Are religion and science incompatible?

A topic that sometimes appears is this question: Are science and religion mutually exclusive? For example, it was brought up here, again. Is it? No. And Yes. If you ask me. Ok, you didn’t, but as you’re here anyway…

So, the basic idea „religion“ does not have to be incompatible to science. If religion stays away from anything that is remotely provable (or disprovable), it does not need to be incompatible. If it’s only about a god who exists outside the universe and a soul you cannot measure in any way and an afterlife that cannot be checked – feel free, go on, you’re completely compatible with science. Of course, science will not give a shit and has nothing to learn from you, as you’re just making stuff up. You’re about as important to science as a sheep – you make a nice lab animal for testing and finding out things about irrational belief in the human brain, but don’t expect science to take you seriously. You simply have nothing to give that science would want.

If, on the other hand, your religion DOES say anything that can be tested – for example, how the world was created, how the first human came to be, etc. – then you’ve got a problem: You’re most probably wrong and science will prove that. Science will have evidence – and you’ll have scripture. It’s not a fair fight and you’ll lose in the end. Congratulations, you are incompatible to science, as you try replacing the hard way of finding things out by simply inventing something. Still, you don’t have anything to offer that science would want – but suddenly you also try to contradict science, while, on the other hand, use the results of science: The church you are in, built with science. The computer you type on: Invented with science. The medicine that keeps people alive: Invented by science.

So, to make it short: If your religion is more than a very, very, very metaphysical thing, then yes, it’s probably incompatible with science. You will have to decide if you want to believe in evidence about reality or in something that someone else made up.



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