Science and God: A beautiful fusion or an unhealthy alliance?

This is one of the biggest subjects around so I don’t intend to in any way answer it or to summarise all the arguments. If you are so inclined – search the internet, or you may have your own views of beliefs. In this post I intend to summarise what I believe to be a logical progression of thought and where I stand on the subject. I do not intend to cause offence to anyone in the slightest respect so if that does happen I can do nothing but apologise.

Firstly – the big question is if you believe in God. And you have to be careful with this question because people see believing in God as being religious. Believing in God is integral to many of the worlds religions; but there are religions with no Gods, religions with many and humans with no religion but one or more God. It is not the same thing. In Physics we understand the chain of causality. We work out the fundamental building blocks of the universe delving down into quarks, and then strings (we think) to find the final indivisible piece of the puzzle. We work out how the universe was formed and when it happened. When you keep going back in time however you always get to that same question – what caused the *insert furthest explained point in history* to occur. For me, this chain of causality is either infinite or it has a beginning – that is just logical it is a binary operation. I am not totally sure I believe in infinity, except for certain constructs. Numbers are infinite. Space being infinite causes me more of an issue. I think there must have been a start. What is this start? Well it must be some kind of force, entity, being or presence which we cannot presently understand or perceive. But so many things are incomprehensible to us until we uncover enough of the puzzle. This force, entity, being or presence is what I believe to be in fact “God”. So no, I am not saying I believe in a God in the Adam and Eve sense. I believe in God in scientific way – in a way that explains the world around us and makes sense. My belief is flexible and it is ready to adapt to the settings around me.

And that is where I think religion and science have always struggled. The issue is flexibility. Science works by putting forward a set of facts, battering them with testing in the community and adjusting them where they are found incorrect and strengthening thereafter. Religion is a game in which you must believe. I am not saying never – but often it does not invite testing or challenge. Where there is direct observational evidence that goes against religion – it is the duty of religion to adapt. As we perceive time it runs in one dimension in a linear fashion. The nature of time is that it progresses in a forward manner. If you want to stay current you must keep pace with the reference frame.

That said, there has been over the years in many places an ambient relationship between science and religion. Individuals like Dawkins are useful people to have around on such matters – but he is an extreme. His views purport to embody the flexibility of science – but to me I find him just as rigid. In the words of..me…In order to uncover the truth, you must be permanently willing to accept you are wrong.

Religion has as we all know been willing to integrate with science in a number of areas. Islam was a great supporter of the sciences – and following on from that Christianity did it’s bit. Not to mention the long list of religious scientists that have given us greatness. The sticking point is – which ever holy text you take there are some things that just are not true (creation vs. evolution as the most obvious).  It may be possible to have a symbiotic relationship if one were to take the view that religion has areas which are meant to act as moral story – rather than absolute factual accounts of the truth.

For me, where I have always stood is for science to get the answer it will need to get a little bit more religious; and for religion to stay in the modern world it will need to get more scientific. The person who will do it and see God – who will see the truth will be a scientist with an open mind to ideas beyond sciences conventional boundaries. In my pursuit of the answers I hope to stay questioning, childish and ready to be corrected.

To close our please read the views of Albert; as with so many things he is 100% on the mark.

A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. 

How do you feel about this big issue?

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38 responses to “Science and God: A beautiful fusion or an unhealthy alliance?

  1. You’re right. There are many things in the holy texts that cannot be explained scientifically. But I guess that’s the difference between religion and science. Religion explains what was created and why, but it doesn’t answer to how it was created. Religion seems to have some loopholes when compared to scientific facts, but does that mean they are struggling against each other? I don’t think so.

    Christians (I can’t speak on behalf of other religions) put everything in faith to God; meaning that everything runs its course because of God’s divine intervention. Do we see things in science that we don’t see in the Bible? Of course. Do we believe that Darwin’s evolution is simply wrong because the Bible says the world was created in 6 days? Ugh, that may be a sensitive issue, but in general we don’t see it as conflicting. Our mindset simply puts us back in faith and we say that there are things out there that God still keeps as secrets or will unfold in the future. Does that thinking make me less scientific? There are many Christian scientists who will argue vehemently.

    Anyway, regardless of the different opinions you and I have, we WILL have some Christmas parties next month, right? 🙂

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    • We most certainly will Brad! And your views do seem very flexible. My views come from the side of science and yours come from religion – but in truth I think we meet somewhere in the middle. I try not to close my mind off to any possibility and I am glad to see you have done the same by exploring science. I think that if there is indeed a divine creator then we were left a trail of breadcrumbs to follow. We were given the brain power and little clues to start unraveling some of the most beautiful secrets of the universe. I just hope we reach a day when all parties live in peace

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The key is flexibility – as you say. The times I have tried to explore my own spirituality and understanding of God, I have been frightened off by well-meaning but very adamant Christians who believe that the word of the Bible cannot and should not be questioned. Personally, that doesn’t sit comfortably with me at all although I respect and admire their devotion and faith. There must be some simple way that these things can be reconciled.

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    • Sounds like our views are very similar. We know for a fact that we have been given very curious minds that naturally question what is in front of us. If we didn’t well the world would still be “flat” and the earth would be the center of the solar system. In all aspects of human life our greatest strength has been our ability to question, understand and improve. It is of course a much more sensitive task with religion – as the texts are deemed to be infallible. But don’t give in! Many people forget that religion is a personal thing – just like the music we choose to listen to. One person might think a song is wonderful, someone else may prefer the remixed version while someone else likes a different genre all together. People can sit down and appreciate different music – even if they wouldn’t purchase it themselves, we just need to get there with other beliefs such as these.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! This helps makes thing clearer. I felt that I couldn’t be a Christian because I don’t believe in Creationism and some of the more fundamental parts of the Bible. Religion should be personal as we were all created as individuals. You have made things a little clearer for me and I appreciate that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am very glad to have done so – I just try to spend as little of my life as possible with rules. Don’t see things as having sharply defined boundaries but rather a sliding scale in which you may place yourself anywhere you so wish

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  3. The struggle between Science and Religion has been a long one, one that probably started even before Bruno burnt at the stakes for saying that we are not the center of the universe! Religion is more a subjective experience with ready made answers and explanations to everything around us. Science on the other hand is objective and insists on replicating observed phenomena in a controlled environment. There are limitations to both alone, together… not so much 🙂

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    • I agree the two need to meet in the middle! Of course I sit on the science side of things, however I have an appreciation of the God-like forces in the universe. I wonder if there will ever be a true fusion of science and religion

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  4. For me, science describes the way the world was created and how it works, whereas I see religion as something to place my faith in. It’s somewhat comforting to believe that there is a greater power out there controlling our future. I feel like its this flexibility between science and religion that should exist – we shouldn’t have to chose between the two!

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  5. Thank you for visiting my blog. I find your approach refreshing. Dogmatism does not look good on the religious or the scientist. Truth does matter, wherever we find it, but we are all finite in our understanding of it. That should keep us humble and open. I look forward to reading more.

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    • Thank you very much! I completely agree; I wonder how much more advanced we would be if people kept and open mind from day 1. You can never be quite sure where the truth will arise from, so everything must be kept open

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  6. I really enjoyed reading this post. I’m excited that science and religion are starting to merge in the middle a bit. It’s the wonder of connectedness to everything and the science of being able to measure how compassion for each other, all creatures, and the planet can have an effect and a change of course. I know it can be a touchy subject on both ends of the conversation, but for me, I’m glad there is a conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and your lovely comments. I am so glad that you enjoyed reading the post – I am sure we will get there in the end with science and religion!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Joseph, I am going to reblog this one and then add my comments/answers to your questions. Please check this out at truthtroubles.com . Joseph you make excellent intelligent questions, I wish it were possible for us to sit down face to face and have a friendly discussion. I am sure that we could both learn from each other.

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    • I am sure we would my friend – far too often there is nothing but geography in the way of very stimulating conversation. Thank you so much for your support it is much appreciated

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  8. Reblogged this on Truth Troubles: Why people hate the truths' of the real world and commented:
    I am a devout fundamentalist Christian and I know that what every Church I know of has no clue about the first two chapters of the and what they are plainly telling us. Churches tend to have their ‘church doctrines’. If ‘church doctrines’ are not matching up with what the Scriptures are telling us then it is we humans that are in error, not the Scriptures which they do not understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it would be fascinating to hear more from a genuinley religious person who believes deeply in both science and in mainstream religion

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  9. Hi Joseph,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for this thoughtful piece on the intersection of science and religion.

    While not exactly “mainstream,” I am a Christian minister who believes deeply in science, and sees no conflict between the two. Science is an excellent tool for determining the nature and function of the physical universe. Religion is about God and spirit, which exist on a different, non-physical plane.

    The two do interact, of course, mostly in the human realm. But good science and true religion can never conflict with one another because both the physical universe and the spiritual realms reflect and express the nature of God.

    Are you familiar with Stephen Jay Gould’s NOMA principle? I find it helpful, if not exactly foolproof, for defining the respective areas of science and a religion in a way that allows them to peacefully coexist and even to support one another.

    I would also recommend that you check out Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), who grew up in a highly religious Christian household, became a scientist and philosopher during his adult working career, and then returned to religion, creating a solid working relationship between religion and science.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad to see there are some people out there who do truly believe in both! It would be so beautiful if one day the two did marry up! As I said in my post though, I thnk a lot more free thinking would be needed on both sides and one more than the other…. that isn’t to knock you at all however since you clearly are a free thinker. I have not heard of it at all I will check both of those out – I actually struggled for other material as I wrote this so thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Religions rely on the total and unquestioning acceptance of the irrational, inexplicable, and unacceptable.

    Science too must one day boil down to acceptance-as- fact of hypothesis. I escape the trap by offering that the ‘Big Bang’ and ‘God’ are two different names for the same thing~?

    Uneducated I need simple explanations, and I was told that “in the beginning all was void, except for a single Primordial Atom which contained all the matter of the entire universe in a tiny space so small it didn’t exist; and after timeless eternities within that atom something changed and triggered an event we now call the Big Bang” etc etc …

    Timeless change? I like it …

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see your point and do accept it; can science ever have all the answers? Who knows but it’s advantage is flexibility. It is allowed to find new evidence and go back on everything it has ever said before hand and change its mind in an instant. A paradigm shift. Religion however is at a distinct disadvantage, in that it must be more careful, and it must slowly change over time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No contradictions, in ‘eternal truths’ that change over time?

        But rather than a disadvantage religion has everything going for it. Science must as least make some sort of sense…

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I believe in God and I think that God delights in us pushing back and questioning him. He wants us to be able to THINK. That’s why Jesus spoke in parables and forced his disciples to think. We do have to operate in faith but not like dummies or robots. Like Brad said, God reveals things to us at appointed times and uses his people to do it (scientists).

    “Religious” people feel threatened by science. But many of them don’t truly know Gods nature. God himself is not threatened by it. When religion is threatened by science it minimizes Gods power by giving science less value. After all if we believe God created all things, doesn’t science fall under “all”? He wants science to be powerful and when believers come to that conclusion I think we can discover great things together.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello and welcome to the blog! How pleasantly refreshing; I totally agree with you. The way I have always thought it is if you are a believer it makes MORE sense to try and understand science because you have been “created” with a brain capable of understanding it – so you would naturally consider it something you were designed to do. For a non-believer like myself, I do it because it fills that void I don’t have by believing in a God (and it just makes me very happy) – either way we both get to the same conclusion of learning more!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Thank you for liking one of my posts, as I really appreciate finding your blog! I also am a believer and I have always had trouble understanding why faith and science have to be enemies. It has always seemed to me that science is simply a human methodology to help us discover and understand the created universe…it’s fascinating and mind boggling and so very humbling, right? (I mean, just coming from a Christian perspective, the Bible does tell us to love God with our minds too, after all 🙂 ) My husband is a pastor, but he also has a master’s degree in bio chemistry, his emphasis at the time being in genetics. I’ve never studied it myself, but it interests me, I mean, how can it not really? If anything, it has deepened my faith and appreciation for the creative magnitude of this Divine Genius. As my husband says, and I agree, science cannot project inherent meaning or purpose into empirical observation. It’s all such an interesting topic, and I am so glad you are providing this forum. Thank you so much. I look forward to reading more!

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    • I completely agree with you yes and I think that there should be much more agreement given the two viewpoints! I am always interested to hear of different peoples opinions even if I cannot agree with them – but overall I just like it when people are fascinated by the big issues like these. It is a shame when a blind corridor of faith is taken whereby rational thought and the quest to understand more is shut aside – that is what has happened in the past but it gives me hope we may be moving to a world where this is not the case.

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  13. Maybe when science can explain water divining, ghosts, ESP, levitation, people seeing angels, and a myriad of other phenomenon which just seem to keep on happening to ordinary folk; it may begin to be in a position to explain God Himself.

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  14. Hi, Josef
    I think with religion people can know God and science better. Of course , the religion should be free from lie and fake. I read Quran always. one of the most important issue that I found in Quran that is gravitation rule.
    Before Newton gravitation rule, Quran has mentioned the gravitation rule.

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  15. Pingback: ‘Illusory’ free-will & science vs scripture & spirits | Richard's Watch·

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