Religion and Science
Since the dawn of time, a deep rift has existed between science and religion in an attempt to try and answer the different esoteric questions that have plagued mankind for centuries, such as: What is our purpose on earth? What is our mission on earth? What is the meaning of life and the universe? Initially, all questions were spiritual and people acquiesced that there was a supreme being responsible for our presence on earth. However, in modern times, there have been several speculations concerning our presence on earth and the reason for human existence.
Following from this, the greatest controversy which ignites torrents of debate, arguments and heated deliberations is “the Big Bang theory.” The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological idea that the universe began in a “hot bang” 13.7 billion years ago. The theory states that the matter in the universe was concentrated into a single, incredibly tiny point. This began to enlarge rapidly in a hot explosion, and it is still expanding today. This theory, however, stirs a vast amount of dispute and controversy as some Christians believe that accepting the Big Bang theory is in disparity with God being the creator, and therefore defies the existence of God as an omniscient being which transcends space and time. However, some religions such as Hinduism and Islam accept the Big Bang as a channel in which God manifested his supremacy, creativity and splendour.
Furthermore, many theologians and astronomers argue that “the Big Bang” theory does not displace God as the creator of the universe; rather, it enforces the existence of a supreme being. According to Galileo Galilei, “science and religion are not enemies but allies.” He often tried to moderate the Church’s view on science by stating the fact that science does not undermine God’s authority but reinforces it. He once wrote “I can hear God’s voice in the music of the spheres, as I look through the telescope at the spinning planets.” He also stated that science and religion spoke different languages however, told the same story; a story of symmetry and balance…heaven and hell, night and day, hot and cold balancing and complementing each other. However, at that time, the Catholic Church disagreed with the idea that science and religion could ever be unified.
In contrast, a great number of scholars, academics, philosophers and astronomers argue that there is no evidence of a supreme being involved in creation. According to evolutionary biologist and celebrity atheist, Richard Dawkins “basing your beliefs on blind faith rather than evidence is dangerous and not helpful to mankind.” For example, Dawkin’s belief in the Big Bang theory is based on the evidence that other galaxies and celestial bodies are moving away from us, explaining the fact that farther away a galaxy is, the faster the galaxy moves away from us thereby giving evidence for the Big Bang theory. Conversely, he finds no evidence for the existence of God, therefore does not believe in it.
In addition, some atheists argue that religion is just a façade used by few rich individuals in order to oppress and enslave the poor. According to John Dalberg-Acton, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Several atheists and freethinkers have accused religious leaders of monopolising the truth, with a vast portion of blame heaped on the Catholic Church regarding issues and supposed falsehoods concerning the creation and timeline of the universe. According to these people, theocracy is a system for religious organisations to control the world, limit man’s understanding of the world and submit to religious authority without questioning.
Another issue which science and religion often dispute about is that of evolution. For several centuries, the quiet war has waged on, each side stating their beliefs and holding them in the highest esteem. According to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, all different species have evolved from simple life forms. This theory has triggered a vast amount of controversy as it conflicts with different religious opinions which hold the belief that God created the universe. However, the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has recently announced that the bible is compatible with evolution. He alleged that “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve”.
Despite all arguments for and against, one cannot sit idle and deny the fact that science and religion play a significant role in the lives of society. Science has alleviated our misery, as well as unleashed man’s potential for a better future. Additionally, religion fills a void in the heart of man, gives man a sense of purpose and direction. Together, science and religion combined pave a route for man’s acceleration to greater heights, improved future and a life where history and fact can be fused to create a beautiful world, perfectly suited for man’s need. The better they are at working together, at agreeing; the better they are for mankind.
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