Relationship between Science and ReligionThe relationship between religion andscience has been the subject of continued debate in philosophy and theology. AlbertEinstein, one of the greatest and most famous scientists of our time has also givenhis opinions in his essay “Science and religion”published in 1954 with his famous quote: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”1,2 Technological advancements andscientific progress in the recent decade in multiple fields such as cognitivepsychology and physics have debunked many earlier hypothesis and also disclosednew revelations of truth in the way we perceive our world. This paper shalldiscuss the relationship between science and religion, in particular Buddhismand how this has evolved with progress in scientific research and advancementsin technology.
Buddhismin a nutshellSiddh?rtha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, also knownas Shakyamuni Buddha is widely recognised as an enlightened teacher whoattained full Buddhahood, and shared his insights to help sentient beings endrebirth and suffering. There are 84,000methods taught by Shakyamuni Buddha on how to become enlightened and leave thesuffering of ordinary existence and the vicious cycle of reincarnation. Theseteachings, taught 2500 years ago, are still studied by many and considered tobe relevant today. The frustrations and unhappiness that we face in our dailylives, the worries that we have of what is to come, the physical and emotional sufferingsthat we have had to endure in life – these are not just problems faced by peoplefrom the past but also by the people of today.
Buddhism offers the truth behindthese sufferings and the antidote to surpass these sufferings and problems thatwe have. Scienceand similarities to Buddhism Science deals with testable knowledge aboutphysical phenomena in the universe with a primary objective of understandinghow the universe works. Thekey traits associated with science are experimentation and deductive logic.
These are essential for validation of experiments or observations inexplanation of results using rational thinking and the spirit of inquiry. Thereis a common saying that the force behind scientificprogress is the simple act of asking questions. In a similar manner, questioningof assumptions and even debate is encouraged in Buddhism. A key aspect is theemphasis on the gaining of knowledge through personal experience and not solelyon the reliance on the authority of sacred texts of the teachings of avowed masters.In Tibetan Buddhism, practitioners and scholars engage in reasoning and debate todefeat misconceptions, establish a defensible view and clear away objections tothe view with one another3.
Inthe Kalama Sutta, the Buddha taught that any view or belief mustbe tested by the results it yields when put into practice; and to guard againstthe possibility of any bias or limitations in one’s understanding of thoseresults, they must further be checked against the experience of people who arewise.4 1 Einstein,Albert (1956). “Science and Religion,” Ideas and Opinions. New York:Citadel Press, p. 26.2 DonHoward, Lesson no. 22, “Cosmic Religion and Jewish Identity”, AlbertEinstein: Physicist, Philosopher, Humanitarian , Course No.
8122, The TeachingCompany, LLC, 2009.3 TibetanBuddhist Debate. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2018, fromhttps://asiasociety.org/tibetan-buddhist-debate4 “Kalama Sutta: To theKalamas” (AN 3.65), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Accessto Insight (BCBS Edition), 30 November 2013,