Which is more important to society: science or religion?

Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:

I feel that both are important, provided each gives space to the other.

My views on this are entirely my own and I don’t advocate it to anyone. It’s just my take on it. To me religion and science is like the heart and the brain. In life there are many things that may not seem logical and yet we do it out of emotion or compassion or love. If everything is done in a logical way, think how mechanical this world would turn into.

A loved one dies. Nobody cries because it is just a scientific process where bodily functions stop and the person has stopped breathing. Seems very logical, doesn’t it? Every living being comes with an expiry date. So what’s the need to make a scene out of it? But doesn’t a death affect those closest to the deceased in a deep way? People cry and spend hours lost in thoughts of the one who is no longer with them. That’s the heart that makes people think that way. It’s the heart that fills this world with warmth, feelings and emotions. Otherwise we would all be like humanoid robots living in a science laboratory surrounded by cold steel and impassive fellow robots.

As I understand, no living person today has ever ‘seen’ God. And the idea of God is different to different people. Some people talk of God as a living person, for some people, God is a power, and for some others, there is nothing called God. For me, the idea of God is a power with whom/which I have a no-holds-barred relationship. It is somebody I can be totally myself with. No inhibitions. No lies. No holding back. I can ask God for advice, I can get cross at God for something that didn’t go the way I planned it to go, I could have a conversation with God about anything at all. God is my support mechanism. My best friend. My guide. Can I have that kind of a relation with anything in science? No. Science would call me stupid for believing in emotions and sentiments. Science says that the world runs by calculations and chemical reactions. Things like sentimental feelings, compassion, anger, sorrow, love, etc. cannot be proved to exist in a visible form. And anything that is not visible is a falsity. Science says God is non-existent. Why? Because the presence of God cannot be proved. By that logic, all those things I mentioned earlier also do not exist as they can’t be ‘seen, heard, smelt, felt or tasted’. Nobody can taste compassion, nobody can smell sorrow…but does that mean that they do not exist? The same logic applies to the idea of God.

As far as I believe, a person’s faith and his relationship with God ought to be a private affair. I do not believe in making a show of one’s faith. I am a deeply religious person. But that doesn’t mean that I am a fanatic. I have complete faith in the power I consider to be Divine, but I will not go about talking ill about other faiths or calling followers of other faiths as stupid. No. That is totally uncalled for. See, there is no need for a discussion on this subject at all. No one faith is higher or lower than any other faith. They are all roads that lead to the same ultimate destination. How can any of us say that our road is better than others’ just because we like it or because we think it’s the best. It may not necessarily be so for others. So people really ought to let others be. This inability  by many people to appreciate others’ paths is the one main reason why religion is so severely looked down upon from several quarters. Everyone seems to want everyone else to take their road. Many faiths further prohibit their followers from asking questions of any kind. This suffocates people and they think that if religions are done away with, such things will cease to exist. And they feel that science is the ultimate answer to everything.

I feel that living a life based ONLY on religion is just as unhealthy as living a life based ONLY on science. I don’t say that it’s not possible, but there’s much that people miss out in the process. I am reminded of a hospital in my home state of Kerala, India, where the treatment is a combination of Ayurveda and English medicine. When a patient visits the hospital, a panel of doctors (comprising of specialists from both schools of medicine) is assigned to his case. The doctors study the case together and decide the course of the treatment taking into consideration the various side-effects and all that. I think that is a wonderful concept where both schools of medicine benefit from each other and their combined effort brings out the best possible treatment for the patient.

Likewise, if religion and science is made to work together for the betterment of mankind, the resulting world around us would be a paradise no less. Give space to each other, enrich each other and accept each other.

Images : Google images

Which is more important to society: science or religion?

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