Can Religion and Science Co-Exist?


I’m having a running discussion today with a friend of mine regarding the relationship between God (in this discussion, Christian God) and Science. She is an avid Jehovah’s Witness, I am a Catholic although DEFINITELY more of a scientist than a religious believer.

Let me clarify our points of view:

She believe whole heartedly in the Bible, what it says and the teachings of her faith (which I truly admire, as I’ve said before). As such, she finds the idea of, for example, evolution to be something bordering offensive. God created man in His own image, so the idea we come from monkeys………..

I, on the other hand, believe completely in the theory of evolution (keeping with the same example). But I also believe in God. What I don’t believe in are the Bible stories of the likes of Adam & Eve etc. I believe God did create everything, but more along the lines of he started the ball rolling and left it to grow as it rolled.

For me, I can’t believe that the world was created in 7 days exactly how the Bible tells us. If there weren’t HUGE scientific evidence to the contrary proving our world is over 4 billion years old. The Bible tells us it’s around 6500 years old (circa 4500bc). We have evidence of the human race being around before that……

But I also have difficulty with science. Lets look at the big bang. Stephen Hawking is a total genius and I truly admire this man. His theories are sound, but there are holes. For example, what caused the big bang and what was there before it? How can the universe come from nothing? My answer here is God.

Then we have the PERFECT chain of events that lead to our existence. Lets forgo the big bang. It happened. But from that we have the fact that matter and anti-matter did NOT wipe each other out. Enough survived to create the universe (point 1). Then the fact that EXACTLY the right amount of elements formed together to create our sun (point 2). Then EXACTLY the right amount of material created our planet (point 3). Then the collision between early forming Earth and Theia happened at EXACTLY the right angle to create our moon (which I discovered last night, courtesy of Nat Geo, performs a HUGE part in our survival and overall existence(point 4)) and leave EXACTLY the right amount of iron to form our core and create our magnetic field (essential in our survival from solar radiation (point 5)).

I could continue on about the gravity needed to keep our atmosphere, then move on to the fluke that created the first life form…….. Could be here for a long, long time, but you get my point. Stephen Hawking himself said nothing in this universe is perfect, but this chain is………. un-naturally perfect. This I attest to God.

I believe God started it all. He caused the big bang and planned everything, but I believe he put everything in place and let it go….. Line those dominoes up, give the first one a flick and watch them all fall into place.

But I believe science is our way of understanding this and coming to terms with it all. No replacing God, not playing Him, but understanding him. If He didn’t intend us to learn and develop our intelligence, why give us free will and the ability to learn?

Luckily, my friend and I can agree to disagree, although she’s sending me some info which I’m happily going to read. Who knows, maybe it’ll change my mind 🙂

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16 thoughts on “Can Religion and Science Co-Exist?

  1. “For example, what caused the big bang and what was there before it? How can the universe come from nothing?”

    I forget which scientist theorized that we’re thinking about time wrong. We see it as an arrow, flowing from beginning to end. Whereas if you think about it as a sphere that surrounds us all, the concept of beginning and end have little meaning. After all, where does the ocean begin? End?

    As for the belief in God based solely on the imponderable probabilities required to create the Earth, we’ll return to the time question. Whether an arrow or a sphere, there either a.) was, b.) is plenty of it to wait out for the proper conditions to meet. There’s plenty of time for conditions to arise if you’re willing to wait a billion years.

    • [Snarkier answer] Or we can just accept the differences! Perhaps the Butthole Surfers were right, and “the Lord is a Monkey!” And we’re just rather deformed, intelligent post-simians. It doesn’t mean it [the Lord] has to love us any less. It’ll love us more because of our imperfections! After all, it knew we’d end up like this after all!

    • Ok, I accept your offer of thinking of time could be incorrect. So does this give the reasoning to a thought “time/space/something has always been here”? If there is no beginning or end, then how did it get there in the first place (true, this can then be returned on the omnipresent God issue, which I’m sure will be someone’s next port of call).

      On your second point, I’m guessing you didn’t mean to put “billion years” as thats not exactly a long time in which for things to happen (working on the age of the solar system and earth etc.)

      Your two points seem kind of contradictory. In the first instance, you’re saying we shouldn’t think of time as an arrow going forward and back, however in the second point, you’re explaining if we wait long enough, things will happen, as though time is flowing and things along with it.

      Sarkier answer would be FAB! If humans could agree to disagree….. which sort of led to my initial discussion with my friend. (full circle, maybe there’s something in the non-linear time :))

  2. The problem with you westerners is that as soon as you think about religion the only ones in your head running now would be of monotheistic rules. Of that one book written for entire human ordeal of knowledge he had. It may be called Torah, Bible or Quran.
    Please look into the upanishads, buddists scriptures and vedas and see if metaphysical questions have their origins there. The truth of human perception and its immense limitation and the very interesting “solution to the problem of human perception to perceive this world” is all addressed by the eastern religions. This is precisely the reason most westerners are turning to eastern religions today. Know the esoteric knowledge and arrive that these are nothing but synonyms of science. That science which understood nature and stood above human arrogance, unlike the modern science which is bound to fail in a number of ways.
    -A Proud Hindu

    • Thanks for your comment A Proud Hindu. I agree that we “Westerners” do not understand or know much (if anything) of eastern religions other than that which is publisised on TV. However, the post was purely about the merits of the Christian faith Vs Scientific Theory. As I am not a scholar of religious writings of Buddhism or Hinduism, I wouldn’t dare to write about them or comment on relations between them and science as I understand it. True, I’m not a scholar of Christianity or evolutionary theory either, but I know more about them than eastern writings.

      This being said, I have a profound interest in eastern religions and beliefs after my visits to Thailand and Bali showed me some extremely interesting points of view and ways of life compared to my own. If you have any information (links, books, places for me to visit/read) I’d be very grateful as this will also open a new avenue of my life (in the same way my friend sent me books from her religion for me to read).

      • Dan, the problem with eastern religions is also that we do not observe a single book because of the enormous wealth of knowledge accumulated in every aspect of human thought. Hinduism being a way of life for more than 8000yrs, we have 1,30,000 religious books to satisfy our thirst for knowledge. But for you to start off, I suggest you can read books from Subash Kak, a prof of neural networks from the Univ of Louisiana. He will give you an interesting combination of science and hinduism. But if you need to move forward into understanding the core of hindu philosophy then based upon your intellectual interpretation you can study any of the Upanishads translated by Indian authors. Please be aware not to read those by western scholars.
        Here are some Subhash Kak ebooks for you to start off on science and hindu thought.
        http://www.ece.lsu.edu/kak/hist.html
        “Sarve janaah sukhino bhavantu” meaning let everyone irrespective of your belief and region live happily. A quote from the Upanishads.
        Regards
        Hindu

  3. Science is cool, and God is great. Let’s not allow our superficial interpretations of science blur our perception of God. Since He was the one that created science for us.

    I tried looking up I & II Timothy for you, but couldn’t find the scripture I was looking for. Maybe its in one of the neighbouring books. It said, God created all philosophies before we were even made.

    It’s exciting to think about this, but do remember, if God did create everything (which you seem to believe), then have faith in Him to find the answer to science within Him too.

    • But I don’t think our interpretations of science do blur anything. God gave us the will to interpret it however we chose. As our views and understanding of things change over time (as it always has) so our interpretations change with it.

      I personally think God sits back and enjoys watching us. Bit like a soap opera once you’ve read the TV guide. You know what will happen, but still enjoy watching the show

  4. Phoenix says:

    I am totally agree Mr Wade
    a real nice point of view. of course I think as the world should have a Creator, It must have a nurser. which I think is different from God.

  5. Phoenix says:

    I am totally agree Mr Wade
    a real nice point of view. of course I think as the world should have a Creator, It must have a nurser. which I think is different from God.
    Thanks. keep up the good work

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