Is there a relation between religion and science? Are they cooperating? Can a scientifically well-educated and intellectual man have a religious faith and beliefs? If to put these questions to a modern ordinary man, we will get a rapid and decisive negative answer. And that is the fact. And why people think so?
There is a common idea that religion is “opium for people”¯, that it is “fictitious and invented by priests or pagans”¯ in an order to fool great masses, to have their implicit obedience and to derive personal benefits for the caste of priests or for general dominating classes. It seriously difficult to argue with such point of view and there is no necessity; it can be refuted in few words, and every well-educated man knows that such look is simultaneous fruit of both monstrous ignorance and pitiful thoughtlessness.
Our history shows that all people of the world, primitive, rough and even the most cultural, have religious conceptions, ideas and religious faith, including those people that have no dividing into classes or estates; that have no a caste of “priests”¯ or pagans in general, but at the same time they are deeply religious (for example, even people of the ancient world). In a word, elementary historical education is sufficient for understanding that religious faith was not invented consciously, but it is the native, original property of human spirit. It is the same as a lot of people have pictures and conceptions of good and evil, rights and morality, orders of domestic, economic, public life, so it follows that every people have some religious beliefs.
Religion and science are the two methods of explanation of the same reality, namely: essences and origins of the world, life, man, as a living being. But these two explanations are extremely opposite, and that is why, acknowledging one, it is impossible to acknowledge another. For example, religious idea of the universe, where earth is in a center, God lives high in the sky, paradise or “kingdom of heaven”¯ is also there, and somewhere below, under the ground, there is hell. These facts are certainly inadmissible for the scientific picture of universe endlessness: the Earth’s revolution round the Sun and many others. The Religious studies about the God’s creation of a man are not adjusted with the conclusions of evolutional studies about affinity of the whole organic world and about the gradual origin of a man from the lower organisms. It is at that time, in the middle of the XIX-th century when the materialistic explanation of nature can fully replace religion. Moreover, the religious study of Christianity, for example about Christ’s birth from the Virgin Maria, is absolutely incompatibly with the most elementary biological information, and from their point of view it is the complete and the roughest nonsense. All in all, religion and science have the same questions, but different answers as it is cited in the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry:
“There are many areas where religionists and scientists
make radically different truth claims. Some of them are:
(1) Does the soul or consciousness exist, as a separate
and distinct entity; or is it a function of the brain?
(2) Does science provide evidence for “intelligent
design,”¯ or does evolutionary biology suffice without it?
(3) Is it possible to influence the healing of persons by
praying for them at a distance, or are the tests
performed completely unreliable?”¯
So, speaking in general: religion assumes wonders on every step, i.e. violations of natural laws, firmly set in science.
That is why it is necessary to choose between a religious and scientific view on life all the time. As science depends on exact proofs, and religion requires a blind faith from us, there can be no oscillation in a choice. Religion is incompatible with science, and the more persons scientifically formed, the more he grounds to reject the outdated and refuted mistake and religious faith.
But all in all it is too much personal, whether you believe in God or not. It is up for every person to decide what route to choose, as everything is based on our inner soul condition. There are a lot of people who believe that religion does not conflict with science, but it is also compatible, it is closely related to it and has the common spirit with it; and this spirit can be a unique condition of really healthy attitude toward life, rescuing a man from every narrow-mindedness and weakness, from narrow-minded feeble mind and slave weakness.