Science and Religion: A Pursuit of Truth
By Mark Bach
Some view science and religion as opposing concepts that often conflict with each other. However, careful investigation of each may lead one to conclude that science and religion are closely related and complement each other. Both subjects do the same thing – they pursue the truth – albeit from different perspectives. As our understanding of science and religion improves, common elements of each become clearer. We can see that science and religion are really not that different. Combined, science and religion can provide us with a greater understanding of the universe in which we live.
Let us consider life on Earth, existing in all its variations and complexities. Some, from a religious perspective, state that there is no way for a human to understand life. From the religious perspective, life is created by God alone, and life itself is evidence of a supreme being – God. Others, from a scientific perspective, present experimental evidence of creation of the building blocks of life in a laboratory, and point to other experiments underway to create life artificially. From the scientific perspective, life is simply an ordinary result of natural processes, not involving any supreme being.
Further study of life on Earth leads to consideration of factors necessary for life on Earth. The evidence for this study is apparent to all of us. Earth possesses a number of qualities needed to support life – the right mass, the right balance of dry land, fresh water, oxygen and nitrogen, located at just the right distance from a star of just the right magnitude, a gravitationally stabilized orbit (by the Moon), an object (Jupiter) of just the right mass positioned at just the right place to deflect gravitationally objects (comets and asteroids) – the list goes on and on. We see that convergence of all of these factors, resulting in life on Earth, is rare, making life on Earth unique. This is irrefutable and merges both science and religion, highlighting just how special life is. However, there is a possibility that the convergence is a result of random combinations – just the result of chance. We are left with a personal decision. Are we the result of randomness, or the result of God’s plan? Our faith guides us.