Are science and religion at odds with each other? A majority of the public says science and religion often conflict, with nearly six-in-ten adults (59%) expressing this view in newly released findings from a Pew Research Center survey. The share of the public saying science and religion are often in conflict is up modestly from 55% in 2009, when Pew Research conducted a similar survey on religion and science.
People’s sense that there generally is a conflict between religion and science seems to have less to do with their own religious beliefs than it does with their perceptions of other people’s beliefs. Less than one-third of Americans polled in the new survey (30%) say their personal religious beliefs conflict with science, while fully two-thirds (68%) say there is no conflict between their own beliefs and science.
Moreover, the view that science and religion are often in conflict is particularly common among Americans who are, themselves, not very religiously observant (as measured by frequency of attendance at worship services). Some 73% of adults who seldom or never attend religious services say science and religion are often in conflict. By contrast, among more religiously observant Americans – those who report that they attend religious services on a weekly basis – exactly half (50%) share the view that science and religion frequently conflict.
Of the country’s major religious groups, Hispanic Catholics and white evangelical Protestants are especially likely to say science and religion are mostly compatible; roughly half of both groups take this position. But white evangelical Protestants also are somewhat more likely than members of other large religious groups to see a conflict between science and their own religious beliefs; 40% of white evangelicals say their personal beliefs sometimes conflict with science, while 57% say they do not.
So does science conflict with your faith? How about other people, does science blow religious explanation away for other people? More importantly, do you care, ?
Obviously, science is not going to change to suit religion. We are reminded that Galileo spent the last years of his life under house arrest because he wouldn’t recant his hypothesis that the earth revolved around the sun. The Church didn’t apologize for their treatment of Galileo until the latter part of the 20th century, long after a heliocentric solar system was established science.
Most of us accept that dinosaurs existed before man, yet there are theme parks in America depicting a different timeline. I personally saw a book on the shelves at Grand Canyon gift shops telling readers that the earth was only 6,000 years old, based on Biblical teachings, or someone’s biblical teaching.
As a kid, I could never get past Genesis without too many conflicting questions popping up. My parents weren’t the best at answering my questions either. I asked in class as a teenager, when I was being confirmed. Everyone cleared their throats and came up with “some of that is symbolic.”
How do you explain the inconsistencies in your faith and science? Does your world view lean more towards faith or science? Afraid I am a science leaner. (I know, no surprise.)