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Science and Religion

In: Business and Management

Submitted By saraossaba
Words 2160
Pages 9
Sara Ossaba
English 101
April 30, 2015 Religion and Science
In the beginning there was darkness. Then there was light. Then there was consciousness. Then there were questions and then there was religion. Why are we? Where do we come from? Why does the world and nature act as it does? What happens when we die?
Religion tended to the answer to all these questions with the stories of gods and other supernatural forces that were beyond the understanding of humans. Where science seems able to explain everything with prove and evidence right before your eyes.
Science deals with the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
‘’Creationism", another view on man's origin, means belief in creation in a more general sense. A Creationist may believe that the earth is billions of years old, and that simple forms of life evolved gradually to form more complex forms including humans. In addition to that belief, however, is the belief that a supernatural Creator initiated the life process and continues to control it.
The most reasonable view on the origin of mankind is known as naturalistic evolution. It means a gradual process by which one kind of living creature changes into something different; evolution that is not directed by any purposeful intelligence. Another part of the idea is that more complex forms have arisen from simpler forms. Tracing back to the simplest living thing, a bacterium, and scientists may find the origin of mankind by finding something even simpler, something out of which bacteria they came. Recent work has revealed the existence of a group of bacteria that are as different from other bacteria as the latter are from plants and animals.
The abundance of evidence that there was life much earlier than ten thousand years ago makes it easy to disprove the view of the Creation-scientists. It is hard to disprove the Creationist's view because it is similar to the view of naturalistic evolution. The only difference is simply that a Creationist believes in a divine Creator as opposed to life beginning naturally.
The web site ‘’Evolution Resources’’ wrote ‘’Today, many religious denominations accept that biological evolution has produced the diversity of living things over billions of years of Earth’s history. Many have issued statements observing that evolution and the tenets of their faiths are compatible. Scientists and theologians have written eloquently about their awe and wonder at the history of the universe and of life on this planet, explaining that they see no conflict between their faith in God and the evidence for evolution. Religious denominations that do not accept the occurrence of evolution tend to be those that believe in strictly literal interpretations of religious texts.’’
Both, religion and science try to answer fundamental questions of human existence, but they give different perspective when answering these questions. Religion and science are preoccupied by such questions as meaning of human existence, afterlife, the role of science and religion in human life. It seems that science and religion often present opposing views on the problems. Science counts on facts and numbers.
In science nothing is taken for granted until it is proven. Religion counts of faith and does not need any proofs. Moreover, doubts, which make the main driving motif of science, are considered to be the since of lack of faith. Despite science and religion choose different ways to explain the world around they try to answer same questions. In reality, relation between science and religion was different during the human history. There were periods when they were closely interconnected and gave much to each other. When science only started its development relations between science and religion might have been characterized as conflict relations. Religion was the main source of power and influence on people and the development of science threatened unlimited power of religion. Scientists in their turn also rejected religion because they saw it as something confronting to religion. For example, Galileo and Darwin rejected any positive impact of religion. They believed that it limited human desire to study the world around. After the period of tensed conflicts, which characterized the period of early development of natural science the period of indifference started. During this period religion and science developed independently from each other. Science and religion studied same questions but the approached them from different perspectives. Out time is characterized by the attempts to incorporate the experience of science and religious achievements. Integration between religion and science is the most productive position because it can help to gather together the best achievements and experiences of both. The question of personal freedom is one of central questions of philosophy and religion. Materialistic approach puts all the responsibility on person. In material world our life is defined by our actions only we can influence it. Most religions of the world state that God or any other Supreme Power and believe that human freedom is limited by the will of God. In his book The Big Questions: A Short Introduction to Philosophy, Solomon writes, "One answer to the question, 'Who am I?' or 'What is my real, essential self?' is the religious answer; you really are just a soul before God, and all else - your worldly goods and accomplishments, even your physical body and its various pleasures and pains - is insignificant, unimportant". Most religions make accent of the life after death.
Oriental religions center on the liberation from the circle of deaths and lives called samsara. According to these religions people should have righteous life in order to get liberation. In Christianity and some other Western religions people are motivated by the idea of better afterlife. In these case people want to get to paradise after death and to avoid eternal tortures in hell. For many centuries religion was used as a very powerful tool to control behavior and actions of people. Most religions present basic moral and ethic norms and explain them as will of God of Supreme Being. Brining no harm to living creatures and tolerant attitude to all people is one of basic rules in most world religions. In reality these norms present basic rules or moral behavior which should be general for all people. For many centuries religion served as a regulation mechanism and carrier of moral standards. Attitude to material world is important questions of many religions. "Many religious commandments, in sexual and food prohibitions, tell us to abstain from the material, or bodily, enjoyments of life. Is it possible to be a religious person and deny yourself none of the pleasures of life? Or if a religion encourages us to make money, buy fancy cars, and live well, is it thereby corrupting its status as a religion?". Ascetic practices are widespread in all major religions. In many cases spiritual good is opposed to material good and only those people who limit their material needs may be considered to be truly spiritual. In reality material achievement have little impact on spiritual development of personality. People may possess much money but they may lead religious and righteous life while poor people may show immoral behavior. Religions underline that not material objects themselves are the source of problem for spiritual people. Attachments to material objects and making material objects the main aim of life becomes the main thing which distances people from spiritual life.
Science has often challenged religious dogma, since Copernicus first upset the Church-approved, heliocentric model of the cosmos. However, after the Enlightenment, when the empirical method of scientific enquiry was fully established, science has come to be seen as a competing, and viable method of explanation for all phenomena. Darwin initiated interest in the modern science of biology, in The Origin of Species, which advanced the theory of evolution, and this was contra to the traditional religious explanation. This stated that all animals, humans included, were evolved through natural selection from single-celled organisms to the multi-cellular ones that are extant today. This laid the foundations for the study of genetics, which was advanced by Watson and Crick who discovered the way DNA, the chemical code in each cell nuclei, could replicate itself. In June 2000, the first draft sequence of the human genome was published, representing a breakthrough for the Human Genome Project.
Science seeks to understand events through reasonable explanations and testing, religion puts emphasis on beliefs that cannot be proven through testing or calculations but rather, the faith in a higher being who controls every action and event. This explicates why Benjamin Franklin's beliefs, greatly influenced by the Enlightenment, clashed with Puritan ideals of the time. He believed human beings were, generally, good because they were created by an all-good God, but the Puritans believed God was merciful and loving towards individuals even though they were naturally corrupts because of original sin.
Although improvements were needed, human nature was moral in Franklin's mind. The decency of human nature came from an all-good God that could only create all-good in the world. "…being able to do only such Things as God would have him to do, and not being able to refuse doing what God would have donate. This statement supported the idea that humans were generally good because they could only act in God's pleasure. Conversely, Puritans thought, although God was all-good, original sin was to blame for human corruption, not God. It was the reason why improvement was certainly needed. Franklin's credence in human progression became evident when he tried to achieve moral perfection. "It was about this time I conceiv'd the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection". Since human nature was largely good, improvement could only increase one's standing in God's eyes. Also, most individuals deserved to go to Heaven because they were moral. These beliefs were severely contrasted by the Puritans' beliefs of human nature.

Puritans such as John Winthrop thought that humans were sinners which caused them to be evil. mean as our nature is now corrupt [because all people are sinners. Original sin was the main reason why humans were corrupt. Since it was unavoidable, humans would go to hell. "The justification for what seems like appalling ruthlessness is that everyone sinned in Adam and everyone deserves eternal death. Not only did original sin make humans evil, natural liberty also caused individuals to be evil because it allowed them to do as they pleased, which was usually bad. Natural liberty could not co-exist with any authority including God's authority. This [kind of liberty] is the great enemy of truth and peace, that wild beast, which all of the ordinances of God are bent against, to restrain and subdue it". Natural liberty would not allow humans to achieve morality; therefore, they deserved to go to hell. Franklin did not agree with this belief because God would not create something evil or against him.
Another of Franklin's beliefs was that God could only be all-good since he created humans who were, mostly, all-good. "If He is all-powerful, there can be nothing either existing or acting in the Universe against or without his Consent; and what He consents to must be good, because He is good; therefore Evil doth not exist". Puritan dogmas that God was powerful and good made Franklin argue that God had to be all-good because an all-good God would only create an all-good world and not create something to oppose him. So, their assumption that human nature was genuinely corrupt was incorrect because God would not create evil human beings if he was a good God. The general morality of humans also caused God to love and have mercy on all individuals, not just on those who were predestined to go to Heaven.
Religion and science may give answer to important questions if they unite their effort. Centuries of confrontation between the religion and science made people believe that they should be definitely opposed to each other. In reality science and religion have many things to share and they both may only benefit from such cooperation.

Overall science and religion will always be in a constant battle with each other. Since we can't really prove that either are of true fact that alone truly causes concern among everyone because the unknown is not something we like to think about. Hopefully one day society will find a happy medium for what religion and science should consist but for now there will always be intense debates about whether science or religion is better to believe.

Works Cited

Linder, John. Belief in God: In the Age of Science. New Haven: Yale UP, 1998. Print. I used this source to learn about how in the age of technology and science that we are in now how peoples beliefs in God have changed.

Compatibility of Science and Religion." Evolution Resources. The National Academies, 2008. Web.

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