On the Spirit that Haunts

In essence, both science and religion are both based on beliefs; science on unverifiable hypothesis like evolution and the Big Bang theory, and religion on the mystic powers of spirituality and God. Five centuries ago, the claims of religion would probably be accepted as true, and science would seem no more than a theory. After all, it is but natural to assume that the earth is stationary and we were created as we are. Time does changes a lot, and in the case of spiritual beliefs, they are now made to seem like the weirdest theories ever floated. Ultimately, both religion and science try to answer the same questions – the question why the world is how we see it. While this debate has filled many a page of many a book, a curious thought entered my head the other day, which is what I would like to pen down.

Science these days is drilled into our heads, even before we can begin to start questioning the truth of the statements we are told. Incredulous statements on the lines of “Light is a wave” and “Carbon Dioxide causes Global Warming“, are made in books which we are hence forced to accept; and this has made science an integral part of the way you think. Such an impression science makes, that any thought contrary to what science tells you, is never entertained. The logic of science some say is infallible. However, science has its roots in basic assumptions, in beliefs which you are never told, which are so subtly hidden, that to any kid, science seems like a continuous logical flow. This is as opposed to the view spirituality holds. Spiritual practices are rarely questioned, and therefore the belief in them has died down. People dont question because the answers are not self evident, and what be the point of a question if you dont have an answer. Spiritual texts are written in alien languages which none can comprehend. When you dont understand the language, will prayers have a meaning ?.

Relatively, modern science has existed for a period of only 500 years, while records of spirituality have existed for far longer. And science in this relatively small period has made an enormous impact on the way we live. It is my belief that spiritual texts are vast store houses of insightful information, of a different kind albeit. It is unfortunate that science has taken such a precedent in the sphere of education that religious education has taken a back seat. Even in schools and homes where it has not, the education majorly involves following practices without knowing why, and reciting verses in a language you dont know, and hence whose beauty you cant comprehend.

6 thoughts on “On the Spirit that Haunts

  1. Good point. The problem with introducing (re-introducing) religious studies in classrooms is obvious; which world-view do you discuss in the class room? The utopian idea of “each one his” because “all religions lead to the same destination” doesn’t work because religions are mutually exclusive (at least some of them) – Religions like Islam and Christianity profess exclusivity (and that is a core principle in each faith). So in the end, we’d have discussions with no conclusions to draw from except that each one follow what he learns – which is quite subjective. So in the end we’re talking about changing the very philosophy of education – which currently advocates an objective treatment of subjects. This is why a big fuss is made about re-writing history books and all; if subjectivity were allowed in classrooms, that wouldn’t be required.
    In my opinion, the education system shouldn’t take on the mandate for religious studies; that is better handled by the religious institutions. That many of these institutions have failed to do so is unfortunate.
    However point well taken. Appreciate you taking such a stand when the popular view is to shun religious stuff as irrational.

    1. Thanks.
      I agree that the idea of religion being taught in public schools may not be a good idea. However, I was referring to those schools where religion is taught in the form of say reading verses from the Bhagvad Gita, or meditation, etc. In these schools, the purpose of this education is not realized because of the way it is taught.

  2. Awesome post. We should not forget that every new invention is first laughed at, be it the aeroplane or the telephone but finally it is proven to be true. When we talk of people flying and seeing something from miles apart, people don’t believe it. Why? Don’t we have televisions today? Don’t we have choppers today? If you go deep in religion, you will find a great science where modern science has not even reached.

  3. “science on unverifiable hypothesis like evolution”??? Woah. Let me just play devil’s advocate here. There is irrefutable proof of evolution in the genetic code we carry and the entire human genome project proves that we share a common ancestry with other apes. Not sure if you were trying to be poetic with statements like this!!

  4. I guess he meant to say that eventually you need to exercise faith, or belief in either science or religion. Thats the bigger point, not whether or not evolution is verifiable.
    When you say that evolution is verifiable (based on irrefutable proof), you believe that logic and experiment are authentic ways of explaining reality. He seems to question the basic assumptions in science such as causality, empiricity, consistency etc, which i feel is a valid question.

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