Why Evolution and Religion Can Coexist
Jason Soares 1-1 Science and Religion Can Coexist – Revision 2 For centuries science and religion have been competing with each other to reign supreme over the other. It makes one wonder just why it has come to this. After all aren’t they in many aspects quite similar? Consider the following; the theory of evolution, the big bang theory, and the Copenhagen interpretation theory all have one constant term, “theory”.
Why? – All of them haven’t been proven yet as they are still mere theories.
Now shifting over to religion, when reading a holy book, one finds no facts or substantial evidence of how things exist as they do today. Religion, as much of science, is merely based on beliefs. Yet billions choose to either believe in a higher being or eliminate the idea of a god altogether. No matter which side is true or false, one true statement that can be made is that one could not exist without the other. Religion is for spiritual healing and belief; whereas, science is, in most cases, the actual embodiment of our beliefs.
Science and religion can coexist because; arguably the greatest mind of them all said so, religion’s morals and values uses science to the benefit of all mankind, and perhaps God himself used science to create all that we see. Firstly, if indisputably the greatest scientist in the history of mankind, Albert Einstein – the person who set the base for modern science as we know it today – found no problem in believing in both science and religion, then why should we?
Einstein did not believe in a personal God, a god who cares for us or intervenes in the lives of people, but in one that maintained and created the harmony of the universe; a god nonetheless. That may seem quite odd as many beliefs render science and religion incompatible. Yet, many scientists, according to surveys, say that there is no conflict between their faith and their work. Joel Primack, a professor from the University of California, Santa Cruz, co-developed the cold dark matter theory that seeks to explain the formation and structure of the universe.
He also believes in God and that God and science can exist in harmony. He claims that “in the last few years astronomy has come together so that we’re now able to tell a coherent story” of how the universe began, Primack said. “This story does not contradict God, but instead enlarges [the idea of] God. ” (National Geographic News website) This is one example of how clearly science and religion go hand in hand. Secondly, most religions in this world teach three basic steps in being able to enter the “eternal life” that most of them offer: respect one another, love your neighbour and be kind to all.
Not a bad list on which to base a whole religion on. In fact it sounds quite noble. Think about it, many lives are based on the above list due to a strict enforcing of religion from family or a community, and if even a small portion of those people grow up to be doctors and scientists, we can say with ease that the future of our technological advancements is bright and it is in the right hands. After analyzing the upbringing of these theoretical people, we can come to a conclusion that religion helped a great deal in steering their science-filled future in the right direction.
It will be foolish on our part to deny religion just because we’ve advanced in science and technology. As our knowledge increases, we must move nearer to the roots of our religion, and this is the stage when both religion and science will be working together for the betterment of mankind. For example, euthanasia, the killing of a human being to relieve pain and suffering (mercy-killing), is widely considered unethical. This mercy-killing is just a euphemism for suicide. The reason why we don’t say suicide is because it is usually frowned upon by society, yet when someone is on a hospital bed and doesn’t want to live anymore, it’s justified.
People say suicide and mercy-killing are different, but they both lead to the same result: the killing of a human being because the person no longer has a desire to live. By definition, this is indeed suicide because it is taking a life away since they no longer find value for it, and yet it is being done throughout the world in public hospitals. Now a doctor with a good moral and ethical background due to religion or a community with strong values would not succumb to the pressures of this daily occurrence. And aren’t doctors supposed to bring life into this world and help sustain it when outside forces threaten it?
Moreover, it is daunting to think that someone can just “pull the plug” on another being just because the former wants to die. Science and technology can be a blessing in the hands of wise men, while it can be deadly in the hands of others, and if we are wiser and nearer to our religious roots we can enjoy our lives better knowing that religion’s morals and values will use science to the benefit of all mankind. Thirdly, possibly one of the most controversial and heated theories of all is the one that concerns the very place in which we live in, the big bang theory.
According to the big bang theory, space, time, and all matter around us was created by the grandest explosion ever to occur in our universe. When consulting religious persons about this theory they would whole heartedly disagree with it. Assuming they were Catholics, they would immediately refer to the Bible and cite that God created the world, the vegetation, animals, and humans within it. Now level headed persons who are on neither side of the science-religion debate would argue that, why can’t both the big bang theory and the biblical story of God be true?
They would reason that perhaps God used this method of creation for His own purpose, to create a world that is habitable by life. Once again the religious would disagree, saying that according to the book of Genesis, God created Earth in seven days, and according to the big bang theory the earth took billions of years to develop in order to exhibit any traces of human life. Seven days compared to billions of years is quite a difference, yet when examining the word of God in the Bible, the religious cannot take the seven day period so literally.
Perhaps it did take God seven days to create the earth, but maybe God was on a different time scale. One day for us is twenty four hours, but one day for God could have been thousands, millions, or billions of years. Furthermore, perhaps these seven days weren’t consecutive. They could have been spanned out over billions of years and just the major days on which God created his most praised wonders are mentioned. In addition to the creation process of the earth, God could have used the scientific methods of photosynthesis, natural selection, and countless others to create this world.
Not only can we bring science and religion closer together than ever by this new perspective, but we can say that one definitely assisted in the process of the other and that the relationship between science and religion is strong. Ultimately, one can see that science and religion can coexist, because; many of our brightest minds are an example of this, science can be used for worthy causes due to religion’s ethics, and with a new perspective it can be debated that God himself used science for his own creation purposes. No one is forced to sway either way of the debate and everyone is elcomed to stay neutral, nonetheless, one cannot obliviously deny one and praise the other with an un-open mind. We can choose to believe one, but we shouldn’t reject the other altogether. All we should ask of ourselves is not to ignore the pressing questions which alter our views on religion or science, but to expand our tunnel vision and wander into unfamiliar territories to grasp a better understanding of both; consequently closing the gap between science and religion so that one day the feud between the two may rest peacefully in the minds of all.