Saturday, January 19, 2013

Problems in science and religion

This week I read an article from the National Public Radio and have meditated on it in relation to a conversation that I had in a previous week with another young person. In our conversation, the young Jamaican mentioned frustration at political leaders quoting, alluding to and referencing the Bible when discussing the nation's problems. And that person is not the only one. I have even seen my Jamaican network on Twitter also expressing disgust at Biblical reference, allusions and meaning given by Jamaican political leaders in their execution of their political responsibilities and duties. The National Public Radio's article however, goes on to find out why.

While I can understand why many of my generation and peers may be turned away from religion, it beats me that we so trust the methods of science that we are willing to believe and take the imaginary accounts of what scientists could not have observed as having happened and actually taking place as a better alternative. My friends, the methods of science are part imagination and part observation. Science also like religion uses storytelling and imagination in telling a story based on the reasoning, deducting or inferring from what we can see and observe to what we don't actually know, but wish to know. Take for example, the Big Bang theory or the theory of evolution. No scientist was actually present at the beginning of time to actually observe what took place. In fact, even with the Neanderthal skeletons that man has found and used to construct a theory of natural selection, there are disputes within the scientific community about (Harding, 2010). Unfortunately, we are not all schooled in the methods of science to know how much imagination often plays a part of the scientific process.

Another problem with science and its view of the world, is that even the process of science is not totally free from manipulation (especially in the era of corporate funded universities and research). The very same methods that are supposed to be objective are being manipulated by industry to sell us stuff or ideas that can even kill us slowly. I know from experience that if one wants to get funding for one's research, one has to seek out an organisation or institution that is interested in the possible findings of that research. Then one has to be able to convince the institution through a research proposal that such research will ultimately meet the institution's goals or objectives. Knowing this, I now take this into consideration when reading scientific publications to see if scholars indicate in their publications the institution(s) that funded the research.

However, what I have taken away from this is that just as how religion has been manipulated, science can also be manipulated. Those who hold power over the people, will use any storytelling devices and institutions that we believe in and trust in order to control us. Hence it is not that religion is irrelevant in an era of science, but for me, the issue is trying to decipher what has been added and how people in power (the elite) have taken over religious institutions and made them agents of propaganda and hegemony in order to keep their own status in tact.

For me, religion and its rituals are not irrelevant; but more relevant is the search for meaning. Religious rituals become irrelevant when they fail to give us an occasion to search for and find meaning. Rituals are suppose to lead us to seek and find meaning, but to some adherents, have become an end in themselves. But the whole purpose of rituals are to point us to the end: arriving at better understanding and meaning about ourselves and our God, and why the world is the way it is. As one apostle puts it, our religious rules and rituals are only but a shadow of things to come and not the realities (Hebrews 10:1 ; Colossians 2:17).

Hence the purpose of our religious rituals should be to point to past, present and future realities. While religion should give us an occasion to tell the stories of humanity's past and to reflect on it, religious rituals must primarily get us to think about our present and future, and where we are heading or going. While our rituals are supposed to do this, just like science, they have been tampered with. Religious and political authorities have intentionally and unintentionally added to and subtracted from religion rituals and meaning to create a man-made religion that serve or suit their own purposes. This have been done over the millennia until what we have today are rituals and meaning that God did not intend for us to have (Mark 7:7-9).

Hence, the irony is that the very thing that should keep us in harmony with our world and others is the very thing that power elite will adopt in order to exert control and to preserve their status: whether science or religion (or both). Need I mention Adolf Hitler to justify this statement?


Harding, Fred. (2010, March). Nephilim skeletons found. ISEE Magazine

National Public Radio. (2013, January 15). More young people are moving away from religion, But Why? Retrieved:

1 comment:

Mark-Shane Scale said...

Another viewpoint on the directions that science may take us. You see, the common problem in science and religion is the nature of man that seeks to dominate and oppress others and impose his view of reality on others.