Religion and Science: Why Can’t We All Get Along?
In a recent edition of the Press And Journal, we published a picture of youth from New Beginnings Church carrying a wooden cross to reenact the events of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The action symbolically fulfills Jesus’s command to his followers to “carry your cross”—that is, sacrifice for the faith—and it’s a fairly common practice among Christians of many denominations.
So I was surprised to hear someone refer to the participants in the cross walk as “freaks.” In later conversation, the person admitted that he thinks all people who participate in the sacrament of communion (almost all practicing Christians, about one-third of the world’s population) are “freaks.”
The conversation, for me, was further confirmation of the modernist philosophy that permeates our culture: that scientific knowledge and experience is truer, or at least more valuable, than spiritual and mystical knowledge and experience
Imagine if someone said dismissed science the way some dismiss religion by saying, “Scientists are just marginal freaks with some weird obsessions. I mean, they like to dissect dead cats and mess with particles they can’t even see. How weird is that?” The person would be rightfully ridiculed.
But do the same thing with religion and spirituality—even though revered intellectuals from Leonardo da Vinci to Albert Einstein have celebrated spirituality—and people mistake your ignorance and bias for intelligence.
This is not to suggest that everyone should practice or agree with all spiritual/religious beliefs. I do not practice Buddhist yoga or agree with Buddhist philosophy, but I don’t think those who do are “freaks.” They are attempting to fulfill humanity’s deep longing for something beyond itself in the best way they know.
It’s absurd to be anti-science: the scientific method has led to modern medicine, modern communications technology, and all the other wonders and conveniences of modern life. But it’s equally absurd to be anti-religion: the vast majority of charitable work worldwide has always been religion-based, and religion has inspired both great art and modern science itself.
Religion without science leads to the Inquisition. Science without religion leads to eugenics and the Holocaust.
Only when science and religion work in harmony do we see the best of humanity.