Religion was there first important movement that shaped the destinies of humanity and was the monarch of all it surveyed, and there was none to dispute its right.
It was the first force of humanity and civilization. In the heart of man, religion was enthroned. Religion is faith in God, and the practices man observes, the thoughts and ideas he nurses in his heart from such a faith.
Science is the latest force upon which the destinies of humanity and civilization depend. Science lifts up the veil of nature and peeps into the mysteries of the universe. In the absence of scientific knowledge, religion degenerated into superstition, into a blind faith in mysterious things.
Region and science were at logger with each other at the dawn of the modern age. Though the scope of science and that of religion are different yet in the realm of thought, one reacts upon the traverses the region of the other. The antagonism between two intensified as science advanced and challenged some false notions of religion. When the ideas of these scientists spread, the disintegration of religious superstition began. But not without war and bloodshed did region yield its sacred grounds.
In the 19th century, science monopolized the entire field of knowledge. The people were convinced that the spheres of both were highly distinct though highly complementary. Science meets the physical demands of man; religion meets the spiritual demands of the human soul.
Religion dominated the lives of men and life was fraught with fears of all kinds and is the case today. Religion claimed to cover all these fears of life through faith in God. The will of the man of religion was considered to be charged with the might of God through unshakable faith and so it was supposed he could do whatever he liked to fulfill his desires by just willing them. The history of fight between champions of the Church and devotees of science is a painful reading.
Under the influence of church, the State demanded the heads of the scientists who dared to defy the Biblical theories, on a charger. In the name of religion a ruthless persecution was carried out, but in vain. Galileo was imprisoned by the Italians for upholding the scientific conception of the measurement of heavenly bodies.
In the annals of religion, great miracles are attributed to the religious leaders of the world. In the heyday of religion, miracles were mongering was abroad. The power of performing miracles for good and for ill was the sole mark of religious excellence, so is today. It is said that the Christ raised the dead. It is also said that he walked over the waves. The miracles of the Indian Saints and Avatars are too well known to be mentioned.
It is very difficult to say anything conclusive about the ultimate nature of miracles. Perhaps there are super-physical and super-mental laws of nature which have an exact science behind them. But until science is able to know those laws it is impossible to pronounce any verdict upon them.
With the progress of science, the people were bewildered at its dazzling achievements and the advance of secular knowledge was greatly impeded. With the establishment of man’s mastery over the forces of nature, and with the spread of scientific methods of inquiry,, an impression gained ground that there was no God, no Heaven, and no life after death. The champions of religion felt disconcerted. This logic about miracles was no beguiling to the minds of people that they paid any attention to the book of nature that is always open before us.
From the heart of man, the warmth of faith has disappeared and what remains only is a bundle of lifeless forms.’ Religion not only crushed the freedom of thoughts and speech, the liberty to enquire and to know, in a word, the liberty to satisfy intellectual curiosity, it sought to crush in a ruthless manner domestic and political liberty as well.
Religion exists in ideal theory for the life divine but never made attempt to make life convenient and comfortable physically. It disciplines life. It fills the world with the wars of religion, and every kind of hypocrisy and cheated men of their morals and money.
Science deals with concrete facts, religion with unknown entities. Religion stands on intuition, a mystic process, bringing to man light from the unknown. Science stands on reason which comes afterward to see what profits it can make a cut of the harvest. The scientific method essentially implies a dispassionate study of the facts and events of the world in order to discover laws which can be used for harnessing nature to the service of man. Science has never fought true religion but only mythology, orthodoxy, and religions’ fanaticism.
Science has only rationalized, systematized it and has brought back the mind of the skeptic within its fold. It has therefore come not to destroy religion, but to fulfill it. The scientific method became a craze with the modern men of knowledge and they applied it to all the facets of knowledge and life. Its application to knowledge has given us a correct reading of the book of nature. It has purified and purged religion in the light of absolute truth.
It is easy to see that science and religion are interwoven at the top. The discoveries of science prove how mysterious the mysteries of the universe are, how mighty the Almighty is. Religion is the only cure for the ills of heart and soul if we boil the matter down to its most extreme simplicity, religion is an affirmation, and science is an exploration. Therefore science should not contradict or even defy religion, religion embraces science itself.