Science at the Door of Religion

Sir Fred Hoyle, a distinguished contemporary scientist, has written a 250-page book, The Intelligent Universe, in which he has shown that modern scientific studies of the universe have, surprisingly, contra¬dicted the trend of thought which dominated people’s minds in the 19th century. The universe had come to be considered a blind interplay of unconscious matter, but research conducted in various departments of science in the latter half of the 20th century explicitly demonstrates that the universe is not simply a material thing. It is, rather, an ‘Intelli¬gent Universe.’ Far from there being a mere blind interplay of chemi¬cal forces, intelligence seems to be at work everywhere. The writer then goes on to identify the reason for this atheistic interpretation of the universe having held sway in spite of there being a “mountain of evidence” in support of a force outside of the earth at work. He writes: “This indeed is just what orthodox scientists are unwilling to admit. Because there might turn out to be – for want of a better word – religious connotations, and because orthodox scientists are more concerned with preventing a return to the religious excesses of the past than in looking forward to the truth, the nihilistic outlook described above has dominated scientific thought throughout the century” (p.9.). The truth is that, in the modern age, the study of nature has led man right up to the door of religion. But modern man, who has been brought up in the traditions of the Bible, hesitates to walk through that door, because of the baneful course which religious history took. The very concept of ‘religion’ recalls painful memories of the severity of 16th and 17th century persecutions. It was the time when Europe was on the threshold of science as we now understand it, and the Christian religion with all its might and power arose to suppress it. Modern man equates the idea of religion with Christianity and Christianity, based as it is upon a set of irrational beliefs, can be no match for science. Later, in The Intelligent Universe, Sir Fred Hoyle writes that “Conservative religious thinking during the eighteenth century had compressed the whole history of the Earth into a biblical time-scale of only a few thousand years. The first clear perception of the enormity of this error, which weighed heavily, and still weighs heavily, against the religious fundamentalists, is usually credited to James Hutton (1726-1779) the father of modern geology. From a lifetime spent in the observation of rocks and landforms, Hutton became convinced that every aspect of the Earth’s surface was produced in the past by just the same processes we see around us today, implying that millions of years would have been needed for hills and valleys to form. The great geolo¬gist Charles Lyell (1797-1875) repeated and extended Hutton’s obser¬vations in the field, and soon came to the conclusion that Hutton’s “Principle of Uniformity” as it became called, was indeed correct. Lyell’s Principles of Geology, the first volume of which appeared in 1930, was in a considerable measure responsible for the disappearance of the biblical time-scale from all serious discussion. Indeed, Lyell’s books were largely responsible for convincing the world at large that the Bible could be wrong, at any rate in some respects, a hitherto unthinkable thought” (p. 28-29). When the biblical version of the age of the earth and certain other scientifically verifiable matters had been proved unreliable, people became generally convinced that it must also be equally unreliable in matters of religion. Such thinking continued to gain ground until reli¬gion itself ultimately came to be considered unreliable and wrong. The truth is that it is a matter of the greatest urgency that Islam should be introduced to the world. It has been shown that the errors of Christianity were the result of wrong interpretations, bad translation or interpolation in biblical texts. Since the Quran is free from interpolation, it is free of all such errors. If Islam were to be brought before modern man in its real, pure form, there would be many who would welcome it, recognizing in it just what they had been waiting for all along, for it would meet every demand of their nature and their sciences. Where the Bible had led them away from religion, Islam will help them to come closer to it.