17 Mar 2022


Symmetry between Science and Spirituality

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Academic level: College

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Science and Spirituality

It is a commonly accepted notion that spirituality and science will never be compatible. Science has been regarded to by many as the reliable way forward while spirituality has been considered to as a semantic relic of people’s past that they cannot let go. For centuries, science has played a role in the progress of humanity whereas spirituality has been on a constant decline. However, there is an aspect of spirituality that has not been on the decline, and that is the pursuit of value and reality and additionally understanding through self-consciousness. This paper deliberates on the issues that are regularly brought up concerning the relationship between spirituality and science and particularly the symmetry between the statements made by scientists and mystics. It will also focus on arguing that the position held by mystics and scientists are not comparable.

Religion, in which spirituality has been regarded as a fundamental trait, has over the years come into disagreements with some of the thesis and conclusions of scientists (Das, 2009). There are three main areas of disagreements between the two, and they are the period of creation, method of creation and the structure of a human being, which majorly deals with the query, does the human being have anything else, for example, the soul that survives after the demise of the material body? The most obvious issue in this disagreement is that of divine creation and evolution. Many people especially those who do not entirely follow the apprenticeship of the Bible and the Quran, solve the matter by supporting the scientists. A good example is the creation story not unless one is a literal believer of the ‘Holy books’, one would have to concur with the scientists who place the beginning of the universe past 3000 BC.

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Some religions, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism to be precise have in the past had no conflict with science especially when it came to matters of creation and how it occurred. Hinduism, for example, is quite well-matched with the concept of evolution although it agrees with most mystics that creation took place outside a prehistoric venue. The religions also agree with scientists on the age of the earth for instance Hinduism, which vaguely recognizes that the earth is said to be some few billion years old. It also has its version of evolution that goes hand in hand with the scientific theories. 

However the two are settled, there is also another area that is of mutual interest that is the interface area between spirituality and science. Recently concluded research suggests that scientists and mystics both seek unity in the world. An adjacent principle for both science and mysticism has the premise that unity lies at the center of the universe and that it can be achieved and accomplished by man. According to Weber, a historian, scientists approach the issue of unity through researched scientific methods and rationale while mystics approach the same issue through self-knowledge. Whilst scientists use mathematical and quantitative methods, the methodology of mysticism is on the other hand meditational. She, however, admits that there exists a difference between the two in that the scientific approach is cognitive and systematic, and it additionally studies the universe fragmentary. Its outcomes are also equitable and value free. On the other hand, mysticism approach is experiential, and it is in conjunction with infinite. Though the scientists seek to unify, they leave themselves out of this equation despite the fact that in quantum mechanics the one being observed and the observer both constitute a unit and according to Weber, scientists have not yet come to the full understanding of that declaration. 

According to the physical theories of Stephen Hawking, the search for singularity before time is an expression that is in search for this unity. Stephen goes ahead to compare the relationship between the two as that of the relationship between consciousness and matter whereby the two are aspects of one process which is searching for unity. When asked about the existence of a supreme being he answers the question by stating that people in the past had a form of intelligence, which brought order in the world, and they personalized it, and they called it God. He continues to argue that a similar insight can occur today without people customizing it and calling it a personal God. He claims that the evidence of a supreme being is very limited and where it is found it cannot be verified. 

Other researchers have argued that the only problem with the theories of the universe for instance of time and space or evolution is that they are mere interpretations of different people’s concept of the reality. They are also the scientists’ points of views and are products of them putting together in their minds the memories that are shared from generation to generation. It is true that both scientists and mystic do try to find unity in the universe. Many have argued that the search for understanding originates from a sense of separation whose primary cause is ones though processes, which presents itself in self-consciousness as the clear differentiation between an individual as the observer and the world as the observed. However, there is a clear distinction between the two in that scientists are not contented with the little experience of unity no matter what the experience is but rather seek unification in theory. On the contrary, the mystic believe that no theory will ever result in a unifying experience (Walach, 2005). 

In general, religion has always differed from scientists. It is essential to note that science has never refuted the teachings of any specific religion but rather concentrates on physical, biological and psychological nature of human beings. Science does not easily believe in certain things, for example, the existence of a soul that survives the death of the physical body. Science argues that believing in a soul is important to religious people because despite believing in a supreme being, religion is also committed to a belief that implicates personal morality, which it considers as sin and redemption. Religion would probably not have much appeal were it not for the idea of salvation or liberation. These concepts of salvation and heaven have to be correlated with the opposite, which is sin, and bondage from which man has to be saved.

Science is defiant to the idea that in an individual there exists a soul or any other entity for that matter besides the body that could survive the actual death of the physical body. This is simply because of the reason that there is no entity that can exist without the function of the brain and the body itself (Chiu, Ganesan, Rutledge, & Toews, 2006). Other scholars have argued that there could exist another body and support their argument by claiming that memory can exist without the assistance of the brain, but the simple fact that there cannot exist a memory without the mind rules them out. The brain acts as a conduit where the memory manifests itself and just like the radio cannot function without an antennae and wiring memory cannot exist without the mind.

Scientists refute everything that cannot be proven using scientific methods for example experimentation. On the other hand, religion has profoundly manifested itself in human being in that it has been passed down from one generation to the next. Scholars have suggested that religion exists because it offers hope for individuals who have lost hope in life. Some have also suggested that the ancient people developed it as a means to govern and control people. People had to be informed of a superior being who would punish them for any wrongdoing so that they could abide by the rules set for them.

Religion and science can be reconciled in that without the other people could probably be living in the dark ages. This is because religion was used to govern people while science on the hand was exerted for development. Was it not for prevalent science things that are used in day-to-day activities would be hard to come across hence making life tough. On the other hand, science could have achieved nothing had religion not be maintained because they could be no law and order hence making the work of scientists difficult. 

The conflict between religion and science will never end simply because over the past years scientists have started refuting the existence of a supreme being by finding a theoretical explanation for things/activities that religious people considered supernatural. This is creating a rift among believers who see as if they have been fooled their whole lives. According to research, the number of religious individuals is diminishing as days go by since science is providing solutions that seem to make sense to many people. For example in the issue of the existence of a soul whereby scientists are claiming that, it cannot exist since it would have no source of power. They are putting this concerning the body, which requires a heart and brain to function entirely. 


Chiu, L., Ganesan, S., Rutledge, R., & Toews, J. (2006). Pre-conference report for the 4th 

International Multidisciplinary Conference on Spirituality and Health: Interweaving Science, Wisdom and Compassion. Spirituality Health , 7 (3), 162-166. 

Das, P. (2009). Global perspectives on science and spirituality . West Conshohocken, PA: 

Templeton Press.

WALACH, H. (2005). Reconciling Spirituality and Science in the Twenty-First Century. Studies 

In Spirituality , 15 (0), 283-308. 

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