Ever since humans started investigating where we came from, there has been an ongoing war of what we believe, and what we’re afraid to believe. It’s understandable why, before the invention of the telescope, people though everything revolved around Earth. Likewise, before the notions of evolution or even paleontology it’s easy to see why, in an effort to understand our origin, people came up with stories of the gods. It’s a pretty universal trend among humans to assume that a higher power is responsible for us. Nearly every civilization ever looked to some kind of god for answers and protection. Today we have technology more advance than those people ever could have dreamed, and we have proven that unlike some theisms claim, we evolved not just from prime apes, but all the way back to unicellular organisms. So is it possible for the worlds of religion and science to coexist, or does one need to be exterminated?
Let me say, this is not an argument of who is right. I firmly believe that scientific evidence is overwhelming and indisputable. We evolved from more basic life forms over a couple billion years, and the universe has been around for billions years more that than. Obvious to say I do not believe that religious scriptures such as the Bible are right. However, does that mean that I don’t think the world has a place for religion? Absolutely not, and it is completely unfair to make assumptions of what people think based solely on if they are religious or not (that goes both way).
The Jesuits are considered the scientific branch of Christianity. There are many Jesuit priests who have masters and doctorates in various sciences. In fact, the pope himself is a scientist (and the first ever Jesuit pope)! The Vatican, possibly the most religious place on the planet, which once condemned people for thinking the Earth revolved around the Sun, has an observatory which is still used for scientific study. And that is only one major religion. Look at Nobel prize statistics and you will find that 25% of all the awards have been won by people identifying as Jewish. So how can it people that people who believe in religion, are so well educated and studying ways to seemingly prove their scriptures wrong?
Having seen a couple of interviews now with Jesuit priests, it seems to me that they, for the most part, have the same feeling on the subject. The Bible is there to help teach us the message of God. To act as a guideline, something easier for everyone to understand. Things may not have happened exactly as it states, but science can be looked at as another way through which God speaks to us. This is nothing new though. Some of the greatest scientist in history have been deeply religious. Giordano Bruno was put to death by the church because he believed the words of Copernicus. Earth is not the centre of the universe. However, he did not denounce God. Instead he reasoned that God was infinite, so therefore his creation should be infinite as well. Sir Issac Newton, famous for calculating gravity and inventing the reflecting telescope, spent countless hours combing through the Bible looking for hidden messages which would reveal Jesus’ second coming. Francis Bacon, the man who invented the scientific method, followed the Church of England. This is looking only at a few notable people in Christianity. I could go on for hours about other people and other religions too.
Another way to look at this debate is from the angle of an agnostic. Though often grouped in with atheists, agnostics differ slightly. While not adhering to or believe in any particular scripture or philosophy, agnostic don’t deny the possibility of a higher power. For me, I’ve pondered if it’s possible that a higher power was simply the catalyst for the big bang. As I stated earlier, I firmly believe in the scientific evidence we have of evolution and the age of the universe. But we know virtually nothing about the universe before the big bang. Maybe God was sitting around all by his lonesome, snapped his fingers and caused a single point to explode into all the matter, energy, anti-matter and anti-energy floating around today. He’s been laying back and watching it unfold like a good TV series since. In this case, there is still a god, but at the same time it doesn’t dispute anything we know to be fact.
I think there is a definite and important place in our world for religion. I also think that science has given us irrefutable evidence which many people still try to refute anyways. We as a society need to try to both educate our selves more, so we understand the science and why arguing against it is stupid, but at the same time, open our selves more to the idea of faith and that we may not be able to explain everything no matter how advanced we are. There’s no reason to fight about it as long as we all respect each other and what we value. Likewise, don’t let our children become sheltered by religion or condescending of it. No one should be as closed minded and unwilling to accept scientific evidence as Ken Ham, but we should look down on people who have faith like Richard Dawkins. No matter where you think we came from, we all came form the same place, so lets cherish that connection we share.