Science and religion: Can they coexist?


Are they opposing forces? Do they need to be? Lately, I’ve been finding more and more content locally and online about how “religious people need science.” Likewise, I’ve seen things in the past that state that science is an affront to religion. I started a little Facebook conversation about it and was pleased to find people from different non-faith/faiths chiming in on the topic. Quoting citing personal experiences and studies, challenging each other’s ideas in a respectful manner, quoting their personal religious books…this is what I like to see.

As someone who would call herself “spiritual” if asked to check a box on the topic, and someone who enjoys the advances of science, I like to think they can coexist without much conflict. Having always loved watching science fiction tv shows and movies, I was basically born to ask questions about how things work, what things are made of, and why things are the way they are.  I have been fascinated by chemistry, physics, and biology in some way or another for a very long time.

My beliefs are a bit harder to explain, but the wonderful family, friends, co-workers, and general public that I come into contact with has taught me a lot about different belief systems and theologies. I can’t pretend to argue for a certain point of view, as I can’t see the world through just one lens of beliefs. Defining “religion” and the belief in “God” for this process is tricky.

Every religion (or decisive lack of religion) has suffered at best discrimination and at worst bloodshed over their beliefs and practices. You’d think humans could find a common ground in that: everybody hates being harmed because of what they believe in. Just because one person believes in something that someone else does not, doesn’t mean it is a complete affront to their way of life.

Science has made some pretty great leaps and bounds in our quality and understanding of life. By asking questions, researching answers, making hypotheses, running experiments, and analyzing the data observed, the scientific method has afforded us so many changes and advancements.

A mutual respect between the two fields would be wonderful. Knowing both those studying theology and chemistry, they never try to pit their research against the other. Why? Because they understand that they are in two very different arenas, trying to answer very different questions.

When the Higgs-Boson particle was found, it was immediately nicknamed “The God Particle” (though it is said to have been the shortened version of the original name).
As I understand it (and I am not a scientist), the Higgs-Boson is responsible for the mass in the universe. Some parts of science do capture the mind and rev the spiritual thinker to mix the two. But even if finding a particle that gives mass to everything around us is nicknamed as such, does it really mean that we’ve “found” God? I think it opens great door for conversation, a mixing of respectful banter between the two worlds, but never to belittle one or the other.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that science isn’t a religion, and religion isn’t a science.  They don’t belong together, and one shouldn’t attempt to dissuade the other for their own gains. They can coexist.

By The Preface at IUSB

IU South Bend's Official Student Newspaper

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