People have always said that scientists don’t believe in God, or aren’t Christians. So as a young boy from a Christian background that was aspiring to become a scientist, you can imagine my disappointment and the kind mental conflict this caused for me.
So if scientist didn’t believe in God, and I do believe in God, therefore I cannot be a scientist?!
In a way, this slowed down my enthusiasm to pursue science and technology as a scientist, but it did not quench my thirst because somehow I wanted to become a scientist in order to know and/or understand why this was a common or popular saying.
But in 2006 I took a class on General Studies that made me understand why this saying may have become popular. The thing is that science and religion are two subjects that are concerned about two different things. Let me explain.
Science is concerned about the physical world we live in, and tries to logically and physically explain everything physical. It is all about the physical. So in science we have theories, laws and principle. For instance, when light is diffracted through water droplets (acting as lenses) it results in of the phenomenon we know as Rainbow. This is the physical explanation of rainbows and this is why rainbows usually appear when it rains while it is sunny, simultaneously.
Since I learned this explanation, I always look out for a rainbow each time I see the sun while it is raining. However, I didn’t always know this explanation, because I remember back in my secondary school days we used to play around after doing our laundry. We would flap our wet laundry in the air to release water droplets and watch for the perfect rainbow that formed in the few seconds that the water was in the air. We had no idea why, but we would try on both sunny days and days that were not sunny and couldn’t explain why it worked “sometimes” and not all the time.
So there you have it… Science is all about the physical and finds logical and physical explanation for all things physical, tangible or perceivable.
Religion on the other hand, seems to be more concerned with things that are not physical but rather metaphysical, like God, the Holy Spirit and miracles. The “concept” of God is beyond our physical world and many find it have to prove that he does or does not exist. Miracles on the other hand, just remain unexplained by any means or form, and in some cases the are simply just incomprehensible. I’m not talking about things that lack proper explanation. I mean things that absolutely have no explanations whatsoever.
Here we see that religion is more about the metaphysical than of the physical, and even about the relationship between both.
The Perceived Conflict
What people see as a conflict between science and religion is this. Since science is about the physical, it cannot explain the metaphysical because it is simply outside the scope of science. Imagine it like the science world in one dimension while the metaphysical world is in another dimension. Like comparing 2-D with 4-D; the 2-D objects cannot comprehend or explain things that belong in the 3-D world.
So when it comes to “God”, science says “I have no comments because it is outside of my scope”. When someone says God made rainbows, science says “hey, I have an explanation for that” and then people take this to mean “no, God didn’t make rainbows, science did” or some variation of statement. However, this is certainly NOT correct or true, and may just be outright ignorant.
God is not a magician; God does not do magic
Yes, God did create you, and I, but it did not happen by magic in this physical world we live in. This is where science comes in to play, by trying to logically and physically explain how it happened, like the rainbow. In fact, science just confirms the magnificence of God’s work in creating this physical world we find ourselves.
Those that don’t believe in God do so for their own reasons and it certainly isn’t because they believe in science nor is it because they are scientists nor anything to do with science. There is no conflict between science and religion, and when you think about it, there never really was a conflict. They are just focused on different things.
I would like your opinion on this topic, so feel free to comment below.