Our origin and destination were never such a baffling question. The answer was simple, God. However, it seems as though the evolution of thought has complicated the topic, to the point where the previous simple answer was almost left behind. Religion has science to blame for its loss of complete power of the people. Perhaps this is why the religious society is so unwilling to find a happy medium. Although that is completely understandable, science did embarrassingly undermine their entire belief system, or did it? A growing number of people from each belief system are beginning to understand that science and religion depend upon each other to give the best answer available to the questions where did I come from, where am I going?
Scientists believe that the universe was created 15 billion years ago, whereas the chapter Genesis in the bible indicates the world is less than 10,000 years old. Genesis says the first life form was created 10,000 years ago when God created us out of dirt and when the earth was formed, scientists believe the first life form was 3.5 billion years ago and that humans evolved from apes. The list of conflicts is almost as long as the Genesis chapter itself. The scientific evidence is much more convincing to an educated member of society than the bible. Scientists believe that the universe was created when a super-dense particle exploded spreading matter and creating what we now know as the universe. This explosion consisted of matter and antimatter rushing away in different directions. Against usual scientific law, the explosion consisted of more matter than antimatter, of about one part per billion. (http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/bigbang.htm)
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This is where religion can be used to fill the gaps of science. The explosion was so exact that if it were to happen any other way the universe would not exist as we know it, if the atoms hadn’t arranged the way they did to form other particles then we wouldn’t be asking ourselves this question. Many scientists have found their selves asking if it happened all by chance or was there a designer. “These findings, now available, make the idea that God created the universe a more respectable hypothesis today than at any time in the last 100 years.” Frederick Burnham. To begin to form the important relationship between science and religion, each must be defined. The definition of science is easily and predominantly agreed upon, that is, it is gaining knowledge of the laws which govern our universe, and it relies heavily on logic.
Religion on the other hand presents something much more difficult to define, the dispute lies within organized religion rather than personal faith or belief in a supernatural being. For it is not so much someone who has faith or belief in a God than it is organized religion that disagrees with science. This is easily understandable because someone who is free from ties with a large religious organization is much more able to freely and open-mindedly decide upon their beliefs. Whereas if an entire organization based around a belief system is introduced to something that conflicts with what they have taught, and believed for generations, will find it much harder to adapt to this new way of thinking. This is visible in the way fundamentalist Christian organizations completely disregard scientific evidence creating an obvious disagreement with science.
Once again though, the evolution of thought will strike fundamentalist organizations and more will turn to personal faith or more accepting religions. This is obvious already, as the U.S.A which has one of the highest Christian populations witnessed a decrease in Church numbers of almost 10 percent from 1990-2001. (http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_defn2.htm#org) When organized religion is taken out of the equation, the question of where did we come from and where are we going can take a more constructive approach between science and religion. Neither science nor religion has succeeded in providing an answer to the all-important question. Science tries to answer the how questions, right back to how the earth was created, and religion tries to answer the question of why. Therefore doesn’t it seem obvious if the two are to work together then the best answer at this stage could be found?
Albert Einstein a theoretical physicist once wrote, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”. This quote sums up the fact that science and religion are both incomplete answers on their own. Philosophers have also played an important part in trying to understand the meaning of life yet, although they have come up with some interesting theories, this path has produced about as many answers as science or religion. Philosophers are more commonly able to give a more balanced argument as they will not necessarily be biased toward one argument. David Hume was a Scottish philosopher and historian he produced an argument against the designer theory, which many believe he killed for good. His argument consisted of several points such, “If a well-ordered natural world requires a special designer, then God’s mind (being so well-ordered) also requires a special designer. And then this designer would likewise need a designer, and so on ad infinitum.
We could respond by resting content with an inexplicably self-ordered divine mind, but then why not rest content with an inexplicably self-ordered natural world?” David Hume. Although this argument appears logical it simply responds to an opinion with another opinion. Where did I come from where am I going? It seems the more we ask ourselves the further we are from an answer. Religion isn’t set in stone like it was many years ago, we can’t even clearly define what religion is anymore. Science has provided us with some answers but has provided us with even more questions. Many philosophers have offered alternative theories but until we learn more about science and religion it will simply stay a theory. The truth is there is no answer to the big question yet. Humanity needs to become more open-minded and optimistic and hopefully, in time the answer will become more clear.
- A.Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, pp.41 – 49, New York, 1939
- Internet source: http://www.sacred-texts.com/aor/einstein/einsci.htm, Accessed on 16/8/05
- Internet source: http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/bigbang.htm, Accessed on 10/8/05
- Internet source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creationism, Accessed on 16/8/05
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