How to Balance Religion and Science

I always assumed that men and women of science did not believe in a god or any form of higher power. I was very surprised to learn that in a survey of members of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science conducted in 2009 by the Pew Research Center 51% of scientists said they believed in God or a higher power.

There is a common conception that scientists cannot believe in science and religion at the same time. Issues like evolution paint science and religion as mortal enemies. Many scientific findings, such as the Big Bang Theory, contradict religious explanations. So to find out that 51% of scientists believe in a God raises a lot of questions: How can they believe in two things that contradict each other so much? Which one is more important? How do they keep their faith alive when scientific evidence offers a different opinion?

It’s difficult to answer these questions, because each scientist may have their own unique way to balance the two. An example of this would be physicist Alan Lightman, who has said “As a scientist, I don’t believe science will ever discover whether God exists. Nor do I believe religion will ever prove it.” This shows that religion AND science cannot answer every question, and that religion can give answers to certain questions; the same for science. But when both science and religion have contradicting answers for the same topic, then men and women of science must look within themselves to find their own answer.