Essay on Science and Religion

Science and Religion:

Till recently it was believed that Science and religion are completely opposed to each other in their objectives and their methods. The former is based on reason and the latter on faith. It was taken for granted that reason is always right and that faith is opposed to reason. Thus while scholars, especially scientists, looked down on religion with contempt follower of religion were angry against with contempt follower of religion were angry against the scientists. As a matter of fact, however, there is no clash between science and religion and the thinkers of both sides are merely fighting over imaginary issues.

There is a clear dividing line between the two spheres. Science deals with the phenomena of the world and tries to express them through the medium of cause and effect. It seeks to regulate the various facts seen by us with the help of reason. Heroic efforts have been made in all branches and splendid success has been achieved on all fronts. But the wonderfully rational method of science is not of much help to us in the matter of our conduct and judgement. Our moral standards and allied questions are beyond the scope of reason. Reason deals with facts, with what is, while religion and ethics with what is to be. The two theories are, therefore, entirely different. It is only when science interferes with what ought to be and must be dealt with by religion and when religion takes to explain facts as they are in a manner opposed to the methods of reason, that the trouble arises.

The difference in objectives and methods does not mean that religion and science are not related to each other. They can supplement each other with profit in other spheres. For example- scientists must realize that though they can deal with facts with the help of reason they cannot explain their devotion to truth and their aspiration towards finding it out by means of reason alone. Reason cannot explain why a scientist like Fleming had a deep longing for finding out everything about a spongy substance but this led to the discovery of penicillin. That intense desire is something beyond science. When the scientist realizes this fact, he will derive a joy in the wonderful order which prevails in the universe. He will, in fact, become deeply religious in the widest sense of the term.

Just as true religion can thus help science, true science is clearly the product of observation and reason. On the other hand, it is not easy to define religion in a similar way, by the very fact that it goes more by instinct than on reason. However, when we observe persons who have been acknowledged through the ages as truly religious we will find that they have a particular quality. They have freed themselves from selfish desires and means thoughts, feelings and passions. It is not necessary that this attitude should be combined with a belief in a Divine. Being for a truly religious person like the Buddha had never posed as a god. The value they attached to super-personal objects cannot be explained in terms of reason. They took for granted like the fact that they themselves exist. This can be taken it said to be the sense of true religion.

Thus we find that the true scientist is inspired by the truly religious spirit, as seen in his intense desire for objective truth which is super-personal. Similarly, the truly religious man will take the aid of science in order to spread a highly developed conception of religion. Thus each supplements the other. In the view of eminent scientists like Einstein, it is wrong to speak of a conflict between the two. As Einstein has said it emphatically, “Science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind”.

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