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Welcome to Multicultural Psychological Issues about Mental Health

Welcome to Multicultural Psychological Issues about Mental Health

Welcome to Multicultural Psychological Issues about Mental Health Welcome to Multicultural Psychological Issues about Mental Health Welcome to Multicultural Psychological Issues about Mental Health

The Relationship between Religion and Science

Science  and religion generally pursue knowledge of the universe using different methodologies. Science acknowledges reason, empiricism and evidence while religions include revelation, faith and sacredness. Despite these differences, most scientific and technical innovations prior to the scientific revolution were achieved by societies organized by religious traditions. Much of the scientific methods were pioneered first by Islamic scholars, and later by Christians. Hinduism has historically embraced reason and empiricism, holding that science brings legitimate, but incomplete knowledge of the world. Confucian thought has held different views of science over time. Most Buddhists today view science as complementary to their beliefs.

Events in Europe such as the Galileo affair, associated with the Scientific Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment, led scholars such as John William Draper to postulate a conflict thesis, holding that religion and science conflict methodologically, factually and politically. This thesis is advanced by contemporary scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg and Carl Saga and proposed by many creationist. While the conflict thesis remains popular for the public, it has lost favor among most contemporary historians of science.

Many theologians, philosophers and scientists in history have found no conflict between their faith and science. Biologist Stephen Jay Gould, other scientists, and some contemporary theologians hold that religion and science are non-overlapping magisterial fields, addressing fundamentally separate forms of knowledge and aspects of life. Scientists  Francisco Ayala, Kenneth R Miller and Francis Collins  see no necessary conflict between religion and science. Some theologians or historians of science, including  John Lennon, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimmer and Ken Wilbert proposes an interconnection between them.

Public acceptance of  scientific facts may be influenced by religion; many in the United State reject the idea of evolution by natural selection, especially regarding human beings. Nevertheless, the American National Academy of Sciences has written that "the evidence for evolution can be fully compatible with religious faith," a view officially endorsed by many religious denominations globally

It is considered that either people turn to religion as the means of reassuring themselves that their difficult, poverty-stricken lives are worthwhile or tolerable in view of the afterlife; or that people who would rather not think for themselves are easily led along by a religion that gives them pre-digested philosophy, morality, and instructions for daily life. I believe Freud, among others (especially a number of scientists), had this view of religion.

And there are many aimless people who do want to be told how to live. Religion gives them the firm foundation upon which they can build their daily lives; it stops them from making costly mistakes, and helps them find ways to care for others. In some cases, as with people who need boundaries and rules, this framework is of vital importance.

So do some people use religion too much to the point where it hurts their mental and psychological health? I would argue that anything has its abusers. We need only look at religious extremists to know that sometimes, yes, religion does cause great harm. On a smaller scale, a self-motivated, creative free-thinker can be deeply hurt by over-strict regulations and rules, to the point where a budding visionary or artist is stifled into a spiritual death. In either case, the crutch ceases to help, and starts to stunt growth.

The deliberate abuse of crutches. Yes, unscrupulous leaders (government, churches, even parents) can and do turn religion into a tool by which to manipulate and control people, to keep the oppressed silent and the militant obedient. Perhaps the promise of a better afterlife has kept, in some cases, honest people from realizing they could change the current world for the better. Perhaps the fear of undermined authority has led to the hurtful suppression of scientific knowledge, such as ideas that challenged basic tenets (e.g., the famous Gallilean story about the sun not going around the earth). The critics say that, historically, churches abused their power through terrifying teachings and indulgences that produced the deadly Spanish Inquisition and American slave trade, among other things.

The western writer and supporter of religion states that religion can and does encourage many positive changes as it has remarkable properties, e.g., faith creates confidence and hope, teaches us true humility, patience, and gratitude. It may inspire us to reach out and care for the hungry and suffering. Moreover, faith in a loving God calls people to go even further than obedience to fallible authority, to challenge and transform abusive powers, to stand up for the oppressed and downtrodden, to fight injustice even if it is done in the name of one's very own family or nation. If people really seek to know love and truth, then they will come to fight against the powers of greed, manipulation, and lies, no matter what guise they take. Hence, true religion, dedication to a higher truth and love, is the key to opening the door to the confining cages of hurt and deceit, both for us and for others. It can lead to deep, profound gains in personal growth and integrity, and can also lead to helping others out of their suffering. But what if religion is even more than a useful tool? What if it is a necessary component of life? Now, to see what I mean requires a change in viewpoint for some. IF one believes that 

  • There is a loving God who created us, who cares about us, and wants us to be happy; 
  • Love and truth are the most important attributes and are vital to lasting peace and happiness; Moving closer to God and increasing in love and truth are one and the same wings by which to take flight –
  • A natural and vital function depends wholly on what we think of God.

It is so often true that religion has been used to control and manipulate. Remember true scientists DO care about truth, and abhor lies and manipulation. Remember that a God of love and truth would want us to break free of worldly lies and manipulation, no matter whose name the manipulators and liars swear by. But also remember, there are those who DO need crutches before they can walk, much less fly. Crutches can come in all forms and shapes of belief! And lastly, we must recognize that one thing a God of love and truth would demand of anyone interested in love and truth is that we not scorn, denigrate, or despise another person, especially in regard to his or her own honestly held beliefs.

Various anthropologist, psychologists, historian and scholars from various fields of science and humanity have tried to present data on the origin of universe and human beings. Their theories and research work lead to their individual judgments as each of these authors is unreliable to convey the human limitations of age span, senses, subjectivity in drawing conclusion, memory, and thought processes.

1450 years ago, the Quran (holy book which confirms the Abraham religious books) presented in details the origin of universe and mankind, and the history of various nations who disobeyed the Creator and his messengers. For the psychological reasons, it is worth considering that all the details were revealed by a prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who was illiterate and had no formal education of science and humanity but was versed in depth of facts when he was cross-questioned by the pagans and Ahale-kitab (Jews and Christian followers) to judge the authenticity of historical data about their forefathers, holy prophets, and the holy books.

In this section, short data from the verses are added for the interest and knowledge of readers. There are so many verses which cover subject matter like

1. The origin of the universe.

2. The creation of mankind (Adam and Eve) as superior over other creatures due to knowledge.

3. The creation of Angels and Jinn prior to mankind.

4. The details about Allah (God) and His unique attributes as full authority on the universe and His creature which can’t be equated with His Kingdom of the Universe.

5. The biological aspects of mankind.

6. The purpose of creation of the universe and human beings.

7. The multiplication of living beings, and control over life and death process.

8. The creation of various nations and sending the prophets for guidance.

9. The replacement of the aggressor and disobedient people by new generations

10.The control of Allah over the universe.

11.Human behavior to act as God-like when there is no control over destiny and life.

12.Human claim of knowledge but having no control over earth, water and air which are necessities of human life.

13.Allah is more merciful and forgives but very tough on those who challenge His authenticity and control over all of creation.

14.The nature of mankind as thankless to the Creator when in prosperity, forgetting to obey His commands.

15.The revealing of holy books and the attestation of the Quran as a final, reformed book.

16.The reason for sending last prophet and his mission to clarify misunderstanding about the previous prophets and holy books.

17.Although He blessed His prophets with certain miracles, no one can go beyond his control or share any power on the earth.

18.The prophecies of the Quran regarding the rebirth, Day of Judgment for accountability on a prescribed scale of deeds of each creature.

19.Details of Heaven and Hell as the final places of settlement of the human beings based on their deeds in the present life.