Religion and Politics | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
science of religion or politology of religion or religion and politics or politics and them directly, and about half of persons interviewed believe that God speaks. Sep 21, Throughout history, science and religion have appeared as being in Redefining categories – Scientists manage the science-religion relationship by Explore further: UC political scientist reveals surprising answers about religious freedom .. The Bible as guideline on how to live life and love God. "The Relation of Science and Religion" is a transcript of a talk given by Dr. Now , since the belief in a God is a central feature of religion, this problem that I have . in communism the answers are given to all the questions – political questions .
This annual series continues and has included William JamesJohn DeweyCarl Sagan, and many other professors from various fields. Science, Religion, and Naturalism, heavily contests the linkage of naturalism with science, as conceived by Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and like-minded thinkers; while Daniel Dennett thinks that Plantinga stretches science to an unacceptable extent. Barrettby contrast, reviews the same book and writes that "those most needing to hear Plantinga's message may fail to give it a fair hearing for rhetorical rather than analytical reasons.
Scientific and theological perspectives often coexist peacefully. Christians and some non-Christian religions have historically integrated well with scientific ideas, as in the ancient Egyptian technological mastery applied to monotheistic ends, the flourishing of logic and mathematics under Hinduism and Buddhismand the scientific advances made by Muslim scholars during the Ottoman empire.
Even many 19th-century Christian communities welcomed scientists who claimed that science was not at all concerned with discovering the ultimate nature of reality.
Principethe Johns Hopkins University Drew Professor of the Humanities, from a historical perspective this points out that much of the current-day clashes occur between limited extremists—both religious and scientistic fundamentalists—over a very few topics, and that the movement of ideas back and forth between scientific and theological thought has been more usual.
He also admonished that true religion must conform to the conclusions of science. Buddhism and science Buddhism and science have been regarded as compatible by numerous authors.
For example, Buddhism encourages the impartial investigation of nature an activity referred to as Dhamma-Vicaya in the Pali Canon —the principal object of study being oneself. Buddhism and science both show a strong emphasis on causality. However, Buddhism doesn't focus on materialism.
In his book The Universe in a Single Atom he wrote, "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science, so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation.
Christianity and science Science and Religion are portrayed to be in harmony in the Tiffany window Education Francis Collins, a scientist who happens to be a Christian, is the current director of the National Institutes of Health. Among early Christian teachers, Tertullian c. These ideas were significantly countered by later findings of universal patterns of biological cooperation.
According to John Habgoodall man really knows here is that the universe seems to be a mix of good and evilbeauty and painand that suffering may somehow be part of the process of creation. Habgood holds that Christians should not be surprised that suffering may be used creatively by Godgiven their faith in the symbol of the Cross. The "Handmaiden" tradition, which saw secular studies of the universe as a very important and helpful part of arriving at a better understanding of scripture, was adopted throughout Christian history from early on.
Heilbron Alistair Cameron CrombieDavid Lindberg Edward GrantThomas Goldstein,  and Ted Davis have reviewed the popular notion that medieval Christianity was a negative influence in the development of civilization and science. In their views, not only did the monks save and cultivate the remnants of ancient civilization during the barbarian invasions, but the medieval church promoted learning and science through its sponsorship of many universities which, under its leadership, grew rapidly in Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries.
THE RELATION OF SCIENCE AND RELIGION
Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Church's "model theologian", not only argued that reason is in harmony with faith, he even recognized that reason can contribute to understanding revelation, and so encouraged intellectual development.
He was not unlike other medieval theologians who sought out reason in the effort to defend his faith. Lindberg states that the widespread popular belief that the Middle Ages was a time of ignorance and superstition due to the Christian church is a "caricature". According to Lindberg, while there are some portions of the classical tradition which suggest this view, these were exceptional cases.
It was common to tolerate and encourage critical thinking about the nature of the world. The relation between Christianity and science is complex and cannot be simplified to either harmony or conflict, according to Lindberg. There was no warfare between science and the church. A degree of concord between science and religion can be seen in religious belief and empirical science.
The belief that God created the world and therefore humans, can lead to the view that he arranged for humans to know the world. This is underwritten by the doctrine of imago dei. In the words of Thomas Aquinas"Since human beings are said to be in the image of God in virtue of their having a nature that includes an intellect, such a nature is most in the image of God in virtue of being most able to imitate God".
As science advanced, acceptance of a literal version of the Bible became "increasingly untenable" and some in that period presented ways of interpreting scripture according to its spirit on its authority and truth. Later that year, a similar law was passed in Mississippi, and likewise, Arkansas in Inthese "anti-monkey" laws were struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States as unconstitutional, "because they established a religious doctrine violating both the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution.
Also, religious parents typically wish to pass on their faith to their children, and doing so involves cultivating religious devotion through practices and rituals, rather than presenting their faith as just one among many equally good or true ones. For such parents, passing on their religious faith is central to good parenting, and in this respect it does not differ from passing on good moral values, for instance. Thus, politically mandated education that is aimed at developing autonomy runs up against the right of some parents to practice their religion and the right to raise their children as they choose.
Many, though not all, liberals argue that autonomy is such an important good that its promotion justifies using techniques that make it harder for such parents to pass on their faith—such a result is an unfortunate side-effect of a desirable or necessary policy. Yet a different source of political conflict for religious students in recent years concerns the teaching of evolution in science classes. Some religious parents of children in public schools see the teaching of evolution as a direct threat to their faith, insofar as it implies the falsity of their biblical-literalist understanding of the origins of life.
They argue that it is unfair to expect them to expose their children to teaching that directly challenges their religion and to fund it with their taxes. Among these parents, some want schools to include discussions of intelligent design and creationism some who write on this issue see intelligent design and creationism as conceptually distinct positions; others see no significant difference between themwhile others would be content if schools skirted the issue altogether, refusing to teach anything at all about the origin of life or the evolution of species.
Their opponents see the former proposal as an attempt to introduce an explicitly religious worldview into the classroom, hence one that runs afoul of the separation of church and state. Nor would they be satisfied with ignoring the issue altogether, for evolution is an integral part of the framework of modern biology and a well-established scientific theory. Conflicts concerning religion and politics arise outside of curricular contexts, as well. For example, in France, a law was recently passed that made it illegal for students to wear clothing and adornments that are explicitly associated with a religion.
This law was especially opposed by students whose religion explicitly requires them to wear particular clothing, such as a hijab or a turban. The justification given by the French government was that such a measure was necessary to honor the separation of church and state, and useful for ensuring that the French citizenry is united into a whole, rather than divided by religion. However, it is also possible to see this law as an unwarranted interference of the state in religious practice.
If liberty of conscience includes not simply a right to believe what one chooses, but also to give public expression to that belief, then it seems that people should be free to wear clothing consistent with their religious beliefs. Crucial to this discussion of the effect of public policy on religious groups is an important distinction regarding neutrality. The liberal state is supposed to remain neutral with regard to religion as well as race, sexual orientation, physical status, age, etc.
In one sense, neutrality can be understood in terms of a procedure that is justified without appeal to any conception of the human good. In this sense, it is wrong for the state to intend to disadvantage one group of citizens, at least for its own sake and with respect to practices that are not otherwise unjust or politically undesirable.
Thus it would be a violation of neutrality in this sense and therefore wrong for the state simply to outlaw the worship of Allah. Alternatively, neutrality can be understood in terms of effect. The state abides by this sense of neutrality by not taking actions whose consequences are such that some individuals or groups in society are disadvantaged in their pursuit of the good. For a state committed to neutrality thus understood, even if it were not explicitly intending to disadvantage a particular group, any such disadvantage that may result is a prima facie reason to revoke the policy that causes it.
The attendance requirement may nevertheless be unavoidable, but as it stands, it is less than optimal. Obviously, this is a more demanding standard, for it requires the state to consider possible consequences—both short term and long term—on a wide range of social groups and then choose from those policies that do not have bad consequences or the one that has the fewest and least bad.
For most, and arguably all, societies, it is a standard that cannot feasibly be met. Consequently, most liberals argue that the state should be neutral in the first sense, but it need not be neutral in the second sense.
Thus, if the institutions and practices of a basically just society make it more challenging for some religious people to preserve their ways of life, it is perhaps regrettable, but not unjust, so long as these institutions and practices are justified impartially.
Liberalism and Its Demands on Private Self-Understanding In addition to examining issues of toleration and accommodation on the level of praxis, there has also been much recent work about the extent to which particular political theories themselves are acceptable or unacceptable from religious perspectives.
Rather than requiring citizens to accept any particular comprehensive doctrine of liberalism, a theory of justice should aim at deriving principles that each citizen may reasonably accept from his or her own comprehensive doctrine. The aim, then, for a political conception of justice is for all reasonable citizens to be able to affirm principles of justice without having to weaken their hold on their own private comprehensive views.
One such argument comes from Eomann Callan, in his book Creating Citizens. If Rawlsian liberalism requires acceptance of the burdens of judgment, then the overlapping consensus will not include some kinds of religious citizens.
Thus, a religious citizen could feel an acute conflict between her identity qua citizen and qua religious adherent. One way of resolving the conflict is to argue that one aspect of her identity should take priority over the other.
For many religious citizens, political authority is subservient to—and perhaps even derived from—divine authority, and therefore they see their religious commitments as taking precedence over their civic ones.
But this tendency makes it more challenging for liberals to adjudicate conflicts between religion and politics. One possibility is for the liberal to argue that the demands of justice are prior to the pursuit of the good which would include religious practice. If so, and if the demands of justice require one to honor duties of citizenship, then one might argue that people should not allow their religious beliefs and practices to restrict or interfere with their roles as citizens.
Religious Reasons in Public Deliberation One recent trend in democratic theory is an emphasis on the need for democratic decisions to emerge from processes that are informed by deliberation on the part of the citizenry, rather than from a mere aggregation of preferences. As a result, there has been much attention devoted to the kinds of reasons that may or may not be appropriate for public deliberation in a pluralistic society.
While responses to this issue have made reference to all kinds of beliefs, much of the discussion has centered on religious beliefs. One reason for this emphasis is that, both historically and in contemporary societies, religion has played a central role in political life, and often it has done so for the worse witness the wars of religion in Europe that came in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, for example.
As such, it is a powerful political force, and it strikes many who write about this issue as a source of social instability and repression. Another reason is that, due to the nature of religious belief itself, if any kind of belief is inappropriate for public deliberation, then religious beliefs will be the prime candidate, either because they are irrational, or immune to critique, or unverifiable, etc.
In other words, religion provides a useful test case in evaluating theories of public deliberation. Since citizens have sharp disagreements on comprehensive doctrines, any law or policy that necessarily depends on such a doctrine could not be reasonably accepted by those who reject the doctrine.
A prime example of a justification for a law that is publicly inaccessible in this way is one that is explicitly religious. For example, if the rationale for a law that outlawed working on Sunday was simply that it displeases the Christian God, non-Christians could not reasonably accept it.
Since only secular reasons are publicly accessible in this way, civic virtue requires offering secular reasons and being sufficiently motivated by them to support or oppose the law or policy under debate.
Religious reasons are not suitable for public deliberation since they are not shared by the non-religious or people of differing religions and people who reject these reasons would justifiably resent being coerced on the basis of them. Others try to show that religious justifications can contribute positively to democratic polities; the two most common examples in support of this position are the nineteenth-century abolitionist movement and the twentieth-century civil rights movement, both of which achieved desirable political change in large part by appealing directly to the Christian beliefs prevalent in Great Britain and the United States.
A third inclusivist argument is that it is unfair to hamstring certain groups in their attempts to effect change that they believe is required by justice. Many—though not all—who defend the pro-life position do so by appealing to the actual or potential personhood of fetuses. Consequently, on some versions of exclusivism, citizens who wish to argue against abortion should do so without claiming that fetuses are persons.
Religion and Science
To ask them to refrain from focusing on this aspect of the issue looks like an attempt to settle the issue by default, then. Instead, inclusivists argue that citizens should feel free to introduce any considerations whatsoever that they think are relevant to the topic under public discussion.
Even the most secularized countries Sweden is typically cited as a prime example include substantial numbers of people who still identify themselves as religious. From the big-bang model, what we can say that there was a beginning… and we have an age for the universe around 14 billion years.
This points towards a universe with a beginning. There would be no contradiction between science and theology therefore to argue that this does point towards the universe having been created. Religion has inferential structure that asks whether, in the light of the hypothesis that there is a God, the world around us makes more sense if that hypothesis is true?
My personal view is yes! How could we ever prove divine action? When we talk of divine causality, this exists at the level of philosophy and theology, not in science- which refers to the level of natural causes, but rather at the metaphysical level.
The universe came from something not from nothing. That is a logical point of view from the world of philosophy, and we as people of faith believe that it was God that created the universe. If we look at a natural process such as rain falling, we can ask the question as to whether God uses natural processes in some way to engage in the world. Many religions believe that God uses secondary causality; processes within nature that God is able to work through.
It seems to me to be saying that God explains everything science cannot. That seems to locate God in areas of the world where science cannot currently offer an explanation. Science is always expanding its scope and so this always changes.
For me, God is about the bigger picture — about the fundamental question as to why we can explain anything at all! How does cognitive science deal with spiritual concepts such as mind-body, the soul and free will?
When it comes to understanding the relationship between mind and body for example, most folks working in the field take the view that the mind and body at a certain point are indistinguishable. The mind is some kind of way of describing the functional properties of a complex and embodied neurosystem.
Why, however, do the vast majority of people across culture regard the mind and body as distinguishable? We have certain kinds of conceptual systems that naturally develop that deal with physical objects, like bodies.
They generate intuitions, inferences and predictions about the behaviour of those bodies. We share this with other mammals especially primates and these conceptual systems develop very early in life… within the first few months of life, they may even be approaching adult levels of intuition and reasoning.
This conceptual system also has different inputs and outputs to the one we use to understand the physical world. These two systems developed largely independently of each other, operate independently of each other our mind system has to be able to think about minds that are not bodily present, otherwise we would not be able to have this conversation!
So it looks like these two systems are distinguishable, and zippering the two together is actually quite an achievement — and it is tenuous. Maybe for that reason we are what Paul Bloom Yale Psychologist calls intuitive dualists.
The dualistic position that minds and bodies are separable is the natural default position. The difficulty which monists who think the mind and body are one experience in maintaining their position is also evidence of this intuitive dualistic nature. It is at best minimally counter-intuitive! Freedom is another one of these things.
We perceive ourselves as free-will agents and the idea that we are not is radically counter-intuitive. Where cognitive science of religion gets into murky water is where there is a confusion between the study of the concepts and how they spread versus whether those concepts themselves are true. A lot of us working in the area are- unfortunately- not well versed in the philosophy of freedom, determinism, mind-body and so on. We sometimes therefore stumble into our philosophical colleagues back-yard uninvited and make assumptions about determinism and so on!
Morality and justice are also interesting.
THE RELATION OF SCIENCE AND RELIGION
Rather than morality and justice emerging from proto-religious impulses, the two are mutually re-enforcing. There may have been other cognitive or emotive foundations that underlie our moral thinking, normative justice and ethical reasoning. What needs to be worked out is the conditions under which this is violated… who counts as my group? What counts as harm? Fairness and reciprocity is another foundation.
We all have intuition that we must reciprocate fairly in fields of life such as material exchange. When it comes to enforcing our morality and punishing those who defect… and we do defect! One of the more prominent adaptationist arguments is that once the cognitive ability exists to think about gods in the broad supernatural sense as beings who can interact with this world in important waysand if these gods are morally interested in the world, these beliefs would encourage pro-social behaviour and intra-group collaboration, and pays dividends for the group and the individuals within it.
Can science and religion co-exist? There is an oft-quoted example of a kettle being plugged in and the process being described in scientific terms the generation of heator in terms of wanting a cup of tea… both are true! I can quite happily leave God out of the research, but can understand this in terms of my belief that God created the structure of the world and the framework that allows science to exist.
A scientific account of many of our areas of human experience such as love, beauty and so forth is not adequate to explain them. You might say that love is the result of certain hormones surging through our bodies, but our experience of it is far more complex. For me as a human being, I am looking for a deep and rich understanding of the world. Science is part of that picture, I value it greatly, but it is not the whole picture. We need to bring science and religion together collaboratively so that we can see the big picture, and not just parts of it.
When you say science, which science are you talking about? Are you talking of the premise of science? On a broad level, do I think that modern epistemological science is an antagonist to religious and supernatural belief? Certain religious commitments would be at odds with modern science. That may sound like a trivial example, but religious communities regularly make claims about things such as human behaviour, thought, tendencies and so forth.
The human sciences are challenging or affirming these claims. Most of my colleagues are not religious people themselves, they are agnostic or atheist. Many of them do feel that their findings are a threat or challenge to religious belief. But on the other hand, many religious traditions including Islam and Christianity have long affirmed that humans have natural religious instincts or propensities. Cognitive science of religion could be seen as providing evidence in support of those claims.
The fact is that there may be a psychological explanation for why we do or believe the things we do. However, religious belief is incredibly common across culture. Even in parts of the world where you have high rates of atheism, people believe in religious entities and behaviours… they may not believe in God, but they will believe in ghosts… Britain is an interesting case study.
As adherence to Church of England has declined, belief in ghosts and spirits has actually increased proportionately. The UK is remarkably less theistic than the United States, but is a lot more superstitious.
Branding is certainly an issue. If you look at the secularisation of Ireland, the priest abuse scandal in the Catholic Church caused a huge number of people to reject the Church itself as an institution. We are seeing the same in China. One of the really fascinating things there is that a huge number of people are atheist, but they are burning money, cars and houses to their ancestors.
Do science and religion have a wider social function? Deborah Haarsma] Both science and religion are social communities, so they play an important social role in the same way as sports teams and musical groups. We are human, so we work together to share experiences and build culture.
One great aspect of science, on a social level, is that it spans the world. Scientists of all nationalities and cultures are studying the same universe and investigating the same physical laws, giving them a bond that transcends other divisions. Another social aspect of science is, of course, the incredible benefits it brings to society in medicine and technology.
Religion plays a major role in every human culture. Evolutionary psychologists like Justin Barrett and Robert McCauley have studied the emergence of religion in various cultures, and they say that everyone is religious. It is an innate instinct. Research has shown that everyone is looking for meaning and purpose. Most people find it in some form of religion or spirituality, although atheists find meaning in other ways. In the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr and other civil rights leaders argued for racial justice from an explicitly Christian point of view.
You might also offer an evolutionary explanation… but whichever means you use, you find that there always seems to be this inherent sense that humans feel of something deeper beyond the empirical, something greater beyond the horizon that we can somehow reach out and grasp.
To be human is to appreciate that we need to transcend our limits and grasp something bigger than ourselves. How would religion and theology deal with breakthroughs such as the discovery of extraterrestrial life?
Astrobiology requires one to be competent in different fields including astronomy, biology, geology and more- this is not easy.
We are able to do research, but ultimately we cannot know the results. It may equally happen that we find life tomorrow, or it may never happen…. In the same way that there is science and science fiction, there is theology and theology fiction. Science deals with scientific facts and observations, and as we sit here now, we do not have any evidence of life elsewhere in the universe.
It is in accordance with our view of the universe that there will be other spiritual creatures out there. From a cultural point of view, it would be similar to the experience that Europeans had when they met Native Americans for the first time. The debate which followed raised questions over the dignity and nature of human beings. If we ever do meet intelligent life from outside our planet, we could be faced with similar challenges.
The sort of questions that the search for extraterrestrial life poses are varied.
This research also helps us understand ourselves, life on our own planet, and where life could form elsewhere. What is the difference between information and meaning? Meaning is the sense in which we notice patterns in that information, discerning something deeper that lies behind that information. Meaning allows us to make sense of information and understand the bigger picture of what lies beyond it.
One of my concerns is that we live in a culture that seems to be obsessed with information. One of the great things about science is how it takes things apart to see how they work. Religion however, puts things back together again so we can see what they mean.
Has science impacted our understanding of God? What is important is that we sort these conflicts with dialogue, and without human suffering. Without perhaps realising, Galileo helped us to gain a better understanding of the reading of the Bible.
If I am studying those topics on the border such as astrobiology, the origins of the universe or string theory however… those issues should have a theological and scientific dialogue too. The mission of the Vatican Observatory is to show, somehow, that the Catholic Church wishes to promote and communicate good science. Our aim is to show that it is possible to believe in God and also to be good scientist.