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OUR TWO SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE: SCIENCE VERSUS RELIGION

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Sir,

We are made to believe that we all rely on two sources for knowledge. Science and religion are the bases of our claims for knowing. This suggests that anything that has fallen into our minds comes from these sources.
When we reason or when someone says ‘use your common sense’, it is meant that you utilise the data in your mind whose source is either science or religion or both.

In philosophy it is said there are two views or beliefs about how life works and these have been said to be opposing each other. These originated with the ancient Greeks. One is from Democritus (560 – 370 BC) who believed in ‘what you see is what you get’.

Belief

This is the belief in materialism, that is, everything that exists is physical, and the smallest building block in the universe is the atom. The other view came later from Socrates (400BC), who believed that everything is dual, that is, there’s a spiritual world (the form or soul) and a physical world in everything. This means the spiritual world (which is perfect) is prior and independent to the material world (a corrupt shadow of the spiritual world).

Science follows the view of Democritus on the material world of observable things. Science deals with Empiricism or empirical data or sense experience. The world of the senses is what you hear, tough, smell and see.
In the main, the proponents of science lived around the 1600s and 1700s and are Rene Descartes, Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton. Thus it is believed that science is about 500 years old.

Church

Socrates’ spiritual world is one of the church or religion, which suggests that mankind is temporarily in the physical world and, therefore, works and aspires for the ultimate eternal spiritual world. Religion is founded on belief or faith, some evidence of things not seen, but are somewhat believed to be true. Whereas science has to do with believe after observing.

In spirituality or religion, you believe first and then the evidence would come later. You don’t first have a space travel and get to heaven before you can believe heaven is really there. Nor do you go back in time, 2000 years ago and see Jesus in his majesty and power before you can believe in him and believe him.

These two views are evident in medical science. Some doctors see only the physical body of the patient and his sickness is viewed to originate in some disease in the physical body and nothing else. On the other hand, some practitioners are of the Socrates view, that the patient has both the spiritual and the physical being.

View

These are of the view that man is dual and often that correcting something of man’s spiritual part would automatically heal the physical; correcting something about the man’s mind you correct his physical ailment. This is marriage of both the spiritual and the physical.

Our courts of law are scientific in their approach too. You don’t come before a judge and lay down your case and then say to him or her; “Just believe or have faith that that is what happened to me, and, therefore, rule in my favour.” You must present tangible evidence before you can be believed on your case. It has been said the marriage between religion and science is better than either of the two alone.

Albert Eistein said: “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” We need both for a fuller explanation or understanding of the world we live in.

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