Science and religion are two different aspects of life. Both have their own importance and value. History tells us that the two have always been in conflict in the beginning; religion was all important and reigned supreme in every spare of life. But gradually its place was taken by science. Today science is far more important than religion.
There are basic differences between the outlook of science and religion. The outlook of science is rational. Science believes in experiment and observation. It teaches its followers that nothing is to be believed until it has been proved to be true through experiment. Religion, on the other hand, is a matter of faith. It teaches its followers to believes and have faith in the teaching of religious teachers and the authority of religious books. Thus whatever is written in the ‘VEDAS’ or the ‘GITA’ is true, for it is the word of GOD himself. The existence of god cannot be proved but it can be felt by those who have faith. It is all a matter of faith and not of experiment or observation.
Scientific truths are tentative. Science believes that nothing is absolutely true. What is regarded as true today may be proved to be false the very next day by further experiments and observations. Thus, there was a time when the earth was supposed to be motionless and the sun was supposed to go round it. Gradually science proved that this was wrong and showed that it is the earth which goes round the sun. Similarly, Newton’s law of GRAVITATION held the day till Einstein came out with his superior theory of relativity. In this way, science advances towards truth as absolute. Whatever is written in religious books is regarded as absolutely true. Anyone who criticizes the teaching of religion is considered to be a heretic and is violently condemned. In the past, those who dared to question a religious truth were mercilessly persecuted and punished. The example of GALILEO readily comes to mind in this connection. In short, science is progressive and dynamic while religion are static and orthodox.
Science advance from the particular to the general laws and principles. Thus, NEWTON saw an apple falling, observed a number of other similarity phenomena, and finally developed, on the basis of his observations his famous laws of gravitation. Religion, on the other hand, works from the general to particular. Its methods are entirely different from those of science. Scientific laws and theories are based on a much sounder foundation than the principles of religion.
With the advance of science, religion has gradually lost ground. Its truths have been subjected to searching analysis by science, one after another, and have been proved to be false. The methods of science have appeared more convincing and rational and people have gradually lost faith in religion. Science has also conquered the heart of the people by its practical utility. The practical applications of its laws has provided man with undreamed of comforts and luxuries, religions has no such visible and material benefits to offer.
However, science has its own limitations. Man has a body as well as a spirit. Science is concerned only with the body; it can do nothing for the sprit. Science may provide man with physical comforts, but it is religion alone which can give him the courage to struggle against heavy odds. He may even face death itself, with a smiling face. It is religion and religion alone, which can bring the healing balm for his wondered spirit.
In the end it may be mentioned that religion is a social phenomenon as well as personal and individual. It is all a matter of individual belief. Science has weakened religious faith is only as it is a social phenomenon. Science has not been able to touch religion, even the least, in its personal and individual aspects. There are people even today whose faith in the name of the religion remains unshaken and who can still make the maximum sacrifice in the name of religion. It would, therefore be wrong to say that science has made man irreligious or that it is an enemy of morality.