1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Can Science and Religion be reconciled?

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by Runt, Mar 19, 2004.

  1. Runt

    Runt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,833
    Ratings:
    +189
  2. Truthseeker5

    Truthseeker5 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Messages:
    91
    Ratings:
    +1
    Religion and science can be reconciled in a very simple when we understand that nature and science is essentially God.

    I.E. Photosynthesis is the way God makes plants grow.
     
  3. Runt

    Runt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,833
    Ratings:
    +189
    Lol, and Evolution is the way God created Humans.
     
  4. Gnosti Seauton

    Gnosti Seauton New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2004
    Messages:
    9
    Ratings:
    +0
    The study of the Qabalah reconciles completely Science and Religion. And professes evolution not as something that has happened but something that is constantly happening. We are still evolving.
     
  5. Engyo

    Engyo Prince of Dorkness!

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Messages:
    6,379
    Ratings:
    +825
    Science continues to catch up with the Buddha's awakening.
     
  6. Alaric

    Alaric Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    313
    Ratings:
    +5
    That article was very... accomodating. Science and religion don't refer to different aspects of reality, they compete over the same territory. The difference is that science involves empirical observations and reasoned arguments, the making of hypotheses and the testing of those hypotheses in controlled experiments; religion explains the world by relying on the testimony of people long dead. Science is self-critical, constantly seeking to test its postulates; religion usually demands unquestioning faith. And where we want to speculate about things we can't test, we have logic and philosophy.

    The risk is that when people attempt to reconcile science and religion, they end up twisting sciencific discoveries to fit the beliefs within different faiths; just like reconciling different faiths tend to downplay their contradictions and in so doing pervert the entire message of the individual religion.

    You can certainly play around with the different ideas presented by religions, but if want to get anything meaningful out of them you need to treat them like scientific theories. Even if you can't test them empirically, you can still apply logic to them, analyse the consequences of the idea etc. Otherwise they're just wild guesses and deserve no respect.
     
  7. Runt

    Runt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,833
    Ratings:
    +189
    A good idea, but nearly impossible to carry out. Although religion IS just a series of guesses with really no proof (other than a few resources written by unknown authors and containing information of who knows what validity), and not even scientific theories (which basically have been proven, although the word "theory" makes some people think they are little more than guesses), religion STILL believes it knows everything...

    Not EVERY religion, but some.

    And couldn't science and religion be talking about the same reality? One in metaphor, the other rationally? Just like scientific theories can be made to fit into religious molds to "prove" religious "theories", cannot religious myths and "theories" (here I mean guesses, not scientific theories) be made to fit into scientific theory?

    The problem with assuming that science is the only way to measure reality is that it does not know EVERYTHING. There are many things we can't see in science... but we know they are there because of how they react with things around them. Who knows what yet undiscovered scientific truths are out there?
     
  8. Alaric

    Alaric Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    313
    Ratings:
    +5
    This is what I meant. Religion is a bit like a gap-filling worldview, useful until science comes along. That doesn't mean parts of a religious belief can't be right, but we use science to find out. And if we have limited resources, lets spend them on theories that are a little more likely!

    The question is whether science can know everything eventually. There can't be any truths we can only learn from religion, because until we can prove them scientifically, they cannot be 'truths' at all.
     
  9. Engyo

    Engyo Prince of Dorkness!

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Messages:
    6,379
    Ratings:
    +825
    Alaric -

    If you want to get semantic about "truth" there are lots of places we can go. I participated in a seminar on healing racism once. I found that it is posible for two people involved in an exchange with each other to believe two separate and seemingly incompatible versions of what happened. Nevertheless, each version of the exchange is true, FOR THE PERSON THAT EXPERIENCED IT. For lack of a better term, this can be called perceptive truth.

    I can say something to someone else, with no racist intent, no disrespectful intent and no hateful intent. Yet the person hearing my speech perceives that I have such intent. Whose perception is more true? Both agree on the exact words used during the exchange, yet there are at least two truths happening simultaneously. I say at least two, because if a 3rd person observes this exchange, he or she may have a different perception than either of the participants. Yet each version is true, for that individual.

    These are different, obviously, from scientifically demonstrated objective "truth". I find that religious truth exists primarily in its effect on the individual's perceptions, thus placing it in the realm of perceptive truth, rather than objective truth.
     
  10. Runt

    Runt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,833
    Ratings:
    +189
    There is one. What happens after death? We won't know for sure until we die, so it cannot be measured by science.

    Unless... anyone ever seen the movie where several med students take turns killing themselves with medical drugs and bringing themselves back (allowing themselves to medically "die" for a few minutes and then having a friend bring them back by shocking them) and then comparing their experiences. The movie gets kinda freaky, but it is interesting...
     
  11. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Messages:
    3,768
    Ratings:
    +400
    I believe that humans have certain basic needs: food, shelter, and a basic understanding of their environment, among others. By filling scientific gaps with religious explanations, we are merely fulfilling our need to understand. I believe that this is how religion and the idea of a divine being came about. Early man, obvioulsy completely without science, came to the conclusion that what he could not understand, (the weather, whatever), must be controlled by something greater. In theory, he was right: the world is controlled by the rational laws of the universe, but I believe that the theory of god or gods came from the simplistic way of thinking of early man.
    Also, I think that religion and science can get along fairly well, especially as religion has evolved a great deal since the times of Copernicus. What my thinking here is then, is: is religion logical? I mean, the existence of a god is based on absolutely no factual evidence. Unless god came down to the cavemen and spoke to them, giving them 'the truth', this whole universally accepted idea of a divine being seems to simply be a ruse. I feel my point is proven when you say that holes in scientific evidence can be filled with religious explanations. Even in modern times, we are implementing the same tools for supplying our need of understanding. Personally, I am quite content to remain unknowing until science can give me a better explanation than 'thats the way god wanted it.'
     
  12. Alaric

    Alaric Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    313
    Ratings:
    +5
    That's the thing - science doesn't attempt to tell you that bananas are 'tasty' and eggplant is 'gross', because they are subjective. They are also not 'truths', even to the individual, because he may wake up one morning hating bananas.

    Many religions attempt to explain facts about the world, which are then contradicted by science (or even logic). Whether its possible to reach Nirvana is not a matter of perception, its a statement of fact, and one that might be able to be disproved.

    But we can't know that for sure from religion, either! They are just guessing like we are. Except, we can talk about the way the brain works, where the personality comes from etc, and so virtually prove that we cannot live on after death (a contradiction is terms if I ever heard one!)
     
  13. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    19,775
    Ratings:
    +1,921
    I believe that science and religion are compatible. Individually we may be more comfortable with one approach or another, but we can still recognize that any one approach is limited and needs others. We can rejoice in what they accomplish together.

    One meaning of Unitarianism is the belief that all that exists is ultimately one, whatever form it takes: matter and energy, body and soul, mind and heart, all living and non-living things, deduction and intuition, emotion and intellect, love and reason, science and religion. We may prioritize our loyalties by the things we feel closest to, but then we use our reason to remember that we are all one. The Big Bang, while we cannot claim it as proven scientific fact, is a metaphor that harmonizes with a belief in unity.

    Universalism entails a belief that everything belongs. Science has uncovered enough about genetics to show us that we belong together within the human family, among primates, among all living things, among the stars. We are at once so small and so securely held by and connected with a vastness beyond our comprehension. I felt as a child, and I feel now, the attachment between me and each thing I encounter. In some sense, I love the whole world. God is in the details. When we live in the world with this understanding, there are few simple answers and fewer absolutes. We must be ready to open our minds and hearts to change, however convinced we are. We must also be ready to act, according to our best understandings and with humility.

    Science and religion together reveal to us a world of wonder. They make us grateful to be part of it, even in the face of the fear, pain, loss, and evil that are also part of it.
     
  14. Death

    Death Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2004
    Messages:
    78
    Ratings:
    +1
    No, religion would be royally screwed if it used scientific logic tools like occam's razor and the scientific method. Since science uses these and requires validation of gods, religion and science must remain seperate.
     
  15. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Messages:
    3,768
    Ratings:
    +400
    You are right. Religion could not possible use scientific tools, such as the scientific method, etc. because those tools use concrete evidence to function. Religion really doesnt have any concrete evidence. It seems that the most reliable method for Religion to come up with new ideas and theories, is to sit around praying until your higher power decides to bestow you with said knowledge. This doesnt seem to be a particularly dependable source of information, which is why I like to rely on science.
     
  16. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    19,775
    Ratings:
    +1,921
    What if a religion were willing to change and evolve it's beliefs based on scientific discoveries?
     
  17. Runt

    Runt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,833
    Ratings:
    +189
    I think it may have been done. Or, at least, there have been attempts...
     
  18. Alaric

    Alaric Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    313
    Ratings:
    +5
    Wouldn't work. Imagine practicing a religion that made certain claims about life, morality and the world, where you knew that the message changed for each new scientific insight. Every session of church would involve the reading of corrections to their beliefs and practices based on the latest articles in renowned scientific journals. It wouldn't be just facts regarding the age of the earth, but psychological insights about human relationships, morality, etc. Science covers it all. Religion lives or dies on the universality of its beliefs. I'm sure the Unitarian Church has at least some core beliefs and values that define it, that won't change no matter what?
     
  19. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    19,775
    Ratings:
    +1,921
    I'm not talking about changing their basic beliefs every week or something like that. Just a willingness to evolve over time given scientific fact and proof. Yes the UU church has core beliefs and values, and I have no problem saying that if something were to come to light, proof that one of those should change, it would be. We are not like other religions in that we have no dogma that could be challenged by science, and in fact, embrace science. We live by a set of principles that allows people to think and learn for themselves:

    The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

    Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

    Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;

    A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

    The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;

    The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

    Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.


    I see nothing there that could be challenged by science, because our set basic values are how we treat each other and ourselves.
     
  20. Alaric

    Alaric Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    313
    Ratings:
    +5
    I could certainly sign under to those values; but is it then really a religion, or more of a philosophy? Isn't a religion characterized by faith and the worship of a god? (We can continue this in the Unitarian forum, if you want.)
     
Loading...