The Faith of a Scientist

When one discovers a contradiction between a religious belief and the findings of science, he speaks of a conflict between science and religion. Actually, there is no conflict between science and religion per se. A belief in a Supreme Being, faith in the efficacy of a moral code, and a belief in a purpose in existence are not precluded by science, though science may question the credibility of a particular religious belief and thus serve as a constraint on religion. But men tend to hold beliefs associated with their religious faith inflexibly, a consequence of their all-too-frequent failure to acknowledge the limited ability of man to receive through revelation a perfect comprehension of truth. This inflexibility puts religion at a disadvantage in the face of advancing scientific knowledge. The history of the past four centuries has been described with some justification by one writer as the history of the retreat of religion before the advance of science.

Science has brought such a flood of knowledge about the nature of the universe and provided answers to so many of the perplexing questions encountered in the course of one’s existence that the necessity for the assumption of God as a cause in nature has been removed from immediacy to remoteness. With Simon LaPlace we “have no need for that hypothesis” for the formulation of a world view which generously rewards our intellectual curiosity about natural phenomena. Evidence of the hand of God in all that transpires is no longer so apparent as it was once thought to be.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 08:4
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