Science vs. Religion: The Search for a Rational Approach

Science vs. Religion: The Search for a Rational Approach

Science vs. Religion: The Search for a Rational Approach

Science vs. Religion: The Search for a Rational Approach

Synopsis

Most people look to religion and science (faith and reason) for an explanation of "everything that is," but neither the scientific nor the religious system can actually provide all the answers to life's questions. Is that really what we're looking for?The author examines both science and religion in some detail and from a variety of standpoints. A life-long educator, he indicates many avenues for further reading, so that no one has to simply accept whatever his family or community traditions may have proposed. One sticking point in most discussions of religion vs. science is that few of us really have enough information about both positions - and the myriad hybrid beliefs in between - in order to make a proper evaluation. As a professor of medicine and an avid investigator of these questions, Dr. Guido Perez offers some background and guidance. the author explores the basics of theism and today's largest religions, and gives a solid grounding in the facts and theoretical basis for evolution and the scientific approach to knowledge. He then explores a possible place to stand in, both morally and intellectually grounded, while we puzzle out our existence: a rational belief system that accounts for what we can account for, while recognizing those mysteries and existential questions we humans just can't seem to stop asking. Dr. Perez proposes a rational belief system grounded in natural science and humanism, an approach where morality comes naturally - not because we fear divine punishment but because we inherently understand what is good for humanity.

Excerpt

Most people look to both science and religion to understand the nature of reality. They tend to entertain a mixture of views of the natural world when it comes to the origin and evolution of life and the universe and the emergence of mind and culture. Science embraces the naturalistic worldview, the view that nothing exists outside the natural world. But not all naturalists are atheists; some are agnostic or adopt a moderate version of naturalism referred to as methodological naturalism. By contrast, the major religions postulate the existence of a divine being that created everything that exists and interacts with his creation. This worldview, based on belief in the supernatural, says that beyond the natural world there is a spiritual reality that is not bound by physical laws. Not all who believe this are theists; some, like deists or pantheists, are nontheists (terms that we’ll look into later).

The views of science and religion are very important in the lives of most people because they give them a sense that they understand the world and provide answers to many existential problems. Unfortunately, the debate between religion and science is becoming more acerbic each day. This book endeavors to engage in a civil and rational discussion of these important subjects.

Critics of religious fundamentalism blame institutional religion for many problems in the world. While it is true that much intolerance and violence has been fueled by religious differences, religion doesn’t have a monopoly on evil actions. At the same time, religious institutions have sponsored artistic creations that enrich our culture and have provided assistance to the poor and the sick. Religious believers also may reject atheism out of fear that it could lead to moral nihilism; however, morality associated with divine commands sometimes breeds moral chaos.

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