Can Science and Religion Coexist?

Can Science and Religion Coexist?

The universe is incredibly wondrous, incredibly beautiful, and it fills me with a sense that there is some underlying explanation that we have yet to fully understand…If someone wants to place the word God on those collections of words, it’s OK with me.
— Brian Greene

I am leaving town in a few weeks for a semester long intensive immersion experience at one of the premier conservation research facilities in the world. I will be physically removed from Empty Church, but not in mind, spirit, or FaceTime. I love biology. I am a scientist. I learn about subjects that are contradictory to the bible, however, I am by no means an expert in creation or evolution and I can’t argue my case for what I believe because I simply don’t know. This has me thinking about how science and religion can or cannot coexist.

Religion and science are often at odds with one another. Scientists tend to stay away from God and pastors tend to stay away from science. Why is this? I am thinking it has to do with not wanting to lose members of their community or offending them. For so long the two have been divided that most people don't believe they can work together. There is a huge gap that needs to be bridged but is the gap so far apart that it's just not possible to bridge the two together? The problem with joining science and religion is that they are based on different experiences. Science uses empirical evidence to prove something to be true, which can then be modified if another experiment proves something else to be true. Religion, or the existence of God, cannot be tested using verifiable experiments.



How does it work?

Even as science progresses in its reductionist fashion, moving towards deeper, simpler, and more elegant understandings of particles and forces, there will still remain a ‘why’ at the end as to why the ultimate rules are the way they are…This is where many people will find God, and the fact of having a final unanswerable ‘why’ will not go away, even if the ‘why’ gets more and more fundamental as we progress.
— Ted Sargent, a nanotechnology expert at the University of Toronto

It can be said that science explains to us what goes on in the natural world, and religion explains to us what goes on in the supernatural world. With some overlap comes contradictions, which seem to be the focal point of the media, religious nuts, and crazy scientists.

Examples of overlap between the two experiences:

  • creation of the universe
  • the flood
  • Noah's ark
  • miracles
  • evolution
  • afterlife
  • God/Jesus

These are probably some of the most controversial things in the bible that science and religion butt heads against. While I don't think that science and religion are out to prove each other wrong, they by no means make it easy to figure out what's right. Religion often requires believing without understanding or knowing the "why" and taking the bible's word for it, while science is experimental, hypothesized, and theorized and we are expected to take someone's word for it.

It boils down to one thing

Trust.

Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.
— Albert Einstein

I get it, we all have faith in something, but my faith might not be the same as your faith. I very much view the world through a scientific lens, relying on evidence I can see, touch, smell, taste, feel, etc. You can say I use a small amount of faith or belief in things such as gravity that I haven't personally witnessed to be true (do anti-gravity chambers prove that gravity exists?), but my religious lens just isn't coming into focus quite yet. Maybe I have trust issues with a book that is supposed to teach me how to live my life or to worship something I am not even sure exists? At this point I'm much more willing to believe a scientist about things down here on earth than things up above, or maybe I just don't have the God gene.

Is there something in our DNA that makes us more likely to believe in spiritual faith or scientific faith? Leave a comment below!

About the Author | Kristal Miller
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An unbeliever exploring faith and doubt with friends.



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