Today we live in an age dominated by science. Science is admired greatly, because it gives us power over nature. Scientific technology has incredibly powerful effect on society It has given us a new technique in industry and war and a means to control environment. It has brought about fundamental changes in social, political and economic spheres.
It has brought into existence its great prosperity and great destruction. Science has given us a new type of outlook which does not believe in anything till it is proved. Thus science has an unsettling influence on traditional beliefs. It has taught us inquiry and belief and finished dogma and superstition.
Religion is older than science. While science is concerned with matter and the physical world around us, religion deals with the spiritual mysteries of life: It defines the human relationship with God. It is concerned with the matter of the soul and good conduct. Its technique is not scientific.
It believes in intuition and divine inspiration. In ancient times religion was nothing but superstition because the man was constantly afraid of Nature. He was dominated by the powerful forces of Nature and he worshipped her. By and by better and purer types of religion were developed.
In its purest form, religion satisfies the deepest urge of man. As George Bernard Shaw has said, “Men think that they can do without religion; they do not know that religion is indestructible.” All through the ages, most of the human beings have been following one religion or the other.
With the passage of time, every religion suffers from corruption and perversion: By then new prophets come forward to purify the muddy stream. In India, the Vedic religion got mixed up with a number of elaborate ceremonies and caste system became very rigid. As a result, Buddhism came forward to purify Indian life.
Later on, Shankar started a powerful movement against Buddhism when it got corrupted and preached weakness. Christianity arose as an antidote to the corruption of Judaism. The Roman Catholic priests in Europe had to be pulled up by Martin Luther and others when they started living a life of luxury and immorality.
Religion in various countries has also been responsible for conflicts and violent quarrels. The Crusades between the Christians and Mohammedans continued for over a century. In India also the conflict between Islam and Hinduism has taken a violent shape many times. These things have made religion unpopular with some people.
The narrow-minded religious priests and preachers do a great disservice to the pure spirit of religion by spreading falsehood in the name religion: For their own self-interests, they have kept the people in ignorance. They have exploited the blind faith of the people in the teaching of great religious leaders.
For a long time in Europe, the Christian priests opposed the idea that the earth is round and moves around the sun. They considered such new knowledge as hearsay. They dubbed the scientists as a magician and called them the agents of the Devil.
Darwin had to face great hostility because he gave his theory that man has descended from an ape. He was criticized because his scientific theory went against the Biblical account of the creation of this earth and the fall of man.
The continuous pressure of new knowledge has shaken the old forms of religion: But it has failed to destroy the basic human need for religion. religion in its true sense in not a set of dogmas or rituals. It is not true to say that religion has no place in this era of science.
Science has overthrown spiritual view of the universe, man and creation. Science emphasises the importance of reason, observation and experience. Religion is based on obedience, acceptance and authority. But scientists know the limitations of science.
Science is not the key to the whole mystery of life. We find scientists like Einstein, Tyndall and others who were deeply religious. These scientists rightly believed that science and religion are complementary as well as supplementary.
The spreading of scientific ideas has made the modern man sceptical: It is not possible to make an educated man of today believe in myths and superstitions. But it does not mean that the urge for religion is dead. The modern man needs a scientific religion.
He does not want useless ceremonies and vulgar shows in the name of religion. Truly speaking science has increased faith in God by pointing out the wonderful mysteries of nature. The religious experience and experience of the highest scientific research tend to be similar.
The man in the laboratory is now regaining faith in God. Scientists are no longer proud of their great discoveries and inventions though some scientists in the 19th century declared that God was dead.
Science has given limitless material power to modern man: It is going on inventing ever new things for a comfortable and luxurious life. At the same time, it has created baffling problems. It has created a big gulf between the rich and the poor.
It has brought about great dissatisfaction. there is a mad race for material prosperity everywhere. Human beings are getting more and more money-minded and crazy after material prosperity. There is an immoral race in which human beings have become the enemies human beings.
The terrible atom and hydrogen bombs threaten to kill the entire humanity. Only fear of God and respect for moral and religious value can bring about peace and order in human life. So the need is that religion should be more scientific and science should be more religious. As Einstein has said,
“Religion is blind without science and science is lame without religion”.Einstein