Science vs. religion
There are a number of views regarding the relationship between religion and science:
- Scientism: the belief that science has the only means for man's advancement, and that religion is false. Examples include Richard Dawkins and Carl Sagan;
- Religious empiricism: the belief that science and religion are compatible and interdependent: that science leads to belief in the True God, and that belief in the True God is necessary to properly approach science. Examples include Thomas Aquinas, Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, and contemporary creationism;
- Fideism: the belief that science and religion are incompatible: that science gives no support for religion, so that religion requires a "leap of faith." Examples include Soren Kirkegaard and William of Occam.
History of the conflict
In the past two centuries, attacks against the Christian faith have grown at an alarming rate. Critics have tried to use all possible fields of study and investigation to assault the Bible. In the minds of some, "science" has turned out to be their best weapon. This is all the more surprising when we consider the history of science. Prior to the 1800s, most practicing scientists were theists, today they are mostly are atheists. In fact, the majority of the founding fathers of the various science disciplines believed in God, and felt as though their investigations were aimed at understanding His handiwork. Among these historical creation scientists are Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo Galilei.
This is the age of science. Scientific investigations have caused technology to grow explosively. Things which were considered a luxury yesterday have become commonplace today. Everyone is dazzled by the achievements and modern gadgets of science which have infiltrated present-day society. The education system is permeated with science, and unless a person is able to obtain a high degree in science, technology, or medicine, he is kept out of the world of lucrative jobs. Science has become an object of awe and worship.
The aura that surrounds science today is being used effectively to intimidate people with statements like "Science has disproved the Bible" or that "Modern science has shown that the Bible is an outdated book". The listener often accepts these statements as true because in his mind 'science' stands for a staggering collection of knowledge against which no educated person can argue. Frequently this attitude gives rise to great mental conflict and anguish. This person does not know what to do. On one hand he accepts the Bible to be the true word of God, but on the other hand he cannot reject science, which is the result of careful investigations. This kind of conflict produces serious hindrances in spiritual commitment and growth, and the person lives a life of constant uncertainty. This would not happen, however, if people have a proper understanding of what 'science' is.
Usually people use the word 'science' to imply it represents a single, absolute, and unified collection of truth. This is a completely erroneous idea because the scientific knowledge acquired by science is a collection of many categories of truth, all of which are NOT equally true or established. Actually science is a collection of different categories of information, some of which have high validity while others are yet to be tested or established. Some of it might even be false. This means that we must start with an overview of science.