Religion and Science

There are two kinds of knowledge: knowledge of things and knowledge of truth. So far as “things” are concerned, they display no attribute which cannot be elucidated by direct argument. But where truths are concerned, it is only indirect argument which can throw any light upon them. Indeed, in the case of scientific truths, the validity of indirect, or inferential argument is a matter of general acceptance. Since religious truths are proved by the logic of similar inferential argument, it may legitimately be argued that they fall into the same intellectual bracket as scientific truths. It is important to note that those who conducted scientific research in the centuries im¬mediately preceding our own were not in any way opposed to religion. When Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) discovered the laws governing the revolution of heavenly bodies, he wrote to a friend: “The continuous rotation of the planets is not only due to the law of gravity; there must also be a divine arm in it.” When Darwin (1809-1882) wrote his book, The Origin of Species, he expressly acknowledged the existence of God. This is how he concluded the book: “How magnificent is the concept that the Creator first created some simple forms of life, and from them astonishingly simple and wonderful species of life came into existence.” Then why was it that science turned against religion? The real reason behind this was not, as Drapier (1811-1882) and others have realized, any conflict between science and religion; it was, in fact, a conflict between science and ancient theology, which had been founded on Greek and Egyptian philosophy rather than on divine religion. Ex¬ponents of religion mistakenly thought of it as a conflict between science and religion; they, therefore, opposed science. The result of this was that a contemporary force, which could have been put to the use of religion, became religion’s rival from the very outset.