Science Vs. Spirituality: Set the Differences Aside Alexandra Findleton 1039631 Science & Spirit Mrs. Karen Kaderavek October 31st 2011 CEGEP John Abbott College Science Vs. Spirituality: Set the Differences Aside Philosophical questions about life have been around since the very beginning of humanity. From times as early as the first civilisations until today’s recent societies, humans all over the globe have always wanted to know more about why and how we exist. For many, life can be meaningless without answers to these questions.
Up until very recently, religions have provided very promising explanations about our existence for the vast majority of people around the world. However, with all the major scientific discoveries that everyone is exposed to nowadays, a growing number of people have shifted their understanding of life from a spiritual point of view to a more scientific point of view. Science, today, provides an alternative explanation to the philosophical questions about life. So which approach provides the true explanation?
Is there a God somewhere up in the heavens acting upon humans or are humans the product of an extensive and complex evolutionary process? The debate is currently ongoing, because neither scientists nor spiritualists have certainly proved or disproved God. And, until a definite proof is revealed, there will always be conflict between science and spirituality. How will humanity progress this way? In order for humanity to progress as one, atheists and spiritualists must communicate empathetically towards one another.
These opposing viewpoints must learn to coexists and work hand in hand rather than create conflict and argue indefinitely. The most common error that members of the scientific community and the spiritual community make is ignoring “the amount of civil disobedience on both sides” of the debate. Fundamentalists as well as staunch atheists seem to have hard-wired thoughts about each other and their own ideas to the extent that they don’t listen to each other at all. Lack of communication between these two opposing extremes is causing humanity to fall apart into two separate categories: the materialists and the spiritualists.
It is so important for both ideologies to realize that they must never act from their first brains because “ […] when [they] act from [their] first brain[s], [they] react from instinct alone with no thought given to the consequences” of what they say, leading to insulting and disrespectful words being said back and forth. This creates nothing but conflict since neither side will be convinced of the other until a true proof or disproof of God emerges. However, until this proof or disproof arises, these opposing groups should at least listen to each other and consider the world we now live in; a world of diverse beliefs.
Religions, on their part, must adapt to the current needs of society as they are changing now more than ever. The idea that “invisible spirits [are] acting as agents for events around [us], including the animation of living things such as [ourselves] […] was perfectly reasonable during the childhood of humanity,” but in a developing world, such as the one we all share today, there is need for adjustments concerning this idea. Above all, mainstream scientific facts should not be denied. Also, since many people now count on spirituality and religion to shed hope on larger issues in the world.
Religions have to “address problems like conflict resolution; they have to address the environment, ecology, […] economic disparities, […] social justice. If they don’t do that, they are not relevant. ” Spending time scolding others or creating wars over differences in belief should not be a practice of any religion in the 21st century, let alone at any time in history. Instead, all the efforts invested in such atrocities should be spent more wisely in beneficial ways to support collectivity around the globe.
It is so important that religions “create an atmosphere and an environment where by people can generate compassion, mushy, love, humility, selflessness. ” In communicating and acting more effectively in these ways, religion and science may eventually come together and unite to better serve humanity on a long-term scale. As for atheists and the scientific community, they must understand that it is okay for people to have spiritual beliefs and interpretations about the aspects of life which have not been accurately proved by science. What does it matter if people believe that “[God’s] existence and his on-existence are equiprobable? ” Even if they aren’t equiprobable, it doesn’t mean that the option with lesser probability is impossible. After all, from a scientific point of view, “beliefs are based on four key components – perceptions, emotions, cognitions, and social interactions […],” and these four components can differ largely from one person to another. So it is no surprise that humanity is divided into two subgroups. Until they can truly prove or disprove God, atheists shouldn’t ridicule the spiritualists as they don’t even know for certain whether or not they themselves are right.
This will still leave a barrier within humanity between science and spirituality, but at least this allows for better communication. In turn, this may encourage these two opposites to learn from one another. Not only may this lead to less conflict, but also to more discoveries. In fact, many years ago, Copernicus, a Renaissance astronomer, used knowledge from Islamists to propose a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology. Today, the same model is accepted worldwide and has been proved over and over again.
It is said that “it was Islam that paved the way for one of the greatest upheavals in the history of science” which directly demonstrates how science and spirituality may actually complement each other and work hand in hand even though they remain strongly influenced by their different understandings of life. Perhaps humanity will always have a mix of spiritualists and materialists until the existence of God has been definitely proved or disproved, but that does not mean that humanity must progress as 2 different units in the meantime.
On the contrary, if these opposing groups communicate in a civilized and empathetic manner, they may eventually allow for an even better progression of humanity. If either side inputs their best efforts then perhaps one day a God-based science putting “ethics and values […] at the center of our lives and societies” may develop or, similarly, a science-based God might arise allowing for the best of both worlds. Who knows what may occur since “today, in this first decade of the twenty-first century, science and spirituality have the potential to be closer than ever […]. ” One thing that is certain is that “The new millennium is full of hope. 1 145 words ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Wright, A Grand Bargain Over Evolution [ 2 ]. The Inside Story, p. 9 [ 3 ]. Stenger, p. 78 [ 4 ]. Chopra, http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=UgYbR8HgKnI, (2:51) [ 5 ]. Singh, http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=-uZeDz_ZKEA, (6:00) [ 6 ]. Dawkins, The God Delusion, p. 74 [ 7 ]. Newberg, Why do we believe what we believe? [ 8 ]. Al-Khalili, http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=3LjdnKE_i9E (1:40) [ 9 ]. Goswami, Preface [ 10 ]. Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism & Modern Physics, p. 26 [ 11 ]. Singh, http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=-uZeDz_ZKEA, (6:46)