Religion and Science Misunderstanding

  1. Lemma
  2. Nerazumevanje religije i nauke
  3. Serbian
  4. Stevanovic, Aleksandra
  5. Modes of interaction
  6. 7-10-2016
  7. Susnjic, Djuro [Author]. Religion II. 259–271, Religion and Science: Collection of Superfluous Outrages
  8. Religion II - Belgrade: Čigoja štampa, 1998.
    1. Susnjic, Djuro
  9. Methodological issues
    1. The paper considers the issue and necessity of science–religion dialogue based on the fact that there are rational dimensions in both science and religion, that is, their ideas and beliefs.  Firstly, the author considers the essence of science and poses certain questions focusing on religion, exploring why people believe if religious views are scientifically not true, and why huge number of great scientists have found no obstacles between science and religion if it is true that faith clashes with reason. The author finds these issues important to consider and further on, provides answers that point out the lack of power of science in the attempt to criticize religion.

      The conflict between science and religion throughout history, according to the author, represents nothing but misunderstanding. If religion was just a deception, it would be impossible to have lasted for such a long time – that way, man would be the deception himself. If religion is not true, is there, according to science, any other meaning? At this point the author states that conditions that have to be met for a statement to be scientifically true differ from the conditions that a statement has to satisfy so as to be regarded as meaningful. Theological statements do not have to be scientifically true, but they must have meaning; therefore, the distinction between scientific and theological statements should not be reduced to the meaningfulness–meaninglessness distinction. Science perceives religion in its language, that is, rational concepts. In the sense in which religious content is not rational, science, accordingly, does not understand. Whatever it does not understand in its concepts, science perceives as illusions.

      However, it has to be acknowledged that some problems are solved by reason (technical), whereas, some are solved by faith (life meaning); hence, man is simultaneously logical and theological. In other words, faith and reason are the two powers of one soul. Faith is, according to the author, not against, but above reason. The fact that great number of scientists has been religious serves as a solid proof that religion is possible in rational society as well. This confirms the thought of the famous physicist Heisenberg, who said that “human societies can live despite the sharp difference between science and religion”. However, the author acknowledges that although many great scientists have believed in God, it can be noticed that scientists are generally less prone to faith and religion. The general conclusion is that as long as religion can be perceived by senses, it is possible to consider it in scientific concepts, but as long as there are extrasensory layers and it is inner (mystical) experience, not observable, it cannot be considered scientifically, but in another sense. In other words, if religion is based on non-rational experience, rational critique of it is not possible. 

      The author again accentuates that there are two distinct, but not antagonistic paths. Between them, there would be less intellectual dissents and clashes if they have, firstly, presented their views, and then noticed the possibilities and limits of them  through dialogue. That way, both sides would have noticed that clashes appears when one of them decides to transcend its limits. In conclusion, the science–religion conflict is nothing but a stance ungrounded. Furthermore, religion may be of interest to science for it opens new questions, posing challenge to scientific mind. Therefore, the author presents how important both of them are in human life and how tolerance should be given way.