Sunday School general review was always a hotbed for arguments that, among these godly people, often nearly ended in serious fisticuffs. The frail, shaking frame of the first-grader mustered up all the courage possible and asked, “But what about dinosaurs?” The intimidating, booming voice of the eighty-plus year-old preacher came back in that scoffing tone he frequently used when his righteous indignation was stirred and fumed, “There’s no such thing as dinosaurs! I’ve searched the Bible cover to cover, and it ain’t in there! Don’t believe everything those teachers are telling you. Search the Scriptures, child!”
The relationship between religion and science has been strained through the ages. Despite the fact that one characteristic describing God is the omniscience of the Divine, some faith practitioners reject the inclusion of modern technological sciences from their belief systems. With the prefix of omniscience meaning “all” and the root meaning “to know”, it would seem the two would automatically be married.
Contrariwise, religion and science have often been separated, and in some Neanderthal, controlling, fear-based sects, the divorce has been finalized. The struggle started in the earliest centuries with the great thinkers of the day disagreeing on the placement of evolving knowledge in the lives of spiritual people. The great Galileo was stated to have said, “The Holy Spirit teaches us to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go.” Centuries earlier, Tertullian believed religion should steer clear of new knowledge and considered it pagan influence, while others like Origen believed it should be embraced. Yet, others like St. Thomas Aquinas and Augustine of Hippo in the Middle Ages believed the religious schools of thought should keep an open door for interpreting spiritual matters as science revealed new truths. Centuries later, the divergent boundaries remain.
The breech should not be minimized nor oversimplified merely to issues like Creationism versus Darwinism. Other controversial issues come to fore. For example, not many years ago, sparks flew over The Pope’s statement that condoms make AIDS worse. Additionally, stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, contraceptives, chemical imbalances in the brain resulting in behavioral disorders, cloning, or something as asinine as determining whether or not there has been a “legitimate rape” based on if the victim conceives all add fuel to the fire as to why science and religious-based ideas split.
In his article, God vs. Science, David Biema stated “…a growing proportion of the profession is experiencing what one major researcher calls “unprecedented outrage” at perceived insults to research and rationality, ranging from the alleged influence of the Christian right on Bush Administration science policy to the fanatic faith of the 9/11 terrorists to intelligent design’s ongoing claims. Some are radicalized enough to publicly pick an ancient scab: the idea that science and religion, far from being complementary responses to the unknown, are at utter odds–or, as Yale psychologist Paul Bloom has written bluntly, “Religion and science will always clash.” The market seems flooded with books by scientists describing a caged death match between science and God–with science winning, or at least chipping away at faith’s underlying verities.”
A large contributor to this rift is the inability by some religious sects to allow their followers to think for themselves in an educated way, logically and rationally. Too much emphasis is placed on faith when, in actuality, the term “faith” is only being used to fill in gaps of ignorance by the unlearned. However, this is not true of all.
The National Academy of Sciences put it like this: “Newspaper and television stories sometimes make it seem as though evolution and religion are incompatible, but that is not true. Many scientists and theologians have written about how one can accept both faith and the validity of biological evolution. Many past and current scientists who have made major contributions to our understanding of the world have been devoutly religious. … Many scientists have written eloquently about how their scientific studies have increased their awe and understanding of a creator. The study of science need not lessen or compromise faith.”
As more leaders and followers of faith-based communities embrace this type of much needed philosophy and attitude toward the powerful, cutting-edge knowledge that is bursting onto the scene through new technological advancements, everyone will benefit. Maybe there is a reconciliation and second marriage looming on the horizon.
Machamer, Peter (1998). The Cambridge Companion to Galileo. Cambridge University Press. p. 306. ISBN 0-521-58841-3.
See Wikipedia, Relationship between religion and science.
Owen, Richard (2009-03-17). “Pope says condoms are not the solution to Aids they make it worse”. The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-05-22.
Biema, David (2006-11-5). God vs. Science.Time Magazine online article 0,9171,1555132,00.html#ixzz2GEkOQ72B. (Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1555132,00.html#ixzz2GEkOQ72B)
Singham, Mano (2010-5-9). The New War Between Science and Religion, The Chronicle of Higher Education.