Science and Religion - Realigion
Science is the study of the real world based on fact and truth. Religion is a particular system of faith and worship. Perhaps we could live our lives based on fact and truth. Religions provide a powerful structure by which we can live our lives, whether it be Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and many others. There are many questions that science can’t answer, such as when did time start? Fourteen billon years ago when our universe was born in the big bang? But what was there before that? When and how did time start, or is there a start? Will time end, or is there an end? What created all the matter in the universe? Matter is made of molecules, molecules of are made atoms, atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons, what are protons, neutrons and electron made of? What about energy in the universe, how did that happen, when did energy start? What will happen when all available energy is spent? What created space as in the space taken up by matter and all the vacuous space of the universe? These are questions that science cannot answer, and perhaps a place for a religion to answer with faith. What is good? What is evil? What is right? What is wrong? What are morals? What makes a good society? These are questions that that science may provide direction but may not be able to fully answer. To go one step further, for those questions that science can answer, perhaps science could be part of a religion. And for those questions that science can’t fully answer, faith and morality could be part of that religion. Let's call that Realigion.
Michael Shermer suggests the role of science in present times rather well in The Believing Brain:
Religious faith and belief in God have equally adaptive evolutionary explanations. Religion is a social institution that evolved to reinforce group cohesion and moral behavior. It is an integral mechanism of human behavior to encourage altruism, reciprocal altruism, and indirect altruism, and to reveal the level of commitment to cooperate and reciprocate among members of a social community. Believing in God provides and explanation of our universe, our world and ourselves; it explains where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. God is also the ultimate enforcer of the rules, the final arbiter of moral dilemmas, and the pinnacle object of commitment.
It is time to step out of our evolutionary heritage and our historical traditions and embrace science as the best tool ever devised for explaining how the world works. It is time to work together to create a social; and political world that embraces moral principles and yet allows for natural human diversity to flourish. Religion cannot get us there because it has no systematic methods of explanation of the natural world, and no means of conflict resolution when members of competing religions hold absolute beliefs that are mutually exclusive. Flawed as they may be, science and the secular enlightenment values expressed in western democracies are our best hope for survival.
To mention again as stated above, Science is the study and understanding of the real world based on fact and truth. But there are many questions that science cannot answer, and that is a place for religion to answer with faith. Perhaps for those questions that science can answer, science and scientific fact and truth could be incorporated into a religion, keeping intact those critical aspects of Religion as a social institution that provides group cohesion, moral behavior and raison d’etre. To go one step further, perhaps science and the understanding of the world based on fact and truth could be part of your raison d’etre, with those questions that cannot be fully answered by science answered within a particular faith or your own faith - your Realigion.
Realigion - an understanding of the real world based on scientific fact and truth, but believing in the existence of God to explain the unknowable with aspects of existing religion, or faith of one's own choice, or accepting the unknowable as God.
Perhaps God is truth, and for questions that science can’t answer, only God knows the Truth.
Here is a brief summary of Religion in the present world:
A particular Religion, as in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and various denominations, and many other religions, with science incorporated to differing degrees.
Realigion - an understanding of the real world based on scientific fact and truth, but believing in the existence of God to explain the unknowable - with aspects of existing religion, faith of one's own choice, or accepting the unknowable as such.
An Agnostic - a person who claims neither faith in God nor disbelief in God.
An Atheist – a person who does not believe in the existence of god, a person who believes there is no god.
The Believing Brain: Michael Shermer, 2011, St. Martin’s Press
Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind: Yuval Noah Harari, 2015, HarperCollins Publishers