Monday, September 28, 2009

Getting Scoped

It is often said that the question of God's existence cannot be tackled by both religion and science. I agree with this.

I also reject reject the idea that just because something exists within the realm of religion, it cannot looked at scientifically.

If these two positions seem to contradict each other, keep reading.

I also reject conventional organization methods, so allow me to start with the second point.

"Science and religion have nothing to do with each other, therefore that which is in the realm of religion cannot be addressed scientifically." We hear statements of this kind all the time, but instead of arguing the point have we stopped to think about the sheer lunacy of the proposition? Yes, religion is not science and vice versa, but how does this even begin to lead to the idea that the two are mutually exclusive? Would anyone agree that just because Gandhi was a religious figure he can not be a historical figure? Or that all of the religious music, paintings, sculptures, poetry, etc. cannot be looked at artistically? After all, religion and art are not one in the same.

This is not to say that everything that is religious is also scientific, or that everything in art is religious. We have to look at these things on an individual basis. In order to say that something lies outside the scope of science or anything else, we must first provide valid reasons for its exclusion. It is not enough to simply say that it belongs within the real of different area—clearly things can, and most things do, exist within many "realms."

Which brings us to the question of God's existence. Earlier I stated that I agree that this question is not within the scopes of both science and religion. So now I must offer my reasons. It's quite simple, really—religion assumes God's existence. The whole idea of faith is belief without (or often in spite of) evidence. There can be no question about God's existence in religion. Indeed it starts with the assertion. Not only is the question in many cases seen as blasphemous, it just doesn't make sense from a religious perspective. The moment you begin to examine the question, the whole foundation (faith) of the religious perspective being used is undermined.

So if God's existence is not a religious question, can it be a scientific question? It seems that the existence of anything at all falls directly under the scientific umbrella. Why should the existence of a god or gods be any different? Some might protest that God exists outside of nature and science can only be useful within nature. But what does it mean to be "outside" of nature? If it was found that something existed beyond what our current idea of "nature" is, wouldn't that state or existence have to then be considered natural also? Nature as it seems to me encompasses all that is reality.

Of course, much of the debate gets lost in the ambiguity of definitions and semantics, but this much is clear: science, so far, is the best and only tool we have in reasonably determining the existence of anything, and religion is certainly not in a position to ask the question, "Does God exist?"

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