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Science & Religion

The dialogue

By Rahab KimondoPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
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Science & Religion
Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Many present day scientists think that religion can never come to terms with science. Studies of the relationship between religion and science have traditionally assumed that any conflict that exists is based on epistemology. This assumption is built into the history of Western academic thought, the founding of sociology itself, as well as the common definitions of religion used by social scientists.

This assumption has hindered the examination of the relationship between religion and science. We categorize studies of the relationship between science and religion into three groups: the symbolic epistemological conflict studies, the symbolic directional influence studies, and the social-institutional studies.

We find that the social-institutional studies, which most closely examine actual public conflicts, do not presume that the conflict is over epistemological claims and offer a more general and fruitful approach to examining the relationship between religion and science.

In fact, the present-day divorce between science and religion is nothing else than the final outcome of a gradual, long-term, and deliberately assumed process of the secularization of science. With the loud protests of a small number of religious groups over teaching scientific concepts like evolution and the Big Bang in public schools, and the equally loud proclamations of a few scientists with personal, anti-religious philosophies, it can sometimes seem as though science and religion are at war.

News outlets offer plenty of reports of school board meetings, congressional sessions, and Sunday sermons in which scientists and religious leaders launch attacks at one another. But just how representative are such conflicts? Not very. The attention given to such clashes glosses over the far more numerous cases in which science and religion harmoniously, and even synergistically, coexist.

In fact, people of many different faiths and levels of scientific expertise see no contradiction at all between science and religion. Many simply acknowledge that the two institutions deal with different realms of human experience. Science investigates the natural world, while religion deals with the spiritual and supernatural — hence, the two can be complementary. Many religious organizations have issued statements declaring that there need not be any conflict between religious faith and the scientific perspective on evolution.

Furthermore, contrary to stereotype, one certainly doesn’t have to be an atheist in order to become a scientist. A 2005 survey of scientists at top research universities found that more than 48% had a religious affiliation and more than 75% believe that religions convey important truths. Some scientists — like Francis Collins, former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, and George Coyne, astronomer and priest — have been outspoken about the satisfaction they find in viewing the world through both a scientific lens and one of personal faith.

This is not to suggest that science and religion never come into conflict. Though the two generally deal with different realms (natural vs. spiritual), disagreements do arise about where the boundaries between these realms lie when dealing with questions at their interface. And sometimes, one side crosses a boundary in its claims. For example, when religious tenets make strong claims about the natural world (e.g., claiming that the world was created in six days, as some literal interpretations of the Bible might require), faith and science can find themselves in conflict.

Though such clashes may garner print, airwave, and bandwidth headlines, it’s important to remember that, behind the scenes and out of the spotlight, many cases exist in which religious and scientific perspectives present no conflict at all. Thousands of scientists busily carry out their research while maintaining personal spiritual beliefs, and an even larger number of everyday folks fruitfully view the natural world through an evidence-based, scientific lens and the supernatural world through a spiritual lens. Accepting a scientific worldview needn’t require giving up religious faith.

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Rahab Kimondo

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  • Deasun T. Smyth2 months ago

    Nice 😁. There is a another form of science, Creationism. Where they use science to explain the natural world around them whilst including God. But this view often clashes with the Evolutionists. Creation seeks science for proving God exists, and that his handy-work is evident throughout creation. Whereas Evolution is anti-god, and tries to prove that He doesn't exist. Two competing ideologies, with vastly different ideas.

  • Alex H Mittelman 2 months ago

    This is great! This is better then a ball of battered butter at a bar! Blisters bounce off boundaries to boisterous balance your blessed blasphemy! Wonderful work!

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