Abstract Many people today believe that scientific and religious approaches to morality are mutually incompatible. Militant secularists claim scientific backing for their claim that the evolution of morality discredits religious conceptions of ethics. Some of their opponents respond with unhelpful apologetics based on fundamentalist views of revelation. This article attempts to provide an alternative option. It argues that public discussion has been excessively influenced by polemics generated by the new atheists. Religious writers have too often resorted to overly simplistic arguments rooted in literalist approaches to the Bible and the religious traditions. More historically conscious methods can avoid implausible claims about both religion and science.