I was brought up in your typical “Protestant” Christian family. Although we weren’t strictly religious we still went to church on Christmas and Easter and I did scripture studies all the way through primary school. I even ended going to Radford College here in Canberra, which is Anglican but I don’t think my parents really cared as long as the basis was Christian. I didn’t last long there and I’ll tell you why.
It’s around that time in a boy’s life when he starts to question the world around him. I became increasingly disdainful towards my parents and of course started the usual teenage rebellion. Although this started with just plain disobedience there was one significant turning point that I still remember very clearly to this day.
Sitting in Science class my teacher proclaimed that science and religion didn’t disagree with each other. Whilst at the time I found this to be confusing (and did outright disagree with it) the notion did send me down a path of self discovery. I found the more I read into the teachings of the bible the more I didn’t believe in it as faith. When it came time to do this like my confirmation I couldn’t go through with it, because there was always a nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I didn’t agree with this practice.
However, now being many years wiser I can see where my science teacher back then was going. Science is the how and when of what happened. Religion is the why. Now science can’t explain why we came into existence, that’s not the point of scientific study. On the other side, religion has a tough time describing how we came into existence without falling back on scripture. It is this distinction that I fail to see from many hard core Atheists like Richard Dawkins, who seems more content to show the baseless nature of faith instead of seeing its application as an explanation of that which can not (currently) be explained by science.
The reason behaviour irks me is that science and religion are constantly fooling around with each other and they’re not doing each other any good. It’s like a classic destructive relationship were both partners blame each other for their misery yet neither one of them is willing to break it off. The problem is that both of them have a tendency to bring out the holy crusader hiding in everyone, ensuring that both sides of the debate have defenders who go to any lengths to disprove their opponent.
So what can be done about this? I personally believe that religion has no place in real world matters, and as such should be separated. This is the classic separation of Church and the State, which appears to have a blurred distinction of late. It seems more and more that religion plays a big part in international affairs and this is what concerns me. Areas of great scientific research, such as cloning and stem cell research, have hit major roadblocks due to people’s beliefs. Now this is where religion should keep out. Sure, I believe that religion can and should weigh in on the ethics side of things but after that, they should step back. Any block on science that comes directly from religious teachings is in my view unacceptable.
My solution to this problem? I don’t think I could say it any better than the Simpsons did in the episode “Lisa the Skeptic”:
Judge Snider: Lisa Simpson, you are charged with destruction of an historic curiosity. A mis-demener. By the larger sum, this trial will settle the age old question of Science vs. Religion. Let the opening statements commence. Religion Lawyer: Your honour over the coming weeks and months we will prove that Lisa Simpson willingly destroyed... [Lisa notices the angel on a nearby grassy hill through a window] Lenny: There's the angle! [they all run out to see the angel] Judge Snider: I find the defendant not guilty. As for science vs. religion I'm issuing a refraining order. Science should stay 500 yards from religion at all times.
That’s right you two, stay away from each other.