Dialogue between religion and science

Flora Teckie

Flora Teckie

Published Jan 10, 2024


Flora Teckie

“Religion and science are the two wings upon which man’s intelligence can soar into the heights, with which the human soul can progress,” state the Bahá’í Writings. The advantages of both need to be used together if we are to build a progressive and peaceful society.

Religion and science are mutually dependent. Religion, without science, degenerates into superstition and fanaticism, while science without religion becomes merely the instrument of crude materialism.

There is need for an ongoing and intensifying dialogue between the two independent yet complementary systems of knowledge. A great many problems we are facing in the world today exist because we either use science without religion, or religion without science.

The Bahá’í International Community states: “In the quest for truth, science and religion – the two systems of knowledge available to humankind – must closely and continuously interact. The insights and skills that represent scientific accomplishment must look to the force of spiritual commitment and moral principle to ensure their appropriate application.”

The role of scientific knowledge in building a world civilisation is of immense importance. The scientific method is our tool for understanding the physical side of the universe and is the key to new technologies. It is this knowledge system that studies the material universe and teaches us how to generate material means for our advancement.

Religion is the fruit of the creative Word of God, which transforms human thought and action. Religion offers us a basis for values and provides us with answers to moral questions, human purpose, and our relationship to God, which science does not provide. It is the knowledge system that studies the powers of the human spirit and is concerned with the demands and the desires of our higher nature.

Of course, science and religion have been greatly abused at times; but true science which discovers the laws of the universe and helps our material and mental advancement, cannot be opposed to religion in its purest form, free from human misinterpretation and misrepresentation.

The Bahá’í Writings state: “Put all your beliefs into harmony with science; there can be no opposition, for truth is one. When religion, shorn of its superstitions, traditions, and unintelligent dogmas, shows its conformity with science, then will there be a great unifying, cleansing force in the world which will sweep before it all wars, disagreements, discords and struggles – and then will mankind be united in the power of the Love of God.”

Science, of course, does not have the answer to every question. Science provides us with tools and means, and religion teaches us how to use them to the best advantage of all humanity. For example, a knife is a useful tool, but it can also be used to kill someone. Religion teaches us to put this tool to good use and not to use it to hurt anyone. Atomic energy is useful, but without God’s guidance it can become one of the most destructive forces produced by science.

For the advancement of civilisation, religion and science need to be used together. Religion should guide science ethically, and put it to good use rather than bad. Science should be able to provide more answers to those global problems, which as yet have not been addressed.

The Bahá'í International Community states: “intensive dialogue between the two systems of knowledge available to humankind – science and religion – will facilitate the emergence of peace and justice throughout the world.”

Flora Teckie is an architect, a Bahá’í Faith follower, and spiritual columnist.

The Star

Related Topics:

South AfricaScience