Are Science and Religion in Conflict?

Indeed,a conflict does exist between science and religion however the conflict is based on the lack of acceptance and vast misconceptions which members of either side are unwilling to let go of. The conflict between science and religion exists because there is a lack of congruence between the results achieved through scientific discovery and the beliefs required by a religion to follow. This has led to the formation of two extremes i. e. either accept faith and the doctrines required by faith to be observed or accept the rational methodologies of science.

In an article published by “The Atlantic”, the author is of the opinion that solving the riddle that creates the conflict between science and religion is of utmost importance for the current generation. This is because of the reason that these two schools of thought are the most influential forces and guide the way we live our lives (Alfred). Science and religion since their inception have been in a state of continuous development.

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However this development has been in the opposite direction i. e. nitially science studied the literature provided by religion however with the development of scientific research, certain religious concepts remained unproven because they were considered “Abstract” by science. This has led to people accepting one side to be true and the other false (Alfred). There is a conflict between science and religion however this is because of the fact that people are hesitant to study both and stick to one side. This has led to the permanent housing of misconceptions in the minds of people and is adding fuel to the fire i.

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e. increasing the conflict between the two ways of life.

The major reason behind the conflict between science and religion is the lack of acceptance of conclusions reached by either science or religion regarding a particular matter. If science put more light on the topic under discussion, religious scholars would deny those facts based on the grounds that the research is “blasphemous” and contradicts basic religious principles. An article by the “Times” magazine states the Christian Church and other religions including Islam focus on key aspects of human creation such as the possession of a soul by every human being or the miracles performed by saints and “Men of God”.

Science however focuses on new ways of quantifying and measuring human evolution; both the concepts create a conflict (Dan, 2006). Science has been able to prove the physical existence of emotions such as passion, anger by locating it in different parts of the brain. This contradicts with the principle followed by most religions regarding the presence of a soul in every human and how that soul is free from bodily functions etc.

However acceptance of this is denied by religious scholars based on the grounds that the concept of the Afterlife is fundamental to most religions and the concept of the soul is greatly in congruence with the Afterlife (Dan, 2006). Scientific research should not be viewed as a threat to the fundamentals of a religion rather the studies should be perceived as being insightful i. e. the research further clarifies religious concepts rather than denouncing them. There are certain driving factors that govern the existence and acceptance of the conflict between science and religion.

Upbringing, Education and Social behavior are some of the factors that lead to people in both the scientific and religious communities to accept that there indeed is a rift between science and religion. In an article by Elaine Howard of Rice University and Jerry Z. Park of Baylor University, they provided the results of a study they carried out which involved the selection of 21 American scientists who were considered to be among the elite of the time. They studied their attitude towards religion and deduced that all scientists i. e. hether a naturalist or social scientist, have different levels of acceptance towards the conflict that exists between science and religion. The acceptance is affected by their culture and extent of religious practice (Ecklund& Park, 2009). Since everyone needs something to believe in, scientists who do not belong to a strict religious background readily accept the conflict since they have devoted their life to one particular school of thought. This perception is formed after extensive research based on rational thinking and seeking proof of everything which makes scientists so skeptical about religious beliefs.

Among scientists however there is a lack of acceptance towards a religion even if he/she is a believer. This is because of the perceived pressure they would receive if their peers in the scientific community were to discover this fact (Elaine, 2010). The only way to resolve the conflict is to accept religious diversity as well as the free discussion of scientific concepts without being judged as being blasphemous. It is through this open discussion that the misunderstandings that exist between scholars of both extremes be cleared.

The ways the scientific concepts are taught in schools are one of the major causes of the conflict. Since the teachers do not have clear knowledge and understanding of the scientific concepts, they pass on inadequate information to the students attending. In an article named “First Year College Students’ Conflict with Religion and Science” issued by the Georgia State University, the author tells us that it is in the human nature to perceive oneself to be better than the rest. The general public tends to interpret and create their own perceptions regarding scientific concepts and religious beliefs.

The self-interpretations lead to misconceptions which are major cause of the rift that exists between science and religion (Martin, 2008). The schools and teachers within those schools teach in a manner that fixes and restricts the brain of the student to think beyond what is thought. The rigid concepts become permanent with the passage of time which leads to the rejection of anything other than the closely held concepts. Science and religion develop over time, sometimes even complimenting each other. If a clear understanding of the advancements would not be obtained, there would always be room for misinterpretations.

Therefore to remove the conflict at an elementary stage, teachers should encourage students to interpret scientific research however they should know what is right and what is not in order to correct the misconceptions when they arise. An Evangelist is a person who preaches faith based on his or her own perception about the beliefs fundamental to the faith. Christian evangelists have always been skeptical towards scientific concepts as well as theological theories about the creation of the world. Amos Yong carried out an analysis of various literary works related to the explanation of the conflict paradigm between science and religion.

The findings were summarized in the article named “Science and Religion: Introducing the Issues, Entering the Debates – A review essay” and focused primarily on discovering ways to align the methods of the church with scientific methodologies (Yong, 2011). The study identified various conceptual frameworks that could be adopted which would align the thought process of the evangelist with scientific methodologies. Other measures that could be adopted include targeting the people lower in the hierarchy at the church. These people could be taught the concepts of science and how science can better explain religion (Yong, 2011).

The only way to resolve the conflict that exists for evangelists is to align their religious beliefs with rational scientific methods. Since an evangelist is a strict believer in faith, the beliefs would always be fundamental however better scientific knowledge can help bridge the differences. Science is based on methods and the rationale behind every phenomenon. Religion however on the other hand requires the believer to keep faith in the fundamental principles. Both present a different picture of the same thing and it is this difference in perception that has developed a conflict between science and religion.

Science and Religion are two sides of the same coin. These two schools of thoughts add to each other rather than diverging. Religious concepts such as morality can be better understood through scientific research which helps understand and adhere to religion better. There is a connection of knowledge between science and religion which if strengthened is in the favor of the future of the human race. Science and religion have a point where the two schools of thoughts converge. One of the points is quality of being spiritual.

Although scientists work on the basis of rationality, they still have a spiritual side which allows them to keep faith while exploring the horizons of science and reasoning. In an article titled “Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think”, the author Elaine Ecklund states that even atheists have a certain level of spirituality within them. The spirituality may not necessarily be associated with keeping faith however there is a curiosity regarding the origination and formation of our plant and existence (Elaine, 2010). The spiritual side within scientists is promoted by their upbringing and education.

The spiritual side makes them interested in religious beliefs. Through their scientific approach and belief in religious concepts, it makes it easier for them to focus on scientific research and proving religious concepts to be accurate (Elaine, 2010). Therefore spirituality leads to a better scientific reasoning approach to be adopted. Through religious involvement scientific research can be refined and complex questions can be answered. Morality and reality go hand in hand. Morality is the set of values and attitudes that are generally acceptable by a particular society for a particular moment in time.

Religion requires a greater focus on displaying moral behavior. Morality can be better displayed by understanding reality and how it is affected by moral thinking. Morality is required by religion whereas reality is explained by science proving that there is a deeper link rather than a conflict. Through scientific reasoning we are able to deduce the right way to behave in a society. These studies can help assess what moral behavior is. The article “Religion vs. Science” outlines the scientific efforts to better understand moral behavior which helps us adhere to religious principles in a better way (Honner, 1994).

Science is able to study all factors that affect behavior including societal norms, environmental conditions and personal feelings. By quantifying morality, we are able to develop a better understanding of what constitutes morality. This indicates that the relationship between science and religion is one of clarification rather than a source of conflict (Honner, 1994). Therefore rather than thinking about a conflict being in existence, we should follow the results of scientific research and studies to better clarify religious beliefs.

Through scientific research we are able to uncover and understand the abstract concepts that religion defines. Queries about our existence can be answered by a careful examination of religious concepts complimented with a thorough scientific analysis. In an article name God, creation, science, religion: the conflicts by Tom Chivers, the author tells us that scientist in order to deduce the actual age of the Earth moved to religious transcripts appearing in the Bible. Although the Bible did not provide dates however did contain information on the characteristics of the people at the time.

This was a major input in the scientific breakthrough (Tom, 2009). The scientific declarations cannot be denied as they have been institutional to the development of the knowledge and understanding regarding the universe. By further considering the importance of religion we would come across certain questions that have been yet to be answered by scientific research. Through this connection we can uncover various mysteries concerning the universe and everything within it (Tom, 2009). People should develop a thorough understanding of the concepts of both extremes.

Through this understanding we would be able to develop a much better connection between science and religion and resolve all mysteries which would give us a better understanding of who we are and why we exist. Referring to the first counter argument, it states that science and religion converge because a level of spirituality exists between the followers of the two extremes. The argument is refuted by the original thesis stating that although the spiritual level does exist however this would not lead to the convergence of ideas arising within the two schools of thoughts.

The reason behind it is the fact that there is a lack of acceptance of conclusions by scholars of both the extremes leading to a never ending conflict. Referring to the second counter argument, it states that science and religion add to each other in way that science leads to a better understanding of moral behavior which is a pre-requisite for religious believers. However the original thesis refutes this argument by saying that although the concepts add to each other however there are vast misconceptions in the minds of the followers of both science and religion.

These misconceptions come in the middle and cause the conflict to extend rather than reaching a resolution point. Referring to the final counter argument, it states that there is no conflict between the fields because religious beliefs and knowledge acts as a basis of scientific research and discovery. This argument is challenged by the original thesis in a manner that although this can be the case however people classify themselves as being either religious or scientific. Due to this classification, the connection between science and religion cannot be established.

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Are Science and Religion in Conflict?. (2018, Oct 31). Retrieved from

Are Science and Religion in Conflict?

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