Relate Religion and Science Thesis

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¶ … Religion and Science

Science & Religion an Introduction

Science and religion, though seemingly in constant conflict and contradiction of one another still tend to coexist in the modern world with only limited conflicts. Most people, including the majority of scientists themselves report some belief in a higher power and many in the U.S. purport that this higher power is a Christian God. "Of course, the great scientists of the scientific revolution were not atheists, and many scientists today believe in God." (Nord, 1999, p. 28) In one relatively well-known book one scientists even claims that the ability and in fact benefit of believing in a higher power, i.e. A God is hard wired into our brains, though the work is highly contested and not very science based it is an interesting hypothesis that may hold more water in the future, (Hamer, 2005) as science and particularly medical science begin to look more closely at this issue. (Koenig, 2008, p. 4) Additionally, some on the science side profess that proof of "a god gene" supports science over faith, while detractors emphasize the shortcomings of the theory and again stress that God created man and therefore if such "gene" exists it is because God put it there.

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It is then fair to say that despite the inherent conflict between science and religion, in most cases, among individuals they coexist, with some believing that science and/or religion plays more or less of a part in existence and nature. Though there are some who purport that science and religion are incongruent and side either with science or with religion, this is generally the exception. To some degree science is divorced from spirituality; "…modern science assumes that God is irrelevant to understanding nature, for scientific method prohibits appeals to miracles, divine purposes, religious experience, or scripture." (Nord, 1999, p. 28) While we must make clear that even hard core scientists still often report a belief in divine, they simply assume that "faith" issues cannot be tested with science and that to some degree there is no need to, as "faith" itself defined is the description given to a belief in something that cannot be seen or more importantly proven and that one simply believes.

Thesis on Relate Religion and Science Assignment

Religion & the Science of Medicine / The General Rule of Moderation

Religion and the science of medicine, among most also hold a relatively constant coexistence, with only limited interference. There is a current movement in the mainstream to link religion with health, as it has been shown repeatedly that the state of one's mind and beliefs do influence health and healing, most believers assume a marginal involvement and support prayer and religious intervention as secondary, though important to medical care. Many people, doctors, scientists and the general public believe that faith has a great deal to do with physical and mental health and modern medicine is increasingly interested in these connections, though much is still preliminary and in discussion. (Koenig, 2008, p. 4) In fact a great deal of medical science is supported and provided by religious institutions and most by people who have belief in God. Yet, some individuals and churches hold strong convictions regarding medical care, claiming that all illness and injury is caused by sin and that faith and prayer will elicit appropriate intervention from God, if it is warranted. For an adult to claim and live by this tenet is his or her right, all adults have the right to refuse medical care when and if it is needed.

The problem arises when adults with dependant children make the choice to completely refuse modern medical care for children, in the name of faith. (Peters, 2008) It is in fact at this point for many that there is a complete rift between science and religion, as most contest that some very basic care and all emergent care should be provided to children, so they may fully develop and come of age to make a decision on their own about the part that faith will play in their medical care. Modern medical science has provided many foundational interventions for treatable and even preventable disease that are often even relatively minor. Most of us take our children to the doctor for immunizations and in fact cannot enroll our children in school without them, that is without legally opting out for the sake of faith. Most of us would take or child to the doctor if he or she was bleeding uncontrollably was stung by many bees or was losing weight at an extreme rate, incongruent with his or her intake. Most of us even take our children to the doctor for routine medical exams when the child is not even sick, called well children visits that begin as soon as they are born, as a way to provide early detection of any needed health or wellness intervention. "Now when we are sick. We see our doctor and ask our pastor to pray for us." (Barnes and Sered, 2005, p. 450)

Religion & Medicine in Conflict

There is evidence of a growing number of faiths, and practitioners of them that have extreme and strict rules regarding medical intervention, and faith is such a demonstrative part of human identity (more so for some than others) that even the thought of seeking medical care, rather than prayer, as an intervention for disease or injury is beyond comprehension. (Swan, 2000, p. 11) Though these cases are the exception rather than the rule, hundreds of children have died over the last few years from preventable or treatable disease or injury because their seemingly loving parents refused to provide even moderate medical care when they were ill or injured because their faith teaches them that medical care is unnecessary and even aberrant and faith healing is the only answer. In fact the only alternative, as like the Christian Science Church attests seeking medical care voluntarily eliminates the opportunity for faith healing. (Swan, 2000, p. 11) Swan's article lists seventeen faiths that have been involved in litigation regarding this phenomena; * Bible Believers' Fellowship,* Christ Assembly,* Christ Miracle Healing Center, * Christian Science,* Church of God Chapel,* Church of God of the Union Assembly, * Church of the First Born,* End Time Ministries,* Faith Assembly,* Faith Tabernacle, * Followers of Christ, * Holiness Church, * Jehovah's Witnesses (only objection today is to blood transfusions), * Jesus through Jon and Judy, * "No Name" fellowship, * Northeast Kingdom Community Church, * The Source. (Swan, 2000, p. 11) While still others stress the importance of faith healing, making some exceptions for children, or even like the Seventh Day Adventists who have created an alternative treatment system for treating individuals without the use of transfusions or transplantation of any kind. Religion and medicine, in some minds are completely incompatible. There are also some faiths that stress the practice of different types of alternative medicine, sometimes to the betterment of health and other times to its demise. (Barnes & Sered, 2005, p. 435) In most cases extremes and life and death situations are not faced, while in some the incongruence of faith and medicine end with death or even permanent disability. (Swan, 2000, p. 11)

In the 2000, Swan article written by a mother who once was so caught up in the teachings of her faith that they allowed their son, (in 1977) to go without treatment for meningitis, a form of which has been treatable with antibiotics since the 1940s and is now preventable with vaccination, describes 11 cases that occurred in the 80s and 90s in the U.S. And Canada, that have resulted in the death of children for lack of medical treatment, and many more have occurred since then despite the grueling warnings and headlines regarding legal action being taken after the deaths occurred. In most of the cases that Swan details parents were charged with crimes but were later exonerated due to constitutional religious protection clauses and technicalities. In the list are several particularly troubling cases as these children died of treatable chronic diseases, like type 1 diabetes, bee stings, meningitis and hemophilia and had months or at least days of deterioration with many faith interventions, often reiterating the need to continue to use prayer and not seek medical treatment. Even more cases of such seeming neglect, are more recent and can be read about in Peters' 2008, book titled: When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children and the Law. This work deals with the legal ramifications in the past and present for parents of children who refuse medical care on the basis of faith. Cases of such "neglect" resulting in legal ramifications for parents have been presenting the U.S. legal system for more than 100 years and for the most part have been supported by constitutional law, though there are a few exceptions where parents' and others actions and mitigating circumstances have resulted in charges or civil rulings. (Peters, 2008, p. 9)

Discussion

The trend toward changing laws to counteract the extreme that are… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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