Skip Nav

Short Essay on Relationship between Science and Religion

Post navigation

❶On the other hand, the experiment of science is an impersonal venture.

Recent Posts

2. Science and religion in Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism
1. What are science and religion, and how do they interrelate?
Primary Sidebar

In contrast to the major monotheistic religions, Hinduism does not draw a sharp distinction between God and creation while there are pantheistic and panentheistic views in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, these are minority positions. Many Hindus believe in a personal God, and identify this God as immanent in creation. This view has ramifications for the science and religion debate, in that there is no sharp ontological distinction between creator and creature Subbarayappa Philosophical theology in Hinduism and other Indic religions is usually referred to as dharma , and religious traditions originating on the Indian subcontinent, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, are referred to as dharmic religions.

One factor that unites dharmic religions is the importance of foundational texts, which were formulated during the Vedic period, between ca. More gods were added in the following centuries e.

Ancient Vedic rituals encouraged knowledge of diverse sciences, including astronomy, linguistics, and mathematics. Astronomical knowledge was required to determine the timing of rituals and the construction of sacrificial altars. Linguistics developed out of a need to formalize grammatical rules for classical Sanskrit, which was used in rituals.

Large public offerings also required the construction of elaborate altars, which posed geometrical problems and thus led to advances in geometry. Classic Vedic texts also frequently used very large numbers, for instance, to denote the age of humanity and the Earth, which required a system to represent numbers parsimoniously, giving rise to a base positional system and a symbolic representation for zero as a placeholder, which would later be imported in other mathematical traditions Joseph In this way, ancient Indian dharma encouraged the emergence of the sciences.

Around the sixth—fifth century BCE, the northern part of the Indian subcontinent experienced an extensive urbanization. The latter defended a form of metaphysical naturalism, denying the existence of gods or karma. The relationship between science and religion on the Indian subcontinent is complex, in part because the dharmic religions and philosophical schools are so diverse. Such views were close to philosophical naturalism in modern science, but this school disappeared in the twelfth century.

He formulated design and cosmological arguments, drawing on analogies between the world and artifacts: Given that the universe is so complex that even an intelligent craftsman cannot comprehend it, how could it have been created by non-intelligent natural forces? From to , India was under British colonial rule.

This had a profound influence on its culture. Hindus came into contact with Western science and technology. For local intellectuals, the contact with Western science presented a challenge: Mahendrahal Sircar — was one of the first authors to examine evolutionary theory and its implications for Hindu religious beliefs. Sircar was an evolutionary theist, who believed that God used evolution to create the current life forms. Evolutionary theism was not a new hypothesis in Hinduism, but the many lines of empirical evidence Darwin provided for evolution gave it a fresh impetus.

While Sircar accepted organic evolution through common descent, he questioned the mechanism of natural selection as it was not teleological, which went against his evolutionary theism—this was a widespread problem for the acceptance of evolutionary theory, one that Christian evolutionary theists also wrestled with Bowler The assimilation of western culture prompted various revivalist movements that sought to reaffirm the cultural value of Hinduism.

Responses to evolutionary theory were as diverse as Christian views on this subject, ranging from creationism denial of evolutionary theory based on a perceived incompatibility with Vedic texts to acceptance see C.

Brown for a thorough overview. Authors such as Dayananda Saraswati — rejected evolutionary theory. More generally, he claimed that Hinduism and science are in harmony: Hinduism is scientific in spirit, as is evident from its long history of scientific discovery Vivekananda Sri Aurobindo Ghose, a yogi and Indian nationalist, who was educated in the West, formulated a synthesis of evolutionary thought and Hinduism. He interpreted the classic avatara doctrine, according to which God incarnates into the world repeatedly throughout time, in evolutionary terms.

He proposed a metaphysical picture where both spiritual evolution reincarnation and avatars and physical evolution are ultimately a manifestation of God Brahman. Brown for discussion. During the twentieth century, Indian scientists began to gain prominence, including C. Raman — , a Nobel Prize winner in physics, and Satyendra Nath Bose — , a theoretical physicist who described the behavior of photons statistically, and who gave his name to bosons.

However, these authors were silent on the relationship between their scientific work and their religious beliefs. By contrast, the mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan — was open about his religious beliefs and their influence on his mathematical work. He claimed that the goddess Namagiri helped him to intuit solutions to mathematical problems. Likewise, Jagadish Chandra Bose — , a theoretical physicist, biologist, biophysicist, botanist, and archaeologist, who worked on radio waves, saw the Hindu idea of unity reflected in the study of nature.

He started the Bose institute in Kolkata in , the earliest interdisciplinary scientific institute in India Subbarayappa Current work in the field of science and religion encompasses a wealth of topics, including free will, ethics, human nature, and consciousness.

Contemporary natural theologians discuss fine-tuning, in particular design arguments based on it e. Collins , the interpretation of multiverse cosmology, and the significance of the Big Bang. For instance, authors such as Hud Hudson have explored the idea that God has actualized the best of all possible multiverses. Here follows an overview of two topics that generated substantial interest and debate over the past decades: Before scientists developed their views on cosmology and origins of the world, Western cultures already had an elaborate doctrine of creation, based on Biblical texts e.

This doctrine of creation has the following interrelated features: Differently put, God did not need any pre-existing materials to make the world, unlike, e. Rather, God created the world freely.

This introduces a radical asymmetry between creator and creature: Third, the doctrine of creation holds that creation is essentially good this is repeatedly affirmed in Genesis 1. The world does contain evil, but God does not directly cause this evil to exist. Moreover, God does not merely passively sustain creation, but rather plays an active role in it, using special divine actions e.

Fourth, God made provisions for the end of the world, and will create a new heaven and earth, in this way eradicating evil. Related to the doctrine of creation are views on divine action. Theologians commonly draw a distinction between general and special divine action.

Unfortunately, there is no universally accepted definition of these two concepts in the fields of theology or science and religion. One way to distinguish them Wildman Drawing this distinction allows for creatures to be autonomous and indicates that God does not micromanage every detail of creation.

Still, the distinction is not always clear-cut, as some phenomena are difficult to classify as either general or special divine action. Alston makes a related distinction between direct and indirect divine acts.

God brings about direct acts without the use of natural causes, whereas indirect acts are achieved through natural causes. Using this distinction, there are four possible kinds of actions that God could do: God could not act in the world at all, God could act only directly, God could act only indirectly, or God could act both directly and indirectly.

In the science and religion literature, there are two central questions on creation and divine action. To what extent are the Christian doctrine of creation and traditional views of divine action compatible with science? How can these concepts be understood within a scientific context, e. Note that the doctrine of creation says nothing about the age of the Earth, nor that it specifies a mode of creation.

This allows for a wide range of possible views within science and religion, of which Young Earth Creationism is but one that is consistent with scripture. The theory seems to support creatio ex nihilo as it specifies that the universe originated from an extremely hot and dense state around The net result of scientific findings since the seventeenth century has been that God was increasingly pushed into the margins.

This encroachment of science on the territory of religion happened in two ways: While the doctrine of creation does not contain details of the mode and timing of creation, the Bible was regarded as authoritative. Second, the emerging concept of scientific laws in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century physics seemed to leave no room for special divine action. These two challenges will be discussed below, along with proposed solutions in the contemporary science and religion literature.

Christian authors have traditionally used the Bible as a source of historical information. Biblical exegesis of the creation narratives, especially Genesis 1 and 2 and some other scattered passages, such as in the Book of Job , remains fraught with difficulties. Are these texts to be interpreted in a historical, metaphorical, or poetic fashion, and what are we to make of the fact that the order of creation differs between these accounts Harris ?

Although such literalist interpretations of the Biblical creation narratives were not uncommon, and are still used by Young Earth creationists today, theologians before Ussher already offered alternative, non-literalist readings of the biblical materials e. From the seventeenth century onward, the Christian doctrine of creation came under pressure from geology, with findings suggesting that the Earth was significantly older than BCE.

From the eighteenth century on, natural philosophers, such as de Maillet, Lamarck, Chambers, and Darwin, proposed transmutationist what would now be called evolutionary theories, which seem incompatible with scriptural interpretations of the special creation of species. Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett have outlined a divine action spectrum to clarify the distinct positions about creation and divine action in the contemporary science and religion literature.

They discern two dimensions in this spectrum: At one extreme are creationists. Like other theists, they believe God has created the world and its fundamental laws, and that God occasionally performs special divine actions miracles that intervene in the fabric of laws.

Creationists deny any role of natural selection in the origin of species. Within creationism, there are Old and Young Earth creationism, with the former accepting geology and rejecting evolutionary biology, and the latter rejecting both.

Next to creationism is Intelligent Design, which affirms divine intervention in natural processes. Intelligent Design creationists e. Like other creationists, they deny a significant role for natural selection in shaping organic complexity and they affirm an interventionist account of divine action.

For political reasons they do not label their intelligent designer as God, as they hope to circumvent the constitutional separation of church and state in the US which prohibits teaching religious doctrines in public schools Forrest and Gross Theistic evolutionists hold a non-interventionist approach to divine action: God creates indirectly, through the laws of nature e.

For example, the theologian John Haught regards divine providence as self-giving love, and natural selection and other natural processes as manifestations of this love, as they foster autonomy and independence. While theistic evolutionists allow for special divine action, particularly the miracle of the Incarnation in Christ e. God has laid out the laws of nature and lets it run like clockwork without further interference.

Deism is still a long distance from ontological materialism, the idea that the material world is all there is. Views on divine action were influenced by developments in physics and their philosophical interpretation.

In the seventeenth century, natural philosophers, such as Robert Boyle and John Wilkins, developed a mechanistic view of the world as governed by orderly and lawlike processes. Laws, understood as immutable and stable, created difficulties for the concept of special divine action Pannenberg How could God act in a world that was determined by laws? One way to regard miracles and other forms of special divine action is to see them as actions that somehow suspend or ignore the laws of nature.

This concept of divine action is commonly labeled interventionist. Interventionism regards the world as causally deterministic, so God has to create room for special divine actions. By contrast, non-interventionist forms of divine action e. In the seventeenth century, the explanation of the workings of nature in terms of elegant physical laws suggested the ingenuity of a divine designer. For example, Samuel Clarke cited in Schliesser Another conclusion that the new laws-based physics suggested was that the universe was able to run smoothly without requiring an intervening God.

The increasingly deterministic understanding of the universe, ruled by deterministic causal laws as, for example, outlined by Pierre-Simon Laplace — , seemed to leave no room for special divine action, which is a key element of the traditional Christian doctrine of creation.

Newton resisted interpretations like these in an addendum to the Principia in Alston argued, contra authors such as Polkinghorne , that mechanistic, pre-twentieth century physics is compatible with divine action and divine free will. In such a mechanistic world, every event is an indirect divine act. Advances in twentieth-century physics, including the theories of general and special relativity, chaos theory, and quantum theory, overturned the mechanical clockwork view of creation.

In the latter half of the twentieth century, chaos theory and quantum physics have been explored as possible avenues to reinterpret divine action. One difficulty with this model is that it moves from our knowledge of the world to assumptions about how the world is: Robert Russell proposed that God acts in quantum events.

This would allow God to directly act in nature without having to contravene the laws of nature, and is therefore a non-interventionist model. Since, under the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, there are no natural efficient causes at the quantum level, God is not reduced to a natural cause.

Murphy outlined a similar bottom-up model where God acts in the space provided by quantum indeterminacy. After all, it is not even clear whether quantum theory would allow for free human action, let alone divine action, which we do not know much about Jaeger a. Next to this, William Carroll , building on Thomistic philosophy, argues that authors such as Murphy and Polkinghorne are making a category mistake: God is not a cause in a way creatures are causes, competing with natural causes, and God does not need indeterminacy in order to act in the world.

Rather, as primary cause God supports and grounds secondary causes. While this solution is compatible with determinism indeed, on this view, the precise details of physics do not matter much , it blurs the distinction between general and special divine action. Moreover, the Incarnation suggests that the idea of God as a cause among natural causes is not an alien idea in theology, and that God at least sometimes acts as a natural cause Sollereder There has been a debate on the question to what extent randomness is a genuine feature of creation, and how divine action and chance interrelate.

Chance and stochasticity are important features of evolutionary theory the non-random retention of random variations. In a famous thought experiment, Gould imagined that we could rewind the tape of life back to the time of the Burgess Shale million years ago ; the chance we would end up with anything like the present-day life forms is vanishingly small.

However, Simon Conway Morris has argued species very similar to the ones we know now including human-like intelligent species would evolve under a broad range of conditions. Under a theist interpretation, randomness could either be a merely apparent aspect of creation, or a genuine feature.

Plantinga suggests that randomness is a physicalist interpretation of the evidence. God may have guided every mutation along the evolutionary process. In this way, God could. By contrast, some authors see stochasticity as a genuine design feature, and not just as a physicalist gloss. Their challenge is to explain how divine providence is compatible with genuine randomness. Under a deistic view, one could simply say that God started the universe off and did not interfere with how it went, but that option is not open to the theist, and most authors in the field of science and religion are theists, rather than deists.

Elizabeth Johnson , using a Thomistic view of divine action, argues that divine providence and true randomness are compatible: God gives creatures true causal powers, thus making creation more excellent than if they lacked such powers, and random occurrences are also secondary causes; chance is a form of divine creativity that creates novelty, variety, and freedom.

One implication of this view is that God may be a risk taker—although, if God has a providential plan for possible outcomes, there is unpredictability but not risk. Johnson uses metaphors of risk taking that, on the whole, leave the creator in a position of control creation, then, is like jazz improvisation , but it is, to her, a risk nonetheless.

Why would God take risks? There are several solutions to this question. The free will theodicy says that a creation that exhibits stochasticity can be truly free and autonomous:. Authentic love requires freedom, not manipulation. Such freedom is best supplied by the open contingency of evolution, and not by strings of divine direction attached to every living creature. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have similar creation stories, which ultimately go back to the first book of the Hebrew Bible Genesis.

According to Genesis, humans are the result of a special act of creation. Genesis 1 offers an account of the creation of the world in six days, with the creation of human beings on the sixth day. Islam has a creation narrative similar to Genesis 2, with Adam being fashioned out of clay.

These handcrafted humans are regarded as the ancestors of all living humans today. Humans occupy a privileged position in these creation accounts. In Christianity, Judaism, and some strands of Islam, humans are created in the image of God imago Dei.

There are at least three different ways in which image-bearing is understood Cortez According to the functionalist account, humans are in the image of God by virtue of things they do, such as having dominion over nature. The structuralist account emphasizes characteristics that humans uniquely possess, such as reason.

The relational interpretation sees the image as a special relationship between God and humanity. Humans also occupy a special place in creation as a result of the fall. By eating from the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil they fell from this state, and death, manual labor, as well as pain in childbirth were introduced.

The Augustinian interpretation of original sin also emphasizes the distorting effects of sin on our reasoning capacities the so-called noetic effects of sin. As a result of sin, our original perceptual and reasoning capacities have been marred. Whereas Augustine believed that the prelapsarian state was one of perfection, Irenaeus second century saw Adam and Eve prior to the fall as innocent, like children still in development.

Scientific findings and theories relevant to human origins come from a range of disciplines, in particular geology, paleoanthropology the study of ancestral hominins, using fossils and other evidence , archaeology, and evolutionary biology.

These findings challenge traditional religious accounts of humanity, including the special creation of humanity, the imago Dei , the historical Adam and Eve, and original sin. In natural philosophy, the dethroning of humanity from its position as a specially created species predates Darwin and can already be found in early transmutationist publications.

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck proposed chimpanzees as the ancestors to humans in his Philosophie Zoologique He proposed that the first organisms arose through spontaneous generation, and that all subsequent organisms evolved from them. He argued that humans have a single evolutionary origin: Darwin was initially reluctant to publish on human origins. In the twentieth century, paleoanthropologists debated whether humans separated from the other great apes at the time wrongly classified into the paraphyletic group Pongidae long ago, about 15 million years ago, or relatively recently, about 5 million years ago.

Molecular clocks—first immune responses e. The discovery of many hominin fossils, including Ardipithecus ramidus 4. These finds are now also supplemented by detailed analysis of ancient DNA extracted from fossil remains, bringing to light a previously unknown species of hominin the Denisovans who lived in Siberia up to about 40, years ago.

Taken together, this evidence indicates that humans did not evolve in a simple linear fashion, but that human evolution resembles an intricate branching tree with many dead ends, in line with the evolution of other species. In the light of these scientific findings, contemporary science and religion authors have reconsidered the questions of human uniqueness and imago Dei , the Incarnation, and the historicity of original sin.

Some authors have attempted to reinterpret human uniqueness as a number of species-specific cognitive and behavioral adaptations. Religion wants man to believe blindly in what he is told to be true and worthy of being practiced. Science asks questions and puts every thesis or proposal to test.

Religion abhors such methods. Science believes in logical experiments and wants to declare something truthful and true if it comes out finally resultant of the experiment. Religion pre-supposes the result and wants to stick to it irrespective of the outcome of investigation, inquiry or experiment. So, religion and science both are complementary to each other. For mankind, both are required in equal measure and simultaneously. Numerous attempts were made to suppress the voice of reason and truth.

But Truth eventually prevailed and science held its ground. Many who had come forward to laugh at science became its champions and followers.

Before the 19th century had run its course, the triumph of science was complete. The rapid progress of science changed the face of the world beyond recognition.

It conferred unheard of comforts and conveniences on mankind. The wonders of science bewildered man and he began to enjoy numerous blessings in life Time and distance, disease and pain were rapidly conquered and man seemed to be the master of his surroundings. These developments gave rise in some circles to the belief that man is all-powerful and God a superiors being, people lost faith in Heaven or Hell, God or the Supreme Power.

Religion seemed to be unnecessary and the Church began to lose the respect and power it had once enjoyed Religion seemed to be dethroned from the hearts of man and science reigned in its place. But the path of science did not ultimately prove as smooth as its worshippers had thought it to be. It turned out to be a mixed blessing. It did provide bodily comforts, but at the cost of man's moral and spiritual development.

It ruined man into a skeptic, a creature without any faith and lofty ideals to inspire and guide him. The loss of such faith brought the baser side of his nature into free play.

Man became dishonest, selfish and proud. It destroyed man's simple faith, fellow feeling, affection and kindness. Besides, the blessings of science gave rise to new social problems. The gulf between the rich and the poor became wide than ever before. The widespread use of machinery subjected millions of human beings to the evils of economic exploitation, unemployment, crowded, congested cities and the growth of slums. The average worker lost his independence and happiness and was reduced to the position of a mere clog in the vast organization of modern industry.

Above all, the use of science in the manufacture of weapons made war increasingly horrible and destructive, and it appeared that the very existence of humanity and civilization was at stake.

Consequently the enthusiasm of the supporters of science began to cool down. Also science is not able to answer the fundamental questions of the mystery of life and death and the incalculability of events. The scientist can say that the universe developed from a primeval atom but what made them coagulate into the universe we know. Science fails to answer the question of the 'First Cause'.

It is here that man and even a scientist has to fall back upon the idea of God and religion. In fact, science alone cannot give peace and happiness to mankind. Science must be allied to religion. Science makes man materialistic, but religion upholds his faith in God, in the higher and spiritual values of life. It must be admitted that there are more things in Heaven and on Earth than our science can dream of.

The beauty and mystery of human life, its spiritual and moral values are lost if men are guided entirely by science. And without moral and spiritual values man's life is not better than the life of a beast. It is on account of this neglect of the moral and spiritual aspect of life that science has been applied for destructive and immoral purposes during the last century.

If this state of affairs continues science will bring about the complete ruin of mankind and civilization. Yet there is another danger: It may in the blindness of fanaticism arrogate to itself the intolerance of dogmatism and persecute those who have the courage to differ from accepted scientific notions.

The fanaticism of the scientist may well prove to be a more awful men ace in so far as it is uninhibited by the humanitarian basis of religion ". People have, therefore, got to realise that there is no real conflict between science and religion. Their approach towards life is, of course different but the goal is the same. Science follows the path of reason and intellect, religion travel the road of faith and belief.

But both aim at the discovery of truth. As a matter of fact, today we know clearly that the animosity between the two is not very sub substantial.

The pyramids of ancient Egypt evoke both religious reverence and also the admiration of engineers. Roger Bacon, the inventor of gunpowder, believed in alchemy. Copernicus dedicated his famous book to the pope. Mendel was a monk by profession. And Einstein remarked that a great scientific discovery was a matter of religious insight. Historically, in ancient times, there was no conflict between religion and science because human knowledge was an undifferentiated whole.

The imaginative shaman or the magician played the role of both doctor and high-priest. The Hippocrates oath taken by doctors till today refers to a religious belief of the Greeks-Hygeia, the goddess of health.


Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Sample essay on the relation between Science and Religion. Introduction: Science and religion are commonly perceived to be mutually exclusive contradictions in terms, as it were. Both the method and the aims of science and religion seem to be different. While science is linked to the material, religion is concerned with the spiritual.

Privacy FAQs

There is close relationship between science and religion. Religion teaches us the principle of morality and science should always be guided by this principle of morality. Some people devote their lives to the study of this science and become great prophets.

About Our Ads

- Science and religion have always been in conflict with one another because they each represent complete opposite ideals, science is about how nature controls how the universe works and religion is . Evolution: Science and Religion Essay Words | 9 Pages Evolution: Science and Religion In Charles Darwin published a book describing his theory of .

Cookie Info

Jun 30,  · Science and religion spring from the human obsession to find order in the world. But surely there can be only one true explanation for reality. Life was either created or it evolved. Best Essay on Science vs Religion for Students given here. Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, English, French, German, Greek, Bengali, Punjabi, Short Essay.