In the 40,000 years religion has existed, it has rarely gone undisputed except by other creeds or belief systems. More often than not, such confrontations end in violence simply because each doctrine has aspects which are incompatible with the other so they cannot coexist.
However, every single belief in the supernatural has one thing in common – its enemy is scientific inquiry. Whenever science and reason are brought to the table all groups that once were fighting with each other unite to battle a common enemy. This is not uncommon. Humans are quite tribal in nature and over the millennia they acquired a mentality of “kill or be killed”. We can even see such mentalities in the Christian’s Holy Scriptures, for example “even though they hated each other, they had a common enemy” as it says in Matthew: Chapter 22.In this case since science poses the greatest threat to the very foundations of such beliefs it becomes the greatest enemy. But why is it the greatest threat?
Science has no agenda or master; it almost works like art, “art for art’s sake” as Théophile Gautier put it. The by-products we receive from it are inconsequential, but they make our life more pleasurable, which is why we pursue science in the same vein as we pursue art because of its beauty.
So why is science dangerous to the belief of the supernatural, especially organized religion? Simply put: it’s dangerous because it indirectly proves that such beliefs are false. At the present time we may not completely disprove such incredible claims as the existence of an all powerful being, but we can disprove such things as geological events, miracles, and historical facts. Even Biblical archaeologists will say things like this:
“We have to accept somewhat looser standards. In the legal profession, to convict the defendant of a crime, you need proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil cases, a preponderance of the evidence is sufficient. When dealing with the Bible or any ancient source, we have to loosen up a little; otherwise, we can’t really say anything.”
– David Noel Freedman (in Bible Review magazine, Dec. 1993, p.34)
In recent times, when science is gaining more and more acceptance, people have said that the chance for the supernatural to be true and science to be true is equiprobable. In other words, the existence of God, Heaven, Hell, Satan, and everything supernatural has a 50% chance of being as real as science. Many, many things related to the supernatural have already been proven false so it isn’t 50% but just for argument’s sake we’ll give it a chance and see if it works.
Let’s try an experiment; we’ll divide the chance of the supernatural and science being true in a pie chart as 50% each. In a sense we’re making a “Supernatural Pie” and a “Reality pie”.
However, we’re forgetting that belief in the supernatural is oftentimes incompatible with other paranormal beliefs. Since there’s no real way of telling which mystical belief has more weight on our supernatural side of the cake we have to give each belief an equal slice of the pie.
In the end you’d have something like the image on the right side. Science still has the upper hand even with this nonsensical division.
Also we’re still not done, within all these religions there have been many, many schisms throughout the ages. According to Justin J.Evans from this website there are about 38,000 Christian denominations worldwide. So the slice that goes for Christianity would have to be divided by another 38,000 times because each denomination has a different worldview, and thus a different view on the supernatural. The same can be said from every single religion on the supernatural side of the cake.
Meanwhile the scientific method’s way of interpreting reality remains at 50%, while at times there are discrepancies between what one scientist says and another. It is a debate and nothing more; science does not say something is true until there’s a vast amount of evidence in favour of it. This is why you do not see real scientists founding a new school of science because their theory wasn’t accepted. In time, if his theory is backed up by enough evidence it will become accepted.
So, now tell me if you are hungry for knowledge which side looks tastier?
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