Science vs. Religion: in which is your faith placed?

As contemporary modern people, we often think that science and religion are opposed to each other.

It’s one or the other, we tell ourselves.

What we often don’t do is stop to think about what sorts of things science is telling us, and what sorts of things religion is telling us.

It seems that not only are they not opposed, but that they need each other.

A psychologist wrote about this once in his book.[1] To get his point across, he told this story:

There once was a toddler who was, as toddlers do, exploring his environment. He came across a shining figurine sitting on a coffee table. He reached up to feel it. As he was picking it up, his mother came into the room. Scared that he might drop and break the figurine, his mother screamed at him, “Put that down!” He, of course, was startled, put it down, and avoided it from then on out.

This story illustrates the difference between science and religion.

When the little toddler picked up the figurine, he found that it was smooth, a bit cold, and a bit heavy. This is the realm of science: empirical objective observation.

However, when his mother entered the room and chastised him for touching it, he learned that this was something precious and that he should stay away. In other words, he learned the value of this object. This is the realm of religion: infusing meaning into the world.

It would seem that science and religion need each other.

Science tells us about something while religion tells us the meaning and value of something.

Science tells that the world is a planet, one among many.

Religion tells us that the world is sacred.

Science tells us that humans are homo sapiens and how we are related to other animals on earth.

Religion tells us that all people are created in the image of God, and that God so loved us that the Word become enfleshed, died on the cross, and rose from the dead for us.

They work together.

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[1] Jordan Peterson, Maps of Meaning: the Architecture of Belief (New York: Routledge, 1999).

Tonight’s Battle: Science vs. Religion

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