Monday, March 12, 2012

Science and Religion

Do science and religion go together?
For me answer is ‘Yes, very much’ rather they are made for or made from each other. There was no difference between science and religion when humanity started, they were one and same. According to me Vedas are first and oldest science journals or scientific societies formed. They used to get updated, debated and people from all sections of society used to contribute their ideas and views during those debates and discussions.  Humans needed this process of generation of knowledge to explain and understand many things around us which used to confuse people in those times and science does the same thing today. But somehow this was discontinued at some stage for some reason.

Every society or culture from time to time gets benefited by presence of very intelligent personalities who become source of fresh, new ideas and knowledge. Their message acts like fresh air and inspires many people who then become their followers. Some of the groups of these followers decided to make their own exclusive societies (which in many cases get converted in new religions) to preach teachings of their teacher (or guru or messenger) and they converted those teachings into a set of rigid rules, complicated structure of dos and don’ts. I don’t think original person delivering this knowledge even desired to have something like this (religions which we have today). When we declare particular knowledge sacred and ultimate truth then there is no scope for debate. This made science and religion part their ways and they became separate fields. Science is all inclusive in its approach; nothing is sacred or holy there, it can’t be rigid or static, everything can be challenged, it encourages asking questions, performing new experiments, and new theories and keeps on adding new knowledge. 

Knowledge is continuous process and it changes over time as new discoveries are made and it gets updated every moment, every day. Science corrects itself, something which seems to be true today may not be true tomorrow as new technologies come new theories also come. There is nothing wrong or insulting to prove old theories wrong or find some error in them and correct them. Those scientists who discovered those theories still considered as great scientists with phenomenal minds as they could achieve that feat with such a limited technology and resources available that time. Scientists have disagreement all the time but scientists don't kill each other over scientific disagreement but history shows us numerous occasions where people kill each other because of religious differences even though all religions teach love and peace

Followers of all religions closed doors for any new knowledge believing that all knowledge has been already delivered and everything to be said is already said. Eventually they started finding difficult to accept or cope with new knowledge which was pouring (as knowledge is continuous process it won’t stop as long as human race or living beings exist on this planet we will keep on learning new things every day). Religion became separate, sacred entity which then become stationary as nothing was allowed to change (even the wrong assumptions or concepts), nothing was allowed to add (even clearly proven facts). At this point science and religion started confronting each other more than often. Now a days science is used to criticize religion and vice versa, still many prophets or different religious groups try to claim that their religious texts list many scientific facts, but still we don’t see close relationship between these two fields. 

We need to understand that for the welfare of human being science and religion has to go together then only both can perform their duties otherwise this unnecessary confrontation will continue like this. We should be ready to correct many rules or concepts which are outdated in many religions and accept new ideas and move forward, it won’t hurt any religion or reduce its dignity. Whenever people will understand this, this whole debate of science vs religion will become meaningless. 

I firmly believe that if there is anything which can help us to search or understand the concept of God it has to be combination of science and religion. According to me science and religion are not separate but they are one and same.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

(Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing) 

16 comments:

  1. Very nice, I liked it and I think most who believe in science are accepting it as religion unknowingly and they also follow other religion for medicinal purpose.

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  2. Very nice, I liked it and I think most who believe in science are accepting it as religion unknowingly and they also follow other religion for medicinal purpose.

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  3. We should not distinguish material & spiritual science as an opposite fields to study . every stream of science will take everybody toward the close of creator it may be biology, psychiatry, chemistry, physics, ornithology or spirituality and many... superficial (Shallow) search of anything will not take anyone close to the creator, one must have passion....one must have madness to know the truth, then only it is possible. Many students read the books of science, complete their degrees and graduations but how many do the experiments to know the different dimensions and properties of the objects which are mentioned and not mentioned in the books. The knowledge has become way to get the jobs of high salaries, most of the inventions are made to create comfort for human not to understand truth.
    http://www.vikaspath.org/

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  4. @cmvairale, many times we read to bash others and feel superior. Please do not take it wrong, but I doubt that is the purpose of this blog. Everyone has their perspectives towards their lives and it will be wrong to infer from others perspective. It will be better to keep the discussion/comments to what you think about this subject.

    I totally agree with Vinay that this is how religion started being more of sacred thing than knowledge thing. I can not feel closer to god if I have restrictions, and most of the religions teach you to restrict your lives. I do not want to be restricted and always would want to adopt new world and knowledge and enjoy it while I last around.

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  5. Nice brain storming on one of the very interesting topic. I am fully convinced that today's religion(s) has too many restriction, which is certainly unfortunate, but were those restrictions originally present during the foundation of the religion? And if they were why were they imposed? On the other side, unrestricted science practices (such as nuclear weapons etc) is equally bad.
    The main article talk about the vedas. Actually many religious (especially in so called "hindu" religion) rituals have originated from those vedas. All the rituals have some scientific, logical, psychological or sociological explanation. Unfortunately with time the those explanations have vanished and only rituals were left. Our job is to find out (or at least try to understand) why those rituals (restrictions) were included in the religion? And it has to be done through extensive RESEARCH (same as what we do in scientific findings). After scrutinizing we can change some of the rituals (if we find that they are outdated for present time). The advise "to scrutinizing" the religion (and everything else we do) has been indicated in religion (at least in hinduism) it self. For example, hindu's put tilak (tika) on forehead. At first instinct it might seem merely a ritual but I think it is not just that. Tika is placed on forehead where we have cerebrum (a portion of brain that is responsible for thoughts/imaginations etc). So putting tika is reminder to oneself that he can (and he should) THINK (and ask question WHY?).
    In sammry religion is a thoughtful combination of science+logic+psychology+sociology, while science is just a science or may be a subset of religion. And unthoughtful practice of either of them is dangerous for the entire world.

    Around 100 years back A. Einstein has said, "Religion without science is lame and Science without religion is blind— Albert Einstein". I guess on his birthday it certainly needs another thought.
    Nitin Jabre

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  6. Though I am not a master of reading and neither am I big enough to draw conclusions for others, I will just right what I think religion is and why I am not much of its pro.

    As a person, when I think deeply, the only thing which comes to my mind is god, which according to me is an unknown entity. There goes the formless nature of god. I think it has to do more with psychology than anything else. As a human, you do not want to think about anything else but an unknown entity when you think deeply or meditate. No other explaination makes sense to me. Though I agree with Nitin that many rituals are good and gives positive energy, according to me it can be personalised. That is why we have different research methods. Drawing conclusion on why they might have done might be easy, but unless it is backed up by science, it is tough for me to make conclusions. Rituals are attached to sentiments nowadays, that is why we cant change them and are forced to accept them as it is. Imagine what will happen if we attach some medicine as a ritual and never change it even if we find some better drug. Rituals are same and should be changeable,.

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  7. Very valid points are raised here by cmvairale, Nitin and Vishnu. Good to see that there are people who give some serious consideration to these topics. That’s why I like and encourage discussion as it brings many good ides and views in public by which all of us get benefited.

    Religion was supposed to yield us freedom and clear our ignorance but ironically today it’s used to restrict our imagination and behavior in many ways. I am not totally for unrestricted society as I think human civilization is not yet ready for unrestricted freedom, we still need to have some rules and regulations to live in society.

    As Nitin mentioned one can find some reason for almost all rituals which are performed in all religions, some of them are still valid and many of them were valid when they were introduced (based on geographical, sociological circumstances that time). What people do now a days is to follow or perform rituals mechanically without understanding any significance of it. Its like Vishnu said in his comment attaching some medicine as a ritual, in fact if you see closely they do consider these rituals as medicine as they expect something good to happen after performing them, no one performs them without any expectation. I did not know about Einstein’s quote but it again says the same thing that science and religion has to go together (thanks NItin for sharing it). Lets continue to debate and brainstorm like this and I am sure we can come up with many great ideas which we can use to make us better person and this society better place to live.

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  8. To me the discussion is getting more and more interesting. I feel there is lot more to say but I will go slow. For now, I request commenter to clarify certain things that are confusing me while reading the comments. When we mention religion, do we really mean religion (in its original form when founded) or religious belief of present time ? One may argue that both are interlinked. But I think it has to be specified because discussing religion (in its original form) will be educational (although not necessarily scientific education), while discussion about rigid religious ritual will not teach anything much unless we try to answers questions such as a) was religion like this since it was formed? b) if not, why it got deteriorated? c) what should be done to renovated the religion? According to me the best way to get started is to discuss the huge topic sept by step. Such as understanding the meaning (not just definition) of words that we use. For example, what does words "religion" or "humanity" mean to us? Also, asking specific question may be another best way to start.

    @Vishnu: Your comment "but unless it is backed up by science, it is tough for me to make conclusions" reminds me myself, who thought science is very thing, few years back. Over the period my experience made me change my mind (I am still a scientist!). Now, when I have added few more years in my science career, I think science is not the only thing in life (although unarguably it is the most dominating in present lifestyle). For e.g. Nobel price is the biggest recognition in educated community (especially scientist). Why noble price is given for Peace and Economy (tow non-science fields) apart from Chemistry, Physics and Medicine? I think, it is because only science can not be enough for human life. For e.g. Science can find methods to grow abundance of crop but it can not assure that everyone in the society will get it fairly. Science can not solve the problem of corruption and frauds. You may argue that even religion does not do that. However I believe it can, BUT ONLY IF IT IS FOLLOWED IN ITS ORIGINAL FORM and not the way it is been followed today. What is the original form? We have to discover (not invent) it, since mostly we have seen the deteriorated religion. For that first of all, WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND IT IN ITS ORIGINAL FORM. Why only we have to do it? Because, we are scientists and trained for rational thinking, while rigid religious people do not have that flexibility or understanding.
    @ vinay: its not religion that restricts us but it is the misunderstanding of religion (or religious people of present time). Also, I think it is not too early for the unrestricted society but actually it is too late. According hinduism (and if you believe in ram rajya), ram rajya was the only and only unrestricted society in hindu scripture, where nobody used to restrict any other person but oneself.

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  9. In a positive perspective I was told by a well versed person that the "Importance of Kaliyug was that it would give birth to Satyug that prevailed in the days of Ramrajya"
    That's worth a thought as Humanity leads itself towards self-destruction today!

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  10. thanks cmvairale. I have heard the same about kaliyuga and also agrees with it (based on the present trend). However that will be an end of one cycle and beginning of another cycle as I understand.

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  11. As I said only science or only religion alone is not enough for our progress, I am advocating both to go together. But if you see around both (science and religion) are confronting each other at various topics, its because of misunderstanding about both. Religion doesn't restrict anybody but what I said nowadays its used to restrict people.
    To establish religion in its original form we have to fight with its current form, we cant avoid that. I dont think we had truly free society till now in any part of the world. I will post my next article soon where I am going to discuss women and religion.

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  12. I completely agree with you that religion and science are both needed (actually they are the same, in it's original form). I also completely agree that we have to fight with it's current form. But I must say that in this fight, we are fighting against ourself, using the weapon of our (positive, logical, scientific) thoughts against the enemy of negative thoughts (negative, illogical). I think vedas are trying to teach that us we can only change ourselves and not others (I can explain this in detail at some other, more appropriate time). For now I will focus on your next article.

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    1. Thanks Nitin for your valuable inputs, you are right we need to change ourselves first before even arguing with others about this issue. Thanks guys, so fat its very good discussion I think we are going in right direction...

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  13. @Nitin, I dont think it matters how religion was in its original form. As a person, all I care what is in there for me? Call me selfish, but I dont regret loving myself and I am completely convinced that everyone does love to themselves more than anyone else, but they fail to recognize/accept this and put themselves in lots of emotions.

    Coming to the point of science, I dont know what is your definition of science, but according to me science is logic. If something doesnt fit my logics, it doesnt exist for me. Personal experiences bring in lots of confounding (sorry I am speaking few statistical terms), and that is why we try to do research on bigger sample to avoid errors.

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  15. Science and religious facts can really be intriguing.

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