Science and religion’s public juxtaposition created within our cultural era, presents the two paradigms as distinct and mutually exclusive worldviews. The general resonance of the debate between the two worldviews sounds aggressive and emotional.
These domains are not necessarily engaged in a binary opposition. They are, simply, two of innumerable types of social structures, existing presently. The ‘faith’ of individual members of society is differentially distributed between and amidst both the society’s social institutions as well as the sources of assumed authority.
Reconciliation of science and religion serves us all best and acknowledging that (1) science is a very useful way of talking and thinking about the world, that clearly delineates those things about which it is and is not capable of addressing, (2) as human beings, we are meaning making machines, but all beliefs require a leap of faith, and (3) the purposes of science and those of religion differ-science seeks to serve the empirical while religion seeks to serve the incorporeal
Currently, religion and science are locked in a struggle for social power; and by ‘social power,’ I specifically mean the authority and power to inform the public with ‘true’ explanations of the world. “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source or spirituality….The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.” (Carl Sagan)