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Science and Religion

These comments have been moved from the Brian Cox talk. Please continue the conversation here. Thanks!

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  • Jan 29 2013: Religion and science cannot coexist. One contradicts the other. Science is the eternal search of truth and the questioning of our surroundings and religion is the end of that search, the end of questioning, the blind faith, the dogma. I see how many religions have tried to own the definition of God and morality, forgetting that the concept of God is much, much bigger than us.

    I believe in God but that is my personal experience. Science has giving me more than evidence to believe in God; and history has giving me very, very good examples of what is morally right and wrong. But I understand how science hasn’t provided enough evidence to some people to believe in the existence of God and how some people don’t need evidence at all and believe blindly in the existence of God. For me, if it were from the definitions and attributes that some religions give to God, I would be an atheist.

    I would replace religion with philosophy, which go hand in hand with science, has a rigorous methodology to find answer using your own brain, great collection of wonderful authors throughout the history of humanity and give room and space to evolve. But that is just my humble opinion. Hugs!
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      Jan 29 2013: You might be interested in reading through this TED conversation we had a while back....and also in Clifford Stoll's talk which I mention in the thread.

      http://www.ted.com/conversations/8276/religion_or_science.html
      • Jan 30 2013: Thank you very much Mary. I'll check both.
    • Jan 30 2013: Interesting point. I would correct you and say, "Science and false religion cannot coexist." All religions are not the same. For example, I am a member of a highly organized church and I have no problem with science. My whole family are scientists, actually. My church encourages questioning. It discourages blind faith. I wouldn't say it's a scientific institution, because it's not, but it is a logical one. Yes, we claim to have pretty much all the answers that matter, but each person is encouraged to confirm the truth of those answers on their own. The scientific method is one way of knowing truth, the other is spiritual communication with God. Both have their limitations. The scientific method will never tell you why humans exist. It can tell you how, but not why. God can tell you why, but He usually doesn't go into a detailed explanation of biology.
      • Jan 31 2013: Hello Scot! Your point is very interesting as well. Based on what you'r saying, I am under the impression that your religion is perhaps a pseudo-religion giving the first steps to a beyond-religion more mature way of thinking. I just don't know a single traditional-religion without their own recipes of answers already prepared, without a methodology nor logical explanation of how they arrived to those answers.

        I will not argue that the moral values of most religions are almost identical in terms of how to be good to our neighbors but I really haven’t seen anything in religion that philosophy doesn’t give me. I think philosophy is more superior because it doesn’t hide the historical content and allow the evolution of thought and the differences of opinion.

        Don’t get me wrong, I read and find fascinating - and sometimes inspiring - all religious books. I don't have a single problem with religion. I understand some people need pre-cooked answers and a reference to the existential and ontological questions. But I’m just fine with adopting a hypothesis of life, let science prove me I’m wrong and/or give the most humane, humble and perhaps honest answer: “We don’t know.”

        Now, something I don’t agree with you is that you put side by side the scientific method and spiritual communication as two different but equivalent ways to find the truth. I would strongly recommend to put any “truth” that you get from a spiritual communication through the most rigorous and serious scientific method before you even consider it as an hypothesis or potential truth.

        My opinion is that “the why” of your existence is something very individual and that you have to meditate with God. "The why" the human biological race exist is something beyond traditional-religion and science and I will accept a “I don’t know” as an answer for now. I adopted a hypothesis about "the why" of the existence of the human race and it satisfy my intellect but I accept the fact that it can be wrong.
        • Jan 31 2013: I don't really know what a psuedo-religion is, but I'm pretty sure my church isn't one. I'm a Mormon, and we're known for being about as religiously religious as you can get. The thing is, if you start with a couple ground assumptions, all the teachings of our church logically follow from there. Literally, I've been studying the gospel for years and I have yet to find any holes. It's all down to whether the basic assumptions are true. Truth is truth, reality is reality regardless of what we think. Science is one way of knowing truth. God telling you is the other. God usually doesn't tell you things you can find out on your own because He wants your growth. The whole point of revelation is that you can't test it by the scientific method. If you could, you wouldn't need it. I mean, can you come up with an experiment or methodology that would prove or disprove the existence of a spiritual experience? It can't be done. I'm a member of my church because God told me that those ground assumptions are true. That was my personal experience, just like you.
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      Jan 31 2013: Alex,
      I like Scot's answer, but I would like to add to it. Science and religion contradict each other because of what we currently believe in both. Strip the misconceptions away and the contradictions fall apart.

      The Catholic church has a strong influence in what Christianity is. You say that based on the definition of God that you could be considered an atheist. I once found myself in that category. Having been raised in the Catholic church, what I believed was biased by what I was taught.

      I had a personal experience when I was nine while meditating on God. It wasn't in agreement with the church's definition of God. When I started seeing the same principles being explained regarding quantum physics, I realized that I had to alter my own conception of what God was. Since then I have researched other religions to see how they related. What I discovered is that current religion is a "he said, she said" sort of hand-me-down approach to religion. I found explanations to what Christianity teaches in many different sources including Eastern philosophy and mysticism, mythology, and spirituality.

      Spiritual experience is what led to religion, religion initially having been developed to help others achieve spiritual experience. Without spiritual experience, religion is blind. Jesus said I go to the father so that the Holy Spirit may come and teach you all things. Many people believe in the Holy Spirit, but most have never personally encountered it.

      Throughout the ages, "Top male psychology" has driven many a leader to exploit, manipulate, and even twist religion to persuade followers to a certain way of thinking. Without belief, you won't achieve spiritual experience. And yet, without spiritual experience, you can't see through the clouds of deception, you will only see what others want you to see.

      One day, science and religion will coexist.
      • Jan 31 2013: I know right? Without the Holy Spirit, faith is nothing. If you can't communicate with God personally, what's the point in believing?
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          Jan 31 2013: Scot,
          That is what I have discovered as the root of all religions, to be able to communicate with a higher power. Christianity calls it the Holy Spirit. Others call it cosmic consciousness. Einstein called it a cosmic religious feeling. Moses called it "I AM". Eastern philosophy calls it spiritual awakening. Buddhists and Hindus call it enlightenment. It all means the same thing in different terms. Spiritual experience takes you beyond belief into a realm of awareness that only the experiencers can identify with. Without such experience, skeptics argue that there is no proof. Thought cannot be observed by another, nor can one prove such a thing other than in personal testimony.

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