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Custom Faith and Reason essay paper
In all the history of humankind, people have questioned all the inexplicable aspects of nature. Once man acquired an explanation of one mystery, another bigger mystery would be unveiled in the quest. In this essence, human beings have progressively discovered that their knowledge is miniature, and that nature has much more than they have already discovered. Human beings have devised the wide discipline of science that can explain some of the mysteries of the universe. Some of the man’ doubtfulness about nature does not seem to have any satisfactory answers in scientific terms, and even the available scientific methods have failed to solve these mysteries.
Invoking the Importance of Religion and Science
Due to various unsolved mysteries, people have resulted to faith in a mysterious existence that is beyond their understanding to satisfy their curiosity and the restlessness of their minds. Furthermore, faith has generated religion, which defines the various distinct beliefs that the majority of the world’s societies have adopted. Human beings have adopted two dominant religions. These are Islam and Christianity. These two religions have a peculiar similarity in most of their fundamental doctrines. Moreover, the two religions share the concept of God, theory of creation, theory of ultimate fate of man and the basic philosophy of life (Swinburne 1979).
Most of the teachings of both religions seem to defy the human understanding of nature. However, people cannot totally dispute the theories of religion since presently there is no single person or authority that can offer an adequate explanation of mysteries of nature. Religion explains every single aspect of nature to any person who chooses to belief with little or no scientific evidence to support the theory. In this regard, it can be argued that for a religion to offer a satisfactory explanation to all mysteries of nature, a combination of reason and faith has to dominate peoples’ minds (Overman, 2009).
The Christian Doctrines
To examine the nature and basis of the two religions, the analysis of the concept of God from the perspective of both religions and science is crucial. Christianity, for instance, teaches the theory of the existence of an all-powerful supreme deity whose ability is immeasurable and infinite. In addition, the Christian doctrines teach that God exists for an infinite length of time that will last forever, a concept that human beings have not yet remotely understood. The religion also teaches that God is infinitely knowledgeable and the knowledge attributed to Him is immeasurable. Moreover, human beings are advised to refrain from trying to understand God or get into a contest with Him since such actions will not yield any answers, but may result in their destruction or suffering. Christianity preaches of an omnipresent God who can perceive all the actions of humankind even through physical and opaque barriers. At the same time, God is supposed to be residing in heaven, a place of infinite joy and great material wealth (Swinburne, 1979). Christianity also argues that the universe came into existence through the power of God. He created everything in seven days and bestowed authority upon man over this creation. According to the Christianity’s account, God had existed before everything else and was in fact, present at the beginning of time, another aspect of nature that does not have any satisfactory scientific explanation. Christianity has however left the discretion of believing in its explanation to whoever who opts to listen to its teachings.
Islam, on the other hand, has a similar explanation of all physical phenomena. Its theory of creation is significantly similar to that of Christianity although to a much lesser detail. Islam emerged over six centuries after the inception of Christianity. It is thought to have borrowed some of its theories from the Christian religion, and the indigenous religions of Asia. The account of Islam is considerably similar to the Christian theory regarding the creation and the fall of man. However, Islam disputes the legitimacy of Christianity and denounces all other beliefs. To examine the concept of religion, one must take a neutral stance over the superiority of both religions over each other (Swinburne, 1979). They both satisfy the basic definition of a religion, and are the two most widespread religions in the world.
Both Christianity and Islam concur on the theory that explains the ultimate fate of all the earth’s inhabitants and the earth itself. The common theory is that at one time, the world’s existence will be terminated by an apocalyptic event because of the enormous power that the heavenly beings, at the whim of God, will visit upon earth. In addition, the souls of all the human being who ever lived on earth will be separated into two categories of good and bad. Their rewards will be either an eternal life or eternal incineration respectively. The existence of souls, spirits, and the ability to foretell accurately the future events are not explicable by any scientific means (Swinburne, 1979). In addition, the theory of creation and the nurturing of a creation that its creator will destroy are not clearly understood
Most people, including the believers of these mainstream religions, do not find any logical explanations in the religions theories. One reason is that man has known energy and power to be finite physical quantities that are measurable by physical means or approximation. The theory of an aspect of existence with an infinite amount of power and infinite capabilities is not conceivable as a physical reality among the average human beings and even in the realm of science. Both religions postulate that God was present before the beginning of everything, including time. On the contrary, scientists and the average human beings believe that existence is inseparably and directly related to time, and all forms of existence are related and occur within a specific period. In this regard, for a person to believe that God existed before time, and in that respect space, a great deal of faith is required since the idea of existence before time is objectionable (Overman, 2009).
Logical Thinking in Religion and Science
The most contentious issue concerning the rivalry between the religions explanation of the existence of God and the human being perception is the theory of creation. One significant disparity in the opposing theories is the chronology of events in the period that creation supposedly occurred. The accounts of both the Christianity and Islam suggest that the universe came into being within a week’s time, during which all life was created and man was put in charge. This theory and the account of the development of today’s society by the theories of the religions, indicate that the world is a few millennia old, and that all the physical features on the earth have undergone minimal changes since the day of creation (Muncaster, 2000). On the other hand, science and man’s reasoning offers a more moderate explanation to the emergence of life on earth and the metamorphosis of all life forms from one single organic matter to the differentiated variation that life presents today. Scientific methods within the understanding of man postulate that the world is several billion years old. This adequately explains the presence of the physical phenomena such as glaciated mountains, fossils, great valleys carved out by persistent erosion by rivers and other evidence of elapsing of ages. When it comes to the existence of time, just like the theories of the religions, no scientific theory can account for the beginning of time. In addition, the world and the universe as a whole present a state of order that defies the explanation that mere probability led to the current state of things. The world seems to be in a state of balance except for the disturbances that man has created in a bid to expand human influence and knowledge. In this regard, it seems that only an intelligent being is capable of such an accurate creation. Furthermore, the human explanation that the complexity and the order that prevails in the universe are because of probabilistic events seems like an absurd fallacy. In this essence, faith, such as that found in both Christianity and Islam is the only acceptable means of explaining the seemingly intended perfect state of the universe (Muncaster, 2000).
Scientific Theory and the Philosophy of René Descartes
It is not possible to prove incontrovertibly the existence of God by any known physical means or explanation. Adopting a scientific explanation that offers a satisfactory answer explaining the existence of the universe over a finite period of history may pose a danger of ignoring the concept of the beginning of time, which has yet to be established through any scientific means (Muncaster, 2000). In addition, the existence of God is another contentious issue, which has been analyzed by various philosophers and theorists in a bid to reach a rational explanation. René Descartes, a philosopher, attempted to explain every form of perceived existence as a camouflaged generation of the human senses. He is rational about his every thought and does not present any of his opinions as a truth, but as perceptions, which are possible subjects of deception. According to Descartes, there are no specific means of determining the truth as to who created the universe and the source of all the nature’s mysteries. The philosopher speculates that not all things that are perceived to exist may be from one source as most theories seek to postulate. He casts doubts as to whether anything exists at all. He argues that everything could just be a result of perception and may not really exist. René postulates that the human mind, which is a creation of God, is not able to know everything (Descartes et al, 1993). He reasons that if the creator saw it fit to create the mind, he would not have thought on putting a deviant character in it that would dispute the existence of the creator himself. Islam and Christianity depict God as an existence free of any form of imperfection. On the other hand, a critical examination by René Descartes seems to imply that God ought to have created a person in his own image who reflects the perfect nature of God free of any imperfect thoughts. In this regard, the philosopher implies that the belief in God has not been conjured up by human beings, but has another supernatural origin, which must be God himself. René acts again to contradict himself by arguing that the possibility that all theories and beliefs are a result of perception makes his theories relative, and subject to imperfections of the human being (Descartes et al, 1993).
In the analysis of the scientific account of existence, one finds that even the scientific explanation of the existence of god requires some amount of faith concerning things that are significantly complex to prove physically. The philosopher, René Descartes, demonstrates the complexity of GOD’s concept. However, the account of both the Christianity and Islam concerning the existence of God seems to rely on faith more than physical proof and facts.