Why Religion and Science are Necessarily Opposed

A lot of people I discuss religion with claim that science and religion have no beef with each other, religion focuses on one facet of the universe (namely the supernatural) and science focuses on the other (the natural). Stephen Gould was a large proponent of this idea and coined the term Non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA). Noma might be the case if every religious person was a deist, but in reality they aren’t and NOMA is not applicable. Religion infringes on the natural world in ways that science has no choice but to oppose.

For example, miracles are supposed temporary suspensions of the otherwise immutable laws of the universe. Science simply rejects this notion because all other evidence points to this being impossible. I don’t understand why it’s more reasonable to believe that people writing years after Jesus’ knew that he had been resurrected than that they made the whole thing up or better yet had a hallucination. The bible literally says that a bunch of dead godly men and women broke out of their tombs and went into the holy city where multiple people saw them (Matthew 27:52). If you believe that part of the bible is figurative, what makes that figurative when Jesus’ resurrection was literal? I mean sure he’s the son of god but if he’s getting resurrected why not saints?

Another issue is that Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all believe in a personal god, one who cares about the actions of humans and occasionally intervenes to make his opinion heard. One topic that I shouldn’t even cover but I feel it needs to be said is when religious leaders claim that natural disasters are god’s punishment for sin. This is absurd and most thoughtful Christians will dismiss this theory, considering it holds no scientific water. The fact is nobody has ever proven it, and yet many people have refuted it. Tornadoes hit Oklahoma, one of the most religious states in the United States, and not Massachusetts for allowing gay marriage. If you disagree let me know but I think this is pretty self explanatory.

My final point is that when the Church was strong, it did all it could to limit the progress of science. The Church put Galileo under house arrest for the rest of his life for claiming that the Earth was not the center of the universe. They also persecuted countless other thinkers such as Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake for his heretical ideas. Let us not forget the squabbles of early Islamic thinkers either, such as Averroes and Al-Ghazali, whose books were burned by competing ideologies. Today religion does not jump to such drastic measures as burning at the stake, though Islam today is quite radical and has resorted to suicide bombings, executions, and stonings. Another modern example is the ban on condom use declared by the pope years ago. That is effectively telling Africa that  condoms are not worth it because while you will die painfully, at least you will be going to heaven. This is counterproductive and you cannot make claims like this without first thinking of the impact it will have on the world. In my opinion, banning condoms will not promote human well-being and as it stands I believe that decree was immoral. The fact is, religion has always been about the most crucial question in human existence, our purpose. When people think they have found the answer to that, they will do anything to preserve it. That includes the persecution of those who disagree with their worldview, as well as the censorship of their ideas.

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3 comments on “Why Religion and Science are Necessarily Opposed
  1. The Catholic Church’s stance on contraception is one of the reasons why I regard the discussion of religion as both a political and philosophical debate. Their teaching about condom use is having a real, visceral effect on people in places like Africa, in that it is literally killing them. This means it’s more than a philosophy debate. It’s also the reason why I’m so mindful of the perception of atheists and agnostics to the general public. I want people to listen to our arguments, because we’re basically arguing on behalf of the welfare for people whose lives are destroyed or harmed by these practices.

    It’s tricky, though, to disentangle criticism of the Christian belief from criticism of the Christian Church. Both are valid, but handled clumsily, it becomes that old adage about chasing two rabbits and catching neither.

  2. atheistthink says:

    Yeah I agree, the fact is there aren’t many people today willing to fight for atheism today and those who do don’t care about their perception to others and as such can come off arrogant. It also doesn’t help that being atheist is effectively political suicide http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/06/24/more-than-50-of-americans-would-vote-for-an-atheist-presidential-candidate-but-would-you/

  3. Mordanicus says:

    “The fact is nobody has ever proven it, and yet many people have refuted it. Tornadoes hit Oklahoma, one of the most religious states in the United States, and not Massachusetts for allowing gay marriage.”

    A very cynical person might argue that god punish the people in Oklahoma for not allowing gay marriage. Or that god has such a hatred towards sycophants, he punish the religious just because of their religiousity.

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