Can religion and science be reconciled?

THE war between science and religion has been a long and often bitter one. In recent history, religion has generally been on the defensive, and it can be argued that to the degree religion has tried to fight science on science's own turf, religion has been the loser. Because of this, many thinkers have come to the conclusion that the whole war was a mistake anyway. They say it's not a matter of one side being ``right'' and the other ``wrong'' but of misunderstanding the proper domain of each.

They argue that just as religion can say nothing to refute or verify the discovered laws of physics, even so the physical sciences can say nothing definitive about the nonmaterial domain that religion legitimately explores and explains.

There is certainly considerable merit to this argument. Dogma, whether religious or scientific, should not be allowed to override what can be affirmed by experience. But how do we determine where one's domain and authority legitimately end and the other's begin?

If we isolate the domain of religion from the domain of science, this tends to validate the assumption that the laws of matter and biology have supreme authority in people's lives. The result is that disease, sickness, disaster, are generally accepted as unavoidable and untreatable except through material means.

Spiritual healing, as understood in Christian Science, refutes this assumption. It gives proof that God's authority can be made evident in all stages of conscious experience. It shows how science and religion can be reconciled, not materially but spiritually in the practical Christianity illustrated in the healing works of Christ Jesus.

As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains in her major work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``For centuries -- yea, always -- natural science has not been considered a part of any religion, Christianity not excepted. Even now multitudes consider that which they call science has no proper connection with faith and piety. Mystery does not enshroud Christ's teachings, and they are not theoretical and fragmentary, but practical and complete; and being practical and complete, they are not deprived of their essential vitality.''1

Christian Science asserts that spiritual experience is not abstract mysticism, having no significant effect on the world of material sensation. Rather, the effect of genuine spiritual experience literally changes consciousness and its outward manifestation, which we call ``the world out there.'' Or to put it simply, in spiritual experience there is healing.

This was basic to Mrs. Eddy's discovery. Through turning to God, her own healing of a near-fatal injury led her to revolutionary new discoveries of the spiritual order of things. She came to see that the universe of Spirit is actually the only real universe and is discernible here and now to spiritual sense. She saw that the universe of the physical senses, the realm of matter, which seems so solid and which we label ``reality,'' is actually a dream-scape, the product of what St. Paul termed the carnal mind and what she called mortal mind.

In order to distinguish the transcendent laws of Spirit from the temporal laws of the sensory world of matter, she capitalized the word science to indicate their divinity. In this divine Science she saw fulfillment of Jesus' promise of the Comforter that would ``teach [us] all things,'' the ``Spirit of truth'' that would ``guide [us] into all truth.''2

Today, thousands of people are proving in the laboratory of their own lives that religion can be scientific and that Science can be truly Christian. Christian Science asks a person to believe nothing that cannot be tested by experience. That God is real, that He is knowable, that He loves us, that we are His spiritual likeness, reflecting His perfection and goodness, that He has instituted eternal laws that heal and save -- these are things to prove for oneself. As in any scientific investigation, all that this Science asks is that you approach it openly, honestly, without preconception or prejudice.

Read Science and Health. Study it with the Bible. See if what it says is Biblical, practical, and demonstrable. Many have found it to be what they've been looking for. Why not find out for yourself?

1Science and Health, p. 98. 2John 14:26; 16:13. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

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