a primary sense and several secondary senses. Its primary sense is a belief in something as the self-existent Origin of all else. Put another way: whatever is regarded as unconditionally nondependent and the source of all else, is thereby the divine reality. Every religion begins by identifying its candidate for the divine reality and then also advocates its idea of how humans can stand in right relation to the divine.
My contention is that theories, too, either contain an idea of what is divine or presuppose one. They differ from religions in that they identify the divine in order to establish causal pathways and construct explanations, while religions are concerned with how humans may relate properly in order to achieve greater happiness.
For example, a philosophical materialist says that matter/energy was not created but is self-existent. Everything other than the purely physical self-existent entities is generated by them. Other theories have said Space has that role in reality: what we call matter is generated by space out of itself: “space is eternal and infinite, and spontaneously generates protons” (this position was held by Fred Hoyle). From that point on the theory explains reality as the materialist does.
To be more precise, my claim is: 1) Every idea of the nature of reality includes an idea of the self-existent origin of all else - either explicitly or as a tacit presupposition.
2) Every scientific theory include or assumes a view of the nature of reality. Therefore,
3) Every scientific theory includes of assumes an idea of the divine which determines how the theory conceives of the nature of its postulates.

The business of “determining the nature of its postulates” is demonstrated in the rest of the book. My sample theories are from math, physics, & psych.

I hope this makes the claim clearer.

  • I would object; but won’t bore anyone with further “Public” posts on the matter. Hoever, I wouldn’t mind a Private discussion, terminable at either person’s will.

I gave these thoughts of yours a thread of its own, @RoyC , so that more readers will see them here, and you’ll likely get more responses.

Happy to oblige. I can be reached at

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