Science and Religion

02
Jan

Dev Dharma is not the only religion in the history of religion, just as experimental Physics is not the only Physics in the history of Physics. All sciences and institutions have history, which means there have been changes in them. We can notice growth and development in them. We know how

modern experimental Physics differs from the speculative Physics of Aristotle, The modern Physics

is so much superior to Aristotelian Physics in its width and depth of knowledge. It is scientific in

character, which means that its results are verified by scientific method. The greatest discovery of man

in the field of knowledge is the scientific method. It has yielded a harvest of knowledge, unimaginable

to man before its discovery and the development of scientific instruments. Scientific knowledge

is standard of true knowledge of whatever exists. Today all education is oriented to scientific

knowledge. It is to be the blood of our blood and bone of our bones. We are to be saturated with it.

It is irreplaceable by any other form of knowledge about the universe. This scientific knowledge is

modifying all our social institutions. Religion as a social institution cannot be exception to it. If it

is to survive as a crucial institution of society and play effective part in our life it must be scientific.

If there is conflict between science and religion, religion has to quit, for scientific truths cannot be

rejected. There must, therefore, be no conflict between science and religion. But if religion holds

on to God, the conflict between science and religion is unavoidable.

 

Let us hear what the greatest physicist of the twentieth century, Einstein, says in his autobiography ‘Out of the Later Years’ on this issue: “Though I have asserted above that in truth a legitimate conflict between religion and science cannot exist, I must nevertheless qualify this assertion once again on an essential point, with reference to the actual content of historical religions. This qualification has to do with the concept of God. During the youthful period of mankind’s spiritual evolution

human fantasy created gods in man’s own image, who by the operation of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to influence the phenomenal world. Man sought to alter the disposition of these gods in his own favour by means of magic and prayer. The idea of God in the religions taught at present, is a sublimation of that old conception of the gods. Its anthropomorphic character is shown, for instance, by the fact, that man appeals to the Divine Being in prayers and pleads for the fulfilment of his wishes.

“There are decisive weaknesses attached to this idea in itself, which have been painfully felt

since the beginning of history. That is, if this being is omnipotent then every occurance, including

every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration

is also His work;  how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such anAlmighty Being?

In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgement on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?

 

“The main source of the present-day conflicts between the spheres of religion and of science lies in this concept of a personal God. It is the aim of science to establish general rules which determine the reciprocal connection of objects and events in time and space. The more a man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events, the firmer becomes his conviction that there is no room left by the side of this ordered regularity for causes of a different nature. For him neither the rule of human nor the rule of divine will exist as an independent cause of natural events.

 

“In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of personal God, that is, give up the source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vast power in the hands of priests. In their labours they will have to avail themselves of those forces which are capable of cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in humanity itself. This is, to be sure, a more difficult but an imcomparably more worthy task” .

The idea of impersonal God, a Brahman, is no less unscientific. Here it is best to quote

Buddha:

“If the world has not been created by Isvara, may not all existence be manifestation of the Absolute, the unconditioned, the unknowable behind all appearances ?” Said the Blessed One to Anthapindika. “If by the Absolute is meant something out of relation to all known things, its existence cannot be established by any reasoning.

How can we know that anything unrelated to other things exists at all? The whole universe as we know it, is a system of relations. We know nothing that is, or can be, unrelated. How can that which depends on nothing and is related to nothing produce things which are related to one another and depend for their existence upon one another? Again, is the Absolute one or many? If it be only one, how can it be the cause of the different things, which originate, as we know, from different causes? If there be as many different Absolutes as there are things, how can the latter be related to one another? If the Absolute pervades all things and fills all space, then it cannot also make them, for there is nothing to make. Further, if the Absolute is devoid of all qualities (‘nirguna’), all things arising from it ought, likewise, to be devoid of quality.

But in reality all things in the world are circumscribed throughout by qualities. Hence, the Absolute cannot be their cause. If the Absolute be considered to be different from the qualities, how does

it continually create the things possessing such qualities and manifest itself in them? Again, if the

Absolute be unchangeable all things should be unchangeable too, for the effect cannot differ in nature

from the cause. But all things in the world undergo change and decay. How then can the Absolute be

unchangeable? Moreover, if the Absolute which pervades all is the cause of everything, why should

we seek liberation? For we ourselves possess this Absolute and must patiently endure every suffering

and sorrow incessantly created by the Absolute.” (Asvaghosa’s Budhacharita)

The scientific mind needs a non-theistic and non absolutist scientific religion. As Julian Huxley, the great biologist puts it: “The belief of this religion…. are not revelations in the supernatural sense, but are the revelations that science and learning have given us about man and the universe.” Dev Dharma offers us a scientific religion. Bhagwan Dev Atma, the founder of Dev Dharma thus states the method of his investigation in his autobiography, Mujh Men Dev Jiwan Ka Vikas, The Evolution of Divine life in me Vol. I Chapter xvii: “After I abandoned the belief in God and came to develop perfect love for the scientific method for arriving at truth, I could accept only such knowledge as was proved correct by that method. Nothing remained worthy of belief merely because it was ancient or modern, current or non-current, calamitous or non-calamitous, swadeshi or foreign. Whatever could be proved and tested as true by the scientific method, was alone worthy of acceptance for me, and an investigation into all that became the prime motive of my life”. He further affirms it in chapter

xxvi thus: “From this time. Vishva Tattwa and Manush Tattwa formed the chief topics of my study.

The canons of scientific method of investigation which were essential in all such studies acquired

complete sway over my heart. The principles of experimental interrogation together with right logic

had captured my heart to such an extent, that it became impossible for me to accept any knowledge

merely on the basis of imagination or blind faith”.

This shows how the founder of Dev Dharma holds with science that whatever be the source

of a belief, its verification by scientific method alone stamps it with truth. It holds with science

that universe is self-sufficient and whatever occurs in Nature, be it physical, chemical, biological,

psychical, ethical or spiritual, has its explanations within Nature. We are not to look out of the world

for disembodied existences like God or Purusha to explain the origin and occurrence of anything

in it. Man, his body and soul, are both part and parcel of Nature in their origin, development and

fulfilment. All ideals and values are grounded in man’s nature. To sum up in the words of an American Philosopher, Santayana “Everything ideal has a natural basis and everything natural an ideal development.”

 

Dev Dharma is the only religion that can claim to be scientific in spirit, for it alone openly accepts

scientific method as necessary for truth discovery and verification in the field of religion. When it is

said that Dev Dharma is scientific in spirit it means more than that it rejects super-

naturalism or it accepts the findings of science at any particular period. It means that like science it accepts that no belief is too sacred to be re-examined or re-evaluated or rejected if new facts come to light which make that imperative. Just as it is no loss to the prestige of science, rather it is to its glorification when it modifies any one of its theories to meet the demand of facts and truths, similarly Dev Dharma holds it to be its glory that it permits its beliefs to be revised if scientific method so demands it.

No theistic religion, traditional or modern, makes this commitment to scientific method.

Therefore, Dev Dharma alone avoids conflicts between science and religion for it accepts with it that

scientific verification is necessary for a belief to be true. This is the first offering that Dev Dharma makes to modern man in search of a religion which does not compromise his scientific make up.