The Truths in Both Science and Religion

February 12, 2008
By Alaina Altamura, Kannapolis, NC

“Who created man?” This simple question has sparked an ongoing debate between the scientific and religious communities. The religious approach to answering this question would be to search for evidence of a higher power through the use of meditation, prayer, and faith. On the other hand, scientists seek universal truth by conducting experiments, analyzing data, and working towards logical conclusions. Science believes that all things can be figured out, whereas religion preaches about how some things are beyond the comprehension of humans. Not withstanding the two different views and approaches; science and religion sometimes can be used to validate the other.

Science and religion have often seemed to have been at odds with each other because science frequently disproves certain religious conceptions. One of the moments in history that established the beginning of the tension was when Galileo announced his support of Copernican astronomy. He continued on to write his book Sidereus Nunicus (Starry Night) in 1610 which described the observations he had made concerning the Sun being the center of the universe. The church had no tolerance for the scientific revolts, for they were still recovering from the separation of Christianity into Catholicism and Protestantism. At the time church and state were not separated and there were several rules that applied; first the earth was the center of God’s plan and therefore could not revolve around the sun, second the bible states that the earth is the anchor or the solar system. When Galileo contradicted this theory the church put him in house arrest for the rest of his years. What people do not usually know is that Galileo thought the Holy Scriptures divine and inspiring. His work with the church was not made to destroy it but, in fact, to better it. His outlook was that man interpreted the Bible too literally; as well as his beliefs that science was a way of discovering more of God’s great achievements.

When the notion of centripetal force around the sun was proven to be true the church felt resentment towards science. Because the church had been proven wrong they lost followers to science. But at the same time those who did not turn to science were pushed closer to religion. It is similar to how teenagers react to their parents. The more an idea is forced upon someone the more they pull away from it. The more science would conduct experiments and prove the church wrong; the more some Christians would study their faith.

As for the other case, scientific breakthroughs made the basis for religion more and faultier. In 1692 Salem, the Witch Trials began. Many young women and men were persecuted and killed for being accused of being witches. The witch hunt was led by Puritans. People were accused of being a witch or being under a spell (possessed) when they showed odd behavior such as spasms, screaming, and trance like states. Later science found these symptoms to be caused by Ergot poisoning. The hysteric reactions of the Christians in Salem took many lives, and what’s to say that the church will not make another costly mistake based on radical conclusion?

The only way to fully understand how the two opposing sides enforce each other is by studying the differences between the two. The main difference is that religion believes in a higher power/God while science believes that there is no supernatural force. Religion preaches about leading a good life in order to reach heaven, while science believes that there is only earth, no life after death. According to science, every process on earth can be figured out, but religion advocates that some things are only for god to know and not for humans to figure out. Through prayer religious people claim to be able to heal the sick, but according to science this is illogical because the only way to cure something is by treatment and medicine. Science itself cannot comprehend or explain the concept of faith so that is were we find many inconsistencies between science and religion. Science is logic based, whereas religion is all about trust.
Contrary to popular beliefs, the two can still enforce the teachings of the other despite the many differences. Science is yet to figure out how the first gases and particles were made. Once that piece of information is found the evolution theory will be pretty much validated. If one was to believe in both God and evolution it could be explained simple by saying,

“God put them there”

Science has helped religion by proving biblical stories to be factual. The Dead Sea scrolls are one of the more recent breakthroughs that enforce what the Bible already states. Science also has claimed to have discovered Noah’s arc. By researching biblical texts science has been able to find places and uncover artifacts that have been talked about in the Bible, and Quran.
Science is good at explaining the “why’s” by not as good as explaining the “hows.” Religion can help fill in the gaps that science cannot explain. Some of the greatest scientists in the world has ever known, from Leonardo Da Vinci to Isaac Newton, have acknowledged a divine force. They believe that some sort of God is the basis for creation, and therefore science. Religion does not have to be inconsistent with science! In conclusion I leave you with some words by Albert Einstein,
“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”

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