Religion in Modern Society: Religion and Science | Sociology for CUET by Vikash Ranjan | Sociology Guru

Religion in Modern Society: Religion and Science

(Relevant for Sociology optional for UPSC CSE)
Paper-1 ,Unit-8 : Religion in Modern Society: Religion and Science

Religion and Science

Religion and Science:

Religion does not need science and science does not need religion, but man needs both. There are thinkers who believe that science & religion are incompatible with each other, whereas the other thinks otherwise. There are two major opinions regarding the relationship between science and religion-“religion and science are mutually conflicting” and “science and religion are not mutually opposing”.

  1. Religion is based on faith and rituals whereas science depends on observation, experiments, verifications, proofs and facts.
  2. Science deals with the known or the empirical world. But religion is concerned with the unknown or supernatural world.
  3. For summer and Keller, it is difficult to find any type of religion which has welcomed free enquiry.
  4. Science insists that all phenomenon that is observed should not be accepted at face value. Its value and meaning can be discovered through experimentation. All factors (time, place, person, equipment) that can affect the result of such experiments are controlled in laboratory conditions.
  5. Science differs from religion because it believes in neutrality and objectivity. Scientific method is claimed to have annulled the subjective biases. Science believes in precision and measurement which is not possible for religion.
  6. Science brings the unknown to the level of observable reality. Religion cannot bring God to the level to observable phenomena. Scientific knowledge has more concrete application in the form of the technology which might help in manipulating nature. Religion cannot establish such concrete and immediate result.
  7. Scientific knowledge and method are valid universally whereas principle of religious life differs from society to society.
  8. Kingsley Davis advocates that religion withers like a leaf before a flame when the scientific attitude is brought to bear on it.

However those who say that SCIENCE AND RELIGION ARE NOT OPPOSING believe that :

  1. Science deals with what is known. It is potential knowledge based on sensory evidence. Religious beliefs refer to the world beyond the senses. The knowledge which cannot be proved by the methods of science, cannot be disproved also.
  2. Religion is social reality. The persistence of religion throughout the ages is proof of its survival value. It has rendered undeniable services to the humanity and is still serving. Religion like other institutions has its roots in certain human needs. Hence it was felt to be a necessity and continues to be a necessary thing. If religion is construed as nothing but belief in superhuman force or power, it remains incompatible with science. If on the other hand it is understood as a kind of ethical philosophy serving
    1. H.E. Barnes says that even if there exists conflict between fundamentals of religion and modern science none exists between the later and humanism because the humanists frankly base their religion upon the findings of the science.
    2. Religion in its real sense is not conflicting with science. It is only the dogma or theology or the distorted version of religion that conflicts with science. If the religion respects and accepts the values of science and if science recognizes and accepts the reality and necessity of religion, then there could be no conflict between religion and science.
    3. Even if there is conflict between religion and science, the main cause of conflict is that boundary between the two is shifting what was unknown yesterday is known today. The scientific pursuit of empirical truth is opposed to religious pursuit of non-empirical truth.
    4. Both are two facets of life. One touches soul while other indicates material advancement. Religion gives peace to scientifically advanced and worried society. Both try to pierce into the realm of unknown. Thus, conflicts and compatibility of religion and science cannot be studied is an isolated manner as development of science can provide base for the interpretation of ideas of religion. Science is a search for knowledge as well as method of solving problems.
    5. Both religion and science are forms of human understanding. Both science and religion are human ways to relating themselves to reality.
    6. Both science and religion try to make explicit the world of unknown. Religion is more collectively oriented than science, but science too emphasizes team spirit and cooperation of scientific community. Both science and religion claim access to truth.
    7. On many occasions in past as well as present, both science as well religion have acted against human kind. Both religion and science prescribe qualification for their personnel.
    8. Max Weber too considers religion as the root cause of rise of capitalism subsequent to industrialization and technological development.
Science Religion
Science is considered as inquisitive, deliberative Religion is considered as imaginative and speculative
Science drives man to shape his own destiny Religion push man towards fatalism
Science believes in precision and measurement Religion has no such provisions
Science brings the unknown to the level of observable reality Religion often depicts God as beyond reach of normal human beings
Science is liberating and enlightening and promotes questioning of everything Religion binds individuals and promotes status quo and tradition
Science is based on rationality Religion is based on the belief in sacred
Science promotes individual innovations, though team works are also there Religion is more collectively oriented
Scientific knowledge and method are valid universally Religious principles are accepted within a particular community only which believe in those principles

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