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Science and Religion Essay

Posted by admin as Sample papers

Sample Essay on Science and Religion

Science and Religion
Peter Atkins once said that “science is almost incompatible with religion”, and thus expressed the opinion of the majority. Relying on the definitions of science and religion, the difference seems to be obvious because these two concepts originate from different dimensions of human activities. Science is usually referred to as the study of processes, forces, and development of nature, which is based on the analysis of evidence. When applying scientific approach, one assumes that various processes and events we observe take place due to natural causes instead of some divine forces. Moreover, science is precise, and the matters of morality, spirituality, and holiness lie beyond its areas of interest.

Religion, on the other hand, is closely connected to faith that is a profound concept in Christianity. Often, the main bases of religion is revelation given by a deity that is either orally transmitted from elders to their offspring and later immortalized in a holy book (like the Bible and Koran), or revealed to the believers in the process of prayer. The core of the conflict between religion and science relates to the perception of the universe and its laws: most of the religious groups believe that there exists one or several superpowers (deities) that created the earth and the universe and keep managing it in they way they think is best, while scientists deny these perceptions because they often bypass he laws of nature (for example miracles). Nevertheless, there is an evident progress toward the “peace treaty” between the science and religion with the increasing efforts to explain the events described in the holy books on the basis of science.

The discussion gets hot in the areas where science and religion overlap, including astronomy, geology, history, linguistics, medicine, human sexuality, and religious events and practices. Although nowadays many religious groups have adjusted their interpretations of the Old and New Testaments to fit with the scientific evidence, there are still some conservative religious groups outstanding that claim that the earth is no more than ten thousand years instead of 4.5 billion. Moreover, the flood story in Genesis directly contradicts the theory of evolution and anthropology that is based on the fossils’ excavation and examination of paintings found in the caves in Africa (particularly Ethiopia, Zambia, and Olduvai Gorge), China, Central India, France, Germany, Spain, Greece, Hungary, and England. The difference level of development and age structure excludes the possibility if word-wide flood.

The questions of linguistics, particularly the origin of different languages depicted in the story of the Tower of Babel in the book of Genesis, are explicated by the event that happened in the Middle East. According to the story, it was a time when humans ceased to understand each other because they were divided into different communities with different cultures and languages. However, science denies this story because there is evidence of gradual development of different language groups and their subgroups, which is mainly based on the migration of people.

There are also many contradictions in the field of medicine. For instance, several communities promote the idea that medical science is inferior to the special religious methods of healing often including prayer in he process. They justify their actions in terms of connection that exists between and body and a soul, and rely on God to heal them like Jesus did. Some groups of Baptists deny blood transfusion even if it is the only way to save their lives, which is a scientifically ridiculous idea.

Some controversies are connected to the patterns of human behavior, including the issue if human homosexuality. While many conservative religious communities reject these idea and insist that this “disease” can be cured by means of constant prayers and counseling, the majority scientist uphold the view that homosexual behavior is often not chosen, but instead genetically determined and normal in terms of psychology and medicine.

However, one cannot claim that overtime there were no attempts made to compromise religious and scientific beliefs. Contemporary believers chose to not interpret the books of Old and New Testaments literally, but rather they prefer relying on science and historical data to explain some parts that seem to be weird to one’s conscience. For example, no one believes today that the Earth is flat, sun turns around the Earth as the centre of universe, mental illnesses are the result of evil spirits’ possession, or that some certain number of children are to die in their childhood.

Therefore, one can conclude that although many beliefs of the religious groups contradict scientific data and approaches, more efforts is put to understand the Bible in terms of scientific knowledge about the period it was written in, and understand the reasons for differences if any are found. Basically, spiritual world come to unite with rationality.

1.Religious Tolerance.org. Conflicts, and the Occasional Agreement, Between Science and Religion. URL: http://www.religioustolerance.org/sci_rel.htm
2.Religion and Science. New York Times Magazine, November 9, 1930. URL: http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/einsci.htm
3.White, A.D., A history of the warfare of science with theology in Christendom (reprinted 1995), Trinity Press International.

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