The debate between religion and science has been going on for years, clashing together with different ideologies. The argument combines historical and philosophical approaches to contest to each side, battling to disprove each other. While religion is based on faith, using the will of God to guide them in their observations, scientists use experiments to find discoveries based on facts. The conflict between religion and science hasn’t been fiery in modern times, compared to the years where science was inferior to religion, but the topic has still been brought up in discussion.
Can someone be both a scientist and a religious person? Although they may both pursue knowledge, there methodologies are completely different, pitting each other into heated discussions. In our past lecture with Brother Guy Consolmagno, he argues that Christianity isn’t completely based on faith in God. The church is also continuously studying the universe, like scientists, trying to learn more about our origins. Comparable to science, ideals in the church changes, and aren’t always set in stone.
The Bible may be the guide for most religious people, but there are also different interpretations of the Bible that people find to counteract certain claims. Guy uses evidence that the first medieval Church universities started the modern study of astronomy. The university learned: grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music courses, which showed that it was like any other university teaching students for a better career. The university may be Christian based, but it didn’t ignore what science offered them. According to Guy, Jesuits run 25% of all observations in Europe.
They helped create the definition of a “year,” based on our four seasons. Despite the differences between religion and science, Guy believes that we can comingle ideas from both sides to progress our studies of the universe even further. (Consolmagno) One of the topics in The Constant Fire introduces James Clerk Maxwell, one of the great physicists in his time, and his view of religion and science co-existing with each other. Maxwell formulated equations that explained electric and magnetic fields and the unification of these concepts into electromagnetism.
Maxwell’s equations and mathematical laws are the reason why we have radio, television, and all electronic technology today; although he constructed scientific laws for his devotion to science, he was also a devout Christian. “I believe…that Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. ” (Maxwell) He attended church regularly, read scripture before going to sleep at night, and even committed the entire psalms to memory. It showed that his religious belief was unyielding, despite his scientific advances in society.
At the same time I think that each individual man should do all he can to impress his own mind with the extent, the order, and unity of the universe, and should carry these ideas with him as he reads [the Bible]. ” (Maxwell) Learning about the universe through a different perspective doesn’t waver doubt; instead, it enriches spiritual understanding. Maxwell set an example showing how his experience in science was an aspiring journey to glorify his God. (Frank) The Constant Fire also explains Isaac Newton’s perception of his work towards science contrary to his religious beliefs.
Newton asserted himself as a “priest of nature. ” Like any religious person, he believed there was a God of absolute power. Although, he also believed that his work was exploring God’s greatness, making science a way of explaining his creation. “It is the perfection of God’s works that they are all done with the greatest simplicity. He is the God of order & not confusion. ” (Newton) Both scientific philosophy and religion were inseparable, as both concepts bounced off each other.
Even coming from one of the greatest scientists in the orld, like James Maxell, Newton concluded that there ironically was no warfare between science and religion. (Frank) Science comes from the creativity of an individual making up a new hypothesis. Religion comes from varied interpretations of how they view the spiritual being they worship. We don’t have enough evidence from the universe to commit to a godless path, and we are too knowledgeable enough to pledge to a specific religious ideal. I believe there is such thing as a middle ground: taking the possibility of new ideas and building an equal foundation.
I still keep to the constitution of scientific theory composing our world, but I also keep multiple hypotheses in mind. We should be open-minded, and explore the different possibilities of the unfathomable unknowns of our universe. I’m not afraid to ask the lingering question science and religions try to explain.