As far back in time as can be remembered, there has always been some form of religion governing the thoughts of mankind. Different cultures found different deities to explain what they could not, the natural phenomenas all around them. These “gods of the gaps” were essential to allow the ancient people to give explanations for what they did not know, saying simply that “God did it”. However, as time went on and science emerged with its theories and evidence, people realized that there were answers other than God that existed to their questions.
The Church, having been used to being the sole authority on these matters, did not react well to the materialistic approach that scientists took towards things, and many of science’s earlier discoveries, such as the shape of the universe and the fact that the sun was at the centre of the solar system, went directly against Church teaching. The drastic measures that the Catholic Church took to eradicate this new way of thinking enforced the rift between religion and science.
This highlights the main issue that exists between science and religion that exists to this day, the two factions complete inability to reconcile their two points of view, and their seeming need to rubbish the beliefs of the other. Science is mainly based in practical. tangible evidence. On the other hand, the existence of a God is neither something that has been proved nor disproved, so religion is based simply in faith and belief. The conflict rises from many people in both sides refusal to see the merits of the opposing view.
Most scientists will completely ignore any possibility of supernatural means for the beginning of the universe and any natural phenomena in it. Disregarding this possibility restricts science’s capacity to shed light on knowledge to only what is of the material world. Many religious people will feel resentful over science overlooking their views on many of these things. This further widens the gap between science and religion, and many religious people will refuse to accept any findings f science because of this. This usually leads to religious fundamentalism, which is just as unreasonable as the other side of the coin. Fundamentalists will often claim that any evidence that scientists find to back up their theories but goes against anything said in their holy book was put there by the devil “to trick us”. They will refuse to see the merits of scientific discovery or admit their value. They become absurd, rejecting all advancements in science and technology, citing it as the work of the devil.
Many religious people’s line of argument is that science does not have an answer for everything, so the things which they do know must automatically be wrong. This of course, is not logical or rational. Science has come in leaps and bounds of the last century in particular, and if it continues in the same way, many more theories will be proved or disproved and new discovered brought to light. Science is the sum of human knowledge, and our knowledge is expanding all the time.
However, scientists refusal to even consider and supernatural causes or events means that they are limited to what they can measure, and are forced to often come up with theories which are counterintuitive or illogical in order to plug a hole in their knowledge, instead of following whatever path their discoveries take them down, whether that path be materialistic or supernatural. If science does not recognize religion or God at all then there can be no proving or disproving the existence of anything outside of the universe that we cannot measure, and we can never begin to explore that possibility. It cannot even take it into account.
Overall, the two factions are on the warpath against each other, and each of their die-hard convictions makes it impossible for them to see the other sides argument and conclude on their validity. Their stance makes them seem illogical, and turns many against both sides to a more neutral or inclusive point of view. (b) To what extent is it possible to resolve this? There is no conclusive way to resolve the tension or problems which exist between the scientific community and the religious one. However, it is very possible to reconcile the two opposing factions in order to allow them to recognize the other’s view point.
In both cases, the main problem that can be found between science and religion is their extremist pushing of their own points of view. The obvious solution is to make both sides consider the other. Religious people should take into account the progress that science has made in many areas and accept its findings which have been proved irrefutably, rather than claiming it as the devil’s work. On the other hand, Science should take into account the beliefs that have been held for thousands of years by people across the globe.
Their jobs are to explore every possibility, and with no proof against it, the Judeo-Christian form of God, or any other kind of transcendent or immanent being, is a definite possibility. It is in fact not at all difficult to reconcile the two ideologies, if you are willing to reject complete scriptural literalism and acknowledge the possibility of the existence of a divine being. However, this is easier said than done. The Christians have had a particularly turbulent history with the scientific community, with earlier scientists such as Galileo and the like being prosecuted, and even put to death because of their scientific discoveries.
History such as this is difficult to forget, and may add to bad blood between the two. Many scientists will also say that Religion has no place in science, as their beliefs can not be measured, and therefore either proved or disproved. If anyone wants to defend atheistic science or scriptural literalism, it is their prerogative to do so. There is literally no way to change the thinking of people. We can reason it out, and find ways to reconcile the two view points, as many people nowadays have done, but there will always be the people who are committed, not only to championing their own opinions, but opposing any that disagree with it.