Nowadays, people believe that science and religion don’t have anything in common at all. Science permits you to see what is proven day to day. Religion is based upon belief, belief in things that cannot be seen, but experienced. This belief is only accepted by faith and it spreads out because someone says it’s true.
Throughout many years science and religion were thought to be two rival forms of knowledge. Time has passed and people are starting to realize that, the statement mentioned before may not be true, that science and religion may be more united than we had thought previously. In fact, we can describe them as different ways of looking at the world that complement each other instead of contradicting each other. This idea is recent, since we all know that science and religion have been in “war” during a long time.
In the following points I am going to explain briefly two examples of conflict between science and religion:
* Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was an Italian astronomer. He studied the planets and stars. One of his most important discoveries was that he found out that our earth orbited the sun. This was good news until people swapped the idea that our earth was the center of the universe, something that they were taught until then. The Catholic Church reacted since they taught what the Bible said. Galileo was put on trial. Meanwhile, the Church realized that what Galileo said was true. Years later, the Church apologized, but the damage was already done. In that instant, people started to believe that religion and science were in competition.
* Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was a British scientist. He put forward the theory of evolution. He stated that all life on the planet had evolved, that living beings adapted to the environment in which they lived. Up to that point people believed that life was created in six days; as stated in the book of Genesis in the Bible. Both ideas contradicted each other. Darwin’s writings were quickly condemned. Darwin explained that human beings were as important as other living beings, but the Church taught that human beings were more special than other living creatures. Here you can see a clear example of reason and faith against each other. Things have changed today. Christians now accept Darwin’s theory.
Fundamentalist Christians are those who follow the Bible literally word for word. Today only a minority of the population follows the Bible word for word as compared to the XVII and XIX centuries. The Book of Genesis made a mistake when explaining how the world was made. The writers of Genesis weren’t scientists. The Genesis writers had the purpose to explain why the world was created, not how the world was created (this is left to the scientists). Science and religion are equally valuable. One is not more important than the other, nor more correct than the other. They just express different ideas.
If we look in great detail we can find a common point between science and religion; the world was not created accidentally, there was order and design in the creation of the universe. The world is too beautiful for it to be created by pure coincidence. In this way, religion and science complement each other. They just look at the world from different points of view.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was a French Roman Catholic priest and a scientist. He spent most of his life researching scientifically. He believed that scientific work gave him a deeper understanding of God as creator.
In my opinion, there is both good and bad aspects of scientific and religious interpretations. Sometimes I differ in opinion with science or religion. My opinion depends on what is being explained, I analyze which option is more logical. Everyone commits errors and this also holds true for both science and religion. In order for me to believe something I need to understand and rationalize why it is correct. If you make a claim then you should be able to defend it; you must be able to demonstrate the claim to others. Even though the process of demonstration is a scientific task, religion is also very helpful because it requires people to rely upon something greater, and that is faith.
* CONNIE, DUFFY: Religion for living, Alpha Press Ltd., Ireland, 2005.