by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Religion and science are constantly at odds, with the giants of each stepping on each others’ toes.
On the one hand, science feels it must crush religion. How can people have such foolish beliefs and still be scientific, they ask. Many a religious viewpoint has been sacrificed on the altar of science.
On the other hand, religion feels that they must deny science. How can they not? There is great fear that science is slowly displacing God in the lives of a dwindling flock.
Perhaps people need both. Religion and science. The essence of science is to explain our physical world. Anything we need to know about our physical selves, our world, our universe – we look to science to provide the explanations. And science has provided some pretty darn good explanations, don’t you think?
And how about religion? The essence of religion is to provide purpose and meaning to our lives. It is human nature to seek out meaning, and science is a cold mistress in this search. To many, God, the Divine, Spirit – whatever you wish to call it – is unknowable, and our purpose isn’t to seek to explain, but rather to discover where we belong and why we are here.
How is it that we have come to believe that a search for meaning and a search for explanations about our physical world can’t co-exist? It is perfectly possible to find meaning in God and still believe in Darwinism.
Here’s where I think we may get our wires crossed. Science seeks to know everything. At its heart, God is unknowable – which is why we call it faith. And yet, we’re talking about two completely separate things here. Science is helping us understand our physical world. Faith is helping us to find a framework of meaning for something that is outside of the physical world. This doesn’t mean they cancel one another out. It doesn’t mean they disqualify one another. It simply means that we, as human beings, are multifaceted and need information on a number of levels.
Our bodies and our minds – they need science. But our spirits – they need meaning in whatever form we find it.
When people ask, how can faith and science co-exist in one person, my question is this. How could they not? Each nurtures a separate part of who we are that combine to make us whole. No conflicts there.