Do Science and Religion Really Contradict?

By Roger S.

When people say they don’t believe in religion because it contradicts science, I think it is because of erroneous interpretations of divine truths. Yes, there is a lot of misguided religion in the world, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. God’s truths are much more compatible with science than are the dogmatic beliefs dictated by some religionists’ misinterpretation of scripture.

A great example is the insistence by some that ‘God created the world in seven days, and by “day” we mean “24 hours.” Frankly this view prevalent in some man-made religions is absurd, as many sciences rightly know. In my church we are taught that the word “day” in this context only means ‘periods of time’ or phases. So the correct understanding is that God created the world in seven phases, and has not revealed anything about how long it took. We know from sound scientific methods that it took several billion years, and we know from sound religious sources that God did it.

An example of how comfortable we have always been with such things can be found near the entrance to the Mesa Arizona Temple of the church. The landscaping there includes a locally found petrified log. The plaque by the log states that is believed to be hundreds of millions of years old. This might be heresy to some religions, but to us, sound science and true religion go hand in hand.

Similarly, Brigham Young was an expert in animal husbandry. He wouldn’t have used the word “evolution,” but he wrote about how desirable aspects could be bred into animals over time, and undesirable characteristics bred out. To him it was self-evident that it is possible to have modest changes in a line over just a few generations, and major changes over larger numbers of generations.

Perhaps overzealous religionists are not the only ones guilty of failing to differentiate between what they know and what they think. Scientific observation of the fossil record clearly shows evolution of the species, but it can only theorize as to the cause behind the genesis of life. Science deals primarily with ‘what happened,’ religion deals best with ‘why it happened’, and both are poor substitutes for the other.

True science, true religion and all truths in general are harmonious and compatible. Misinterpretation caused by the overzealous is a primary cause of the apparent contradiction. A bit of humility in refraining from overstating both scientific and religious beliefs would be very helpful in enlightening the reality of both. But please don’t let the conflicts between self-evident truths and prevailing dogmas dissuade you from coming to know the reality of the living God, and His Son, Jesus Christ.

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