Edinburgh has been called ‘The Athens of the North’, and ‘The Capital of the Mind’. Since the Enlightenment (1750 – 1800) this city has become a world centre for science and philosophy. Three intellectual giants here paved the way for our modern thinking: David Hume, James Hutton and Charles Darwin. With this there has been a strong movement towards atheism as many people here think that science can explain everything, and as such ‘scientism’ is the ruling paradigm today in our culture.
Europe saw a huge upheaval during the Reformation, starting with Martin Luther in Germany in 1517. This movement sought to reinstate the authority of the Bible for belief and practice, which had been lost over the centuries. Out of this thinking there arose many scientists with a strong Christian faith who began to critically re-evaluate the way science and medicine were being done in Europe.
Today it would seem that many people believe that science and Christianity are incompatible and that the Christian faith should be kept away from science, otherwise we will be brought back to the ‘Dark Ages’ of ignorance and superstition. Nothing could be further from the truth. Modern science was actually born out of great Christian movements of the past. Peter Harrison, Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, has written:
Outside Edinburgh, just off the A 68 near Fala, is Soutra Aisle. Although there is only a tiny part left today, there used to be a hospital called ‘The House of the Holy Trinity’, measuring about 700 square metres, which was the largest hospital in Scotland in the Middle Ages.