Science and Religion

Science and Religion
Since the ancient times, the connection between science and religion and their functions in the forming of knowledge has been a subject of numerous works. Some philosophers and scientists have proved that religion and science represent completely different approaches to knowledge and characterize the relationship between science and religion as a state of conflict. Sometimes this question is discussed in define yourself essay. On the contrary, representatives of church and theologians have suggested that both phenomena exist in harmony and address various aspects of the people’s lives.

Indeed, science and religion explain the general peculiarities of the world. However, science and religion apply different methods during the pursuing of knowledge. While science is mainly based on evidence, reason and empiricism, religion describes the world on the basis of faith and sacredness. As a result, religion is often considered to be unreliable source of knowledge. Religious knowledge is often described as dogma, on contrary to the scientific evidences, which are approved by the general public. On the other hand, the knowledge provided by science deals with the world of nature. It explains the reality with the appliance of observation and experimenting. At the same time, religion deals with issues that do not have any relation to materialistic world. For example, it cannot provide an analysis of the moral values, as well as define the meaning of the people’s lives. It proves that both categories have limitations in providing knowledge. The questions addressed by religion include the purpose of lives, the relationship between God and people and religious values. Science provides knowledge on every aspect of the world’s existence, including the composition of atmosphere and other substances, the peculiarities of universe systems, the origins and development of organisms, as well as occurrence of natural phenomena. Thus, while science provides knowledge on different aspects of people’s lives, such as medicine or history, religion can only interpret them in a specific manner. In its turn, the scientific knowledge is often considered to be incomplete, as it fails to explain the issues of values and meaning of life.

The traditional view on science and religion is represented by the idea that there is an inherent conflict between both categories. It is determined by a number of historical peculiarities. For example, the contradictions between science and religion date back to the beginning of the 17th century. In particular, the conflict between science and religion began since the establishment of competitor relation between the Catholic Church and Galileo. Since ancient times, the development of science was determined by the religious concerns. For example, the studies of Kepler and Newton were mainly based on the religious approaches, as the examination of the universe was related to the attributes of God. The situation has significantly changed during the 19th century, when the science and religion were considered to be antagonistic theories. There are several explanations for the existence of the conflict between two categories. Firstly, religion explains that the Earth is created by God, while science proves that the universe is based on the natural processes that can be explained by the natural laws. Secondly, there is an issue of natural evil. Religion explains that everything in the world was created with the purpose of exceptional goodness. At the same time, there is a number of natural processes, which bring destruction. They include natural disasters, such as tsunamis or tornadoes, diseases and genetic disorders. Thirdly, there is a contradiction between faith and reason. Faith is an integral part of religion, which is characterized as a belief made in a certain sphere that contrasts scientific reason. While science tries to explain every aspect of human lives and universe by providing evidences, religion is mainly based on beliefs and assumptions. Fourthly, both categories represent diverse levels of recognition. For instance, the Bible contradicts the scientific approaches to the world creation. Finally, the knowledge provided by both science and religion is based on different approaches, such as theology, philosophy or natural science. Thus, religion is not based on empiricist basis and often cannot explain all of the processes that take place in the world. In addition, religion provides examples of vague phenomena, such as resurrection. The position that religion is lacking evidences and cannot provide complete knowledge is supported by Hume.

As a result, science and religion are completely different phenomena. In addition, religion is considered to be lacking. Hume indicated that the only source of knowledge could be represented by experience and observation. The majority of issues discussed by religion cannot be explained with the appliance of both methods. On the contrary, behind religion there is a divine intelligence that does not use any empirical grounds. Another important element of receiving knowledge is making the conjunction between observation and receiving the experience. However, people observe neither God nor other universes, and hence no conjunction involving them. There is no observed conjunction to ground an inference either to extend objects or to God, an unobserved causes. In addition, there have been addressed an issue of miracle occurrence in peoples’ lives. For instance, miracles could not prove the existence of God. On the contrary, in all cases where there are opposing experiments, we must balance them against one another and subtract the smaller number from the greater in order to know the exact force of the superior evidence.

As a result, religious knowledge is considered to be a superstition, rather than valid truth. At the same time, science is supposed to provide a materialist point of view regarding the world. Thus, it denies a number of phenomena described by religion, such as the existence of other realities outside the world. However, science and religion cannot contradict each other. It is determined by the fact that both categories address different matters.

In addition, there is an opinion that religion and science address different issues. Such position is supported by Galileo. In particular, he underlined that both science and religion provide different kinds of knowledge. It is determined by the fact that two phenomena are based on the various approaches and methods. In his work “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”, Galileo provides the distinguishing between the knowledge provided by religion and science. While science describes the peculiarities of the Earth motion or existence of other planets, religion fails to provide such kind of knowledge. It introduces the existence of Heavens based on beliefs. Thus, science and religion represent different approaches to describe processes and events. For example, science tries to explain the origins, nature and events that take place in the physically detectable universe. On the contrary, religion tries to analyze the meaning of the human nature, existence of human soul and explain main processes of human lives. In addition, science and religion apply different methods. In order to answer the questions and explain the peculiarities of the everyday life, science relies on physical evidences, while religion uses divine inspiration. The world is being described with the help of interpretation of ancient texts. Thus, science and religion do not compete, as they provide different kinds of knowledge. Indeed, there are some overlaps in both science and religion. In particular, science does not interfere in the existence of the soul and its reincarnation after death. It is determined by the fact that such phenomena are not considered to be physically detectable. They cannot be tested with the appliance of hypotheses. At the same time, some religions try to explain the peculiarities of the physical world. For instance, ancient religious texts, including Bible, make attempts to explain the origin of the Earth. However, religious works do not contradict with the scientific explanation of the world processes and phenomena.

As a result, due to the difference in approaches applied to knowledge, science and religion provide different kinds of it. At the same time, both categories do not collide with each other. For example, the most important scientific discoveries and innovations were made by philosophers and scholars educated in religious traditions. During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church was responsible for saving scientific heritage of the ancient civilizations. Later such knowledge was used during the periods of Renaissance and Enlightenment. Other religions, such as Islam, contributed to the development of astronomy and mathematical knowledge. Hinduism is based on principles of reasoning and empiricism, which are considered to be legitimate fundamentals. According to the results of the research, science and religion represent non-overlapping spheres of knowledge and spheres of people’s lives. As a result, the conflict between both phenomena does not necessarily exist. At the same time, the general acceptance of scientific evidences can be influenced by religious dogmas. For instance, the idea of evolution based on the theory of natural selection is often rejected by the population.
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Lilia Ramsey


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