Academic journal article Review of European Studies

The Perception on the Relation between Religion and Science: A Cross Culture Study in the Malaysian Society

Academic journal article Review of European Studies

The Perception on the Relation between Religion and Science: A Cross Culture Study in the Malaysian Society

Article excerpt

Abstract

The study reports a research which was conducted on 640 respondents of Malaysian society to know their perception on the relation between science and religion. The study was conducted throughout the country of Malaysia involving male and female respondents from the age of 20 to 50 years from various ethnics and religious backgrounds. The study was conducted by using the questionnaire method in which the respondents were asked to respond to given statements on the relation between science and religion and the importance of religion and science for human being. The booklets of questionnaire were collected to be analysed using the SPSS to obtain the mean response according to the ethnic, religious and academic background. T-test were also conducted if the means responses were significantly different. The findings of the study show that generally the respondents accept that science leads people closer to god. The mean response between the different ethnic group's means was also significant. Moreover, the finding also shows that the respondent accept the importance of religion and science for the well being of the people.

Keywords: science, religion, Malaysia, perception

1. Introduction

Science has played an important role in shaping the human society since the beginning of human civilisation. The development of scientific knowledge progresses from the time of the ancient Greek until today and it had made great achievements in the last 400 years by expanding human understanding of the world and nature as well as creating a lot of technological inventions which has never been achieved by any civilisation before (Moravcsick, 1988). However, science has also led to human miseries when it is used as a mean of causing maximum destruction in warfare such as the creation of the atomic bomb, chemical bomb, biological warfare and also as a mean of wealth accumulation by the capitalists' world where science is used to maximise the exploitation of the resources leading to rapid depletion of the natural resources, pollution and the global warming (Garaudy, 1982).

One of the importance consequences of science is the weakening of religious belief in the western society. Science which is based on logic is considered to be opposed to religious belief, and such as science progresses religious belief weakened. This belief is considered to be widespread in the developed world such as the Western Europe, the North America, New Zealand and Australia. A society which regards science as oppose to religion will either abandon religion or abandon science because they are considered to be mutually exclusive (Faruqi, 1992).

In the contact of the Muslim society in Malaysia, science had been regarded as such decades ago but now the idea of dichotomy between science and religion has been gradually discarded. The science curriculum which was used in the Malaysian secondary schools until 1974, was heavily influenced by the British curriculum included the evolutionary theory which claimed that living organism originated from simple single cell, and gradually evolved into complex organisms, and human being evolved from apes. The idea that human beings evolved from apes are rejected by the majority of Muslims and that was one of the reasons why science was considered to be opposed to religion. Any society which rejects science will not be able to achieve, while those who reject religion and opt for atheism will lose the important foundation of ethic and morality and ultimately face the consequence of moral degradation. The study is thus considered to be important in order to fathom how deep the perception on the relation between science and religion and to take necessary steps to correct the perception if it is proven that the people do have the perception that science is opposed to religion.

2. Previous Works on Science and Religion

There are many works on the relation between science and religions. Some regard science and religion are locked at a mortal combat and the battle will rage until one or the other is decimated. …

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