A commonly held presupposition science creates a thirst for knowledge which cannot be reconciled with religion, and thus becomes the root of evil, leading the issues found in modern society; violence, teenage pregnancy, and the absence of family values. Today the viewpoint of society is no longer limited to an individual community, city, state or even country. The technological advances which have allowed for the real time access of information from around the world have also lead sharing of negative day to day events. In a sense we are seeing the world with eyes wide open, and must now rationalize the negative with our individual value systems. Sorokin (1941), explains in The Crisis of Our Age, how society is unable to reconcile truth and history, or in this case science with religion. Society attempts to put all known truths into the category of a single system, while multi systems are inherently required (p. 86).
Hidden within the presupposition of the downfall of modern society rests several false assumptions. First the fault behind a person’s bad acts rest solely on the deprivation of religion, and the lack of importance now placed on religious affiliation by society. Sorokin (1941), states “ . . . the degradation of truth, man is dragged down from his lofty pedestal as a seeker after truth, as an absolute value, to the level of an animal who tend, by means of various ‘ideologies’, ‘rationalizations’, and ‘derivations’, to exalt his greed, his appetites, and his egoism” (p. 101). I disagree with this assumption, and with Sorokin (1941), as although religious principles serve as a standard of behavior, it is not the sole reason to act within the established boundaries.
It becomes far too easy to push responsibility for deficits in human behavior into this box alone. What level of self-control should be required, outside of religious affiliation and teachings? The basis for action cannot be solely linked to our belief system, however it is our environment and experiences which determine who we are, and what we do (Mezirow, p.55 1991). As illuminated by Beck (2008), the moral struggle is internal with competing forces of good and evil (p. 1).
Another faulty false assumption is that religion is disappearing from modern society. Stark (2000), notes that religion is often a reflection of society of worshipers (p. 7). Where organized religion may be shifting to less formal, private, spiritual worship the importance in development of ethical guidelines and cultural symbols remains. Religious principles regularly form the basis for many of the political policies, ethical guidepost, and evolution of the legal system. As described by Mezirow (1991), the ability of society to communicate prevents society from losing perspective (p. 50). Sorokin (1944) warned society of the disastrous outcome if the culture fails to adopt change in the system of truth (p 107). Where the assumption is leading society to belief that religion is disappearing, it is mere transformation in form based on the needs of society as a whole.
A final assumption is that in some manner scientific findings and advancement in some way disprove religious teachings. This is likely the most publicized assumption, as it is a common misperception that religious principles are illogical. When looking tenants of any religion under the microscope of logic, there are questions of fact and ability. I am a Christian, and a tenant of the teachings is the ability to look past the logical and see with faith rather than thought.
How we assimilate religious tenants with scientific principles requires the ability to analyze and look past what is in black and white. Fuller (2007), discusses the development of the “intelligent design theory”, which through transformative theory has adapted religion and science to create a comprehensive theory of creation (p. 2). Fuller (2007), and Sorokin (1944) each present an egocentric rationalization in the issue in the battle between science and religion. Briefly stated, if the human form is nothing more than chemistry we lose the sanctity of life.
“With the degradation of truth, man is dragged down from his lofty pedestal as a seeker after truth, as an absolute value, to the level of an animal who tend, by means of various ‘ideologies’, ‘rationalizations’, and ‘derivations’, to exalt his greed, his appetites, and his egoism” (Sorokin, p. 101, 1944). Although this citation was previously stated, this sums up why we as a society must not fall victim to the false assumption. We are responsible for our own actions, the beliefs that we choose, and how we value our own role in society.
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