Is Science compatible with Religion?

At first glance, it is difficult to see that science is compatible with religion. Too often, the Church has opposed scientific advancement, seeing it as a threat to its power. But Herbert Spencer argued that if science recognises the unknowable, then science and religion are compatible, since religion is about the unknowable. In this way, science is compatible with religion. Further, science is only incompatible with religion insofar as the institutions that govern religious practices are at odds with scientific advancements. Distinguishing between spirituality and religion- if spirituality is associated with religious thinking, and if religion is associated with practice and the institutions that govern such practice, then spirituality is compatible with scientific thinking, even if religious practice isn’t.

Verdict: Science is compatible with Religion

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3 Comments

  1. They are not only compatible, they can help one another. For example some of the testing of whether or not intercessory prayer works (see “Francis Galton and the Testing of Prayer”), whether or not near death experiences have meaning eg can the one out of body actually see things that could be seen at bed level, whether or not those who follow a particular faith
    have better behaviour than those outside the faith. Then too faith can help scientists decide which research to follow. eg weapons research or feeding the hungry. Research also helps inform about the nature of creation and can test the truth of Biblical propositions.

    1. In my life experience science and religion have been blended. In fact I believe that the major issues people have with ‘religion’ (as an American I would point to fundamentalist religion of any type as the main issue.) is the lack of taking scholarship serious. Science, history, literature, arts, math, all of them speak to reality and how we experience it. So too does religion.

      It is interesting how we separate religion and spirituality from each other when in effect religion was the mode in which one was spiritual. Which again fundamentalism of all faiths hijacked this good part of religion and replaced it with pseudo-science/scholarship.

      Good post.

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