hroughout history, there has been a constant battle that still continues to this day between religion and science trying to prove the way we came to exist on this earth and from a different perspective the meaning of our lives. Religion has always proven itself to be more of a belief, rather than a fact, as time passed, less and less evidence came to light as to religion proving our existence. Science has and will always be proven facts through complex mathematics that does justify how the world around us works as well as how it was created.
Priests as Scientists
There was a time when priests were, if not the only ones, at least the most prestigious keepers of scientific knowledge. For example, the first Japanese-Latin dictionary would not have existed without the efforts of the Jesuits and the preservation or rediscovery of the cultural heritage of Greco-Roman antiquity which was done by the Christian Church.
Don’t you think that is a bit contradicting? Those who in theory should hate science the most as they believe in a religion that denies science were actually the same people that knew the most about science in the first place. Some pre-modern historians believed that our humanity knew much more about science and how the world came to be, however, priests of various religions kept this knowledge secret so it would be lost in time and people would only follow a God.
In the sense that “God intended it to be this way, or for it to work this way” as an explanation for everything that is happening around us which we (nor science as of yet) can explain.
An interesting case of such was Georges Lemaitre, a Belgian Catholic priest who believed in the Big Bang theory whilst being very faithful to his religion which in all means despises such a theory. Georges was a well-known acquaintance of Albert Einstein who spent a lot of time with Georges who was the Director of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Georges appreciated Albert’s theory of relativity and even studied it quite on a higher level. What is interesting is his genius mindset which didn’t allow him to deny the possibility of science proving our existence or religion.
There is also the example of Albert Einstein, who was not only not a genius astrophysicist, but also a deeply religious man, who never let a day go by without reading the Torah.
The separation of Science from Religion
Strange as it may seem, the experimental method would not have appeared in science without the impetus of religion. The Renaissance was the era that made religion and science take very different paths. At first, the separation of science and religion was treated with pragmatism on both sides, with science focusing on the questions “What? and How?” and religion providing answers to the question “Why?”
Galileo and Darwin were treated as heretics, so that in the century just ended an astronomer the size of Carl Sagan came to the conclusion that the universe is only a mechanism in which a Creator has no purpose. Today it is difficult to say who is more intolerant: the Clergy or Scholars.
It may seem strange that in the United States, the country with the highest scientific and technological potential in the world, is the same country with people in churches who say that “People who believe that the universe is older than 6,000 years cannot be called Christians.”
Unofficially, such priests (most of them Protestant pastors) declare that they regret the “beautiful times of the Inquisition.” As reprehensible as they may be, their attitude can be explained by the deep respect they have for all that is alive, inherited, at the top, from the pagan religions that preceded Christianity.
It is true that reducing the miracle of life to a series of biochemical reactions is, if not blasphemy, at least proof of a lack of sensitivity. In addition, explaining creation as “a discontinuity in the space-time continuum,” science seemed to give religion a blow under the belt until recently. And yet, clergymen have little reason to be intolerant, because scholars have begun to change their minds.
Science trying to prove the existence of God
“The more we understand about the Universe, the more meaningless it becomes to us,” Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg of the University of Texas wrote in desperation in 1977.
As if to answer Weinberg, the physicist John Polkinghorne of the University of Texas (who later became a priest) wrote in 1982 that “the laws of nature are, in fact, terribly well tuned to produce the Universe we know, which automatically leads to the idea of the existence of a Creator.”
And one of the Nobel Laureates in Physics in 1964, Charles Townes, who discovered the principles of the laser, is even more adamant that “many have the feeling that the laws of physics involve the emergence of intelligence.”
It is interesting to note that in order to explain the Universe, the laws of physics use several constants — to be a little over a dozen — whose value has been determined experimentally. If they had other values, then the atoms would not be next to each other, so there could be nothing: no stars, not even viruses.
An interesting example is a famous number of π (pi) with the value of 3,141.592.6… It is an irrational number, which shows how many times the circumference of a circle is larger than its diameter. But π (pi) also appears in equations that describe the motion of subatomic particles or the nature (at the same time, undulating and corpuscular) of light — which does not really “deal” with circles…
It seems that, at the moment, scholars are rediscovering light as an attribute of the Divinity, an attribute that many clerics have forgotten.
From Science to Faith
For physicist Mehdi Golshani from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, physical phenomena are “the signs left by God in the universe,” meaning that studying them is almost a religious obligation. In the Qur’an, Muhammad’s exhortation to Muslims is recorded: “Seek the truth, even if you have to go to China to find it,” and Golshani believes that scientific research cannot be done without faith.
A similar idea can be found in Judaism.
Moshe ben Maimun wrote that “there is no better way to love God than to understand the works of his hands.”
Physicists might have been expected to declare that “if the laws of physics are not eyewitnesses of God’s existence, they are certainly circumstantial witnesses to his goodness.”
The statement was also adopted by biologists, who concluded that the evolutionary theory initially rejected by the Church and labeled as an atheist, shows that the universe is not a simple mechanism, as eighteenth-century physicists believed, and “systems of self-regulation ”of living matter demonstrates more than any permanent care taken by the Creator for his creation.
As we can see from all the information presented above, there is a bigger correlation between religion and science than most people think. As mentioned before, the major problem, in this case, is the mindset that people have towards this issue. You need to accept both religion and science as the answer to the creation of this world in order to gain a better understanding of the correlation between them both.
At the same time, just like religion or scientific theories that are difficult to prove, the correlation between science and religion is a choice of faith and belief.