Controversy between Science and Religion

Is it possible for a person to be both religious and accept science at the same time?  The debate between science and religion has occurred for centuries.  Ever since the Classical antiquity, these two different views of acquiring knowledge have been a hot topic with many different views and opinions.  Science generally acquires knowledge by using reason, empiricism, and evidence, whereas religion relies on revelation, faith, and belief in the unseen.  In The Eye of Allah, the Abbot’s faith is tested when he discovers pathogens under a microscope.  He finds himself in a situation where science interrupts his life and causes him to pick whether he wants to keep his faith or turn to science and reason.

In early 1200s AD, religion dominated life.  Religion was the main answer to why things happened because technology had not evolved yet, but mainly because scientific reasoning was not conventional.  The conflict between church and science was created because scientific thoughts were sins and were not accepted in society.  The church often ruthlessly persecuted many scientists or people who spoke out against the church, causing narrow-mindedness.

Rudyard Kipling in The Eye of Allah introduces science in a time when society is not ready for it.  When the Abbot is faced with the challenge of keeping the microscope or destroying it, he says, “’it would seem’, he said, ‘the choice lies between two sins.  To deny the world a Light which is under our hand, or to enlighten the world before her time” (170).  It is true that the Abbot does not know what to do, but in the end he chooses to pick his religion over science.  The reason is unknown, but it can be assumed that he wanted to censor the world from this new technology or simply because he wanted to save his position in religion.  In the end, was he right to choose religion over science?  Was the Abbot really helping society?  And is it indeed possible to believe in both religion and science?

7 thoughts on “Controversy between Science and Religion”

  1. To answer the question at the end I’d like to draw on the comic you posted. In my mind the main difference between science and religion is that you can see science right before your eyes, and you can’t see religion. That’s why we are forced to draw conclusions about religion from the results we see, not the other way around. I don’t think we can be true believers of both, because if you believe in science then there is clear evidence for what you are told about, but try and apply the same concept to religion and it ends up looking phony because religious ideas lacks the evidence that science presents. I wonder if at any point the Abbot realized this crucial difference, especially when he looked through the microscope, and if it influenced his decision to destroy it?

  2. I disagree. Although there are aspects of Science that indeed force one to question some instances of religion, I’m not sure that you can always see science right before your eyes. Obviously just as the Abbot saw pathogens under the microscope, we can as well; however, I for one have never actually seen gravity. Yet, we adopt the the concept as law. From my religious background I would define faith as the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Nonetheless, it seems as though this same faith is sometimes apparent in science. I feel as though Emma does raise a really good point upon observing that perhaps the Abbot doe snot realize the crucial difference between what is religious and what is scientific. Regardless of, I find it important to consider the fact that the Abbot does realize the “sin” in whichever of the two choices he chooses. That being established I think we have to answer the questions a little differently. In the end I think the Abbot knew that it was not the “right” thing to do to choose religion over science, but based on the circumstance, he made good decision where no decision would have been absolutely right.

  3. I am going to have to disagree with Emma here on her point that religion and science are mutually irreconcilable. I was raised in a religious household and continue to practice my religion, and I have always been able to connect my faith with my science textbooks. I think that the Abbot was trying to do what was right by religion, even if it destroyed science, but it is possible to say that Abbot did wrong by both religion and science. Clearly, what was seen under the microscope was a major scientific discover, but it can still be believed in without giving up on one’s religion. I believe (and I’m not saying that if you disagree with me that you’re wrong or a bad person; this is just the way I see things) that all scientific discoveries are meant, by God, to be discovered. I believe that God made the scientific discovery the Abbot destroyed possible, and that the Abbot could have easily allowed the discovery to stand without appearing to lose his belief in God.

  4. The argument of religion versus science has always been present in our society and is always difficult to argue or come to any sort of consensus. I am pretty indifferent regarding which side I choose. I was raised in a Catholic household so I understand religion as it was taught to me but I also was taught science, including the theory of evolution in school. It is tough to side with one side, the way that I have looked at it all my life is that I can believe in both. In “The Eye of Allah” I believe that there was no right choice for the Abbot to make. He may speed up the knowledge of society by not destroying the microscope but he would be going against his beliefs if he didn’t. He was after all a monk whose duty was to write religious manuscripts. The Abbot is not at all helping society by his actions. In fact he could even be slowing down the progression of society. The Abbot chose to censor the world from what he saw under the microscope, it is hard to determine if the Abbot believes that this was the right thing to do but he had to do something and at that point he chose his faith.

  5. I agree with Meaghan; I also think it is possible to engage in both religion and science. However, as you learn more about science, it could cause you to question religion in a more scientific manage. This does not have to destroy religion, though. You can still find a way to look at them that makes both possible. In my opinion, the Abbot hurt society as a whole by destroying the microscope. They were technically unharmed by his decision, but technology and knowledge could have progressed much sooner with the existence of the microscope. As I see it, in not helping society, the Abbot did them wrong. Nonetheless, it was not easy for him to determine the right thing to do, and his faith was just more important to him than scientific knowledge,

  6. I also agree with Meagan and Lindsay. People can believe in both science and in religion however the more we learn about science, the more we question our religious beliefs. It is hard to believe a story from the past over strict evidence of evolution or other scientific knowledge. I also agree that I think the Abbot hurt society by destroying the microscope because this technology could have helped society greatly and make them able to progress. He picked religion over science, but this microscope doesn’t effect any religious beliefs.

  7. When the issue of religion and science arises, many people have different beliefs. Personally, I agree with others in the class that people can believe in both. Although religion questions science and science questions religion, it is possible to find a happy medium where people can have both in their life. In the end, I think that Abbot was not helping society because he prevented them from learning. Learning is a fundamental aspect of life and with every new day, society must accept the new ideas and findings. I think it was a mistake for the Eye of Allah to be destroyed because it was a powerful tool that more people should have had the choice of whether they wanted to use it or not. Despite the fact that choosing religion over science was bad here, it could be different in a separate situation.

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