When Religion and Science Collide
from Coffeemaker to The Maker
I start this talk by saying ‘a coffeemaker machine changed my life’. Why and how the coffeemaker has a significant impact in my life. I tell you my story.
Currently, I’m working as academic assistant. Because of it, I have a privilege to sit in one room and interact with several Ph.D. candidates, doctors, and even professors. Something interesting start to happens when one of them decides to buy a coffeemaker from Krups and put the machine in our work space as a common facility.
A real interesting things happened when the salesperson and technician from Krups started to setup the machine in our room and started ‘lecturing’ about how to operate the machine to two of us. It gave me a surreal feeling to see a salesperson ‘dare’ to give a lecture to two doctors that graduated from Japan, one of them studied a robotic arm for automation production and the other developed an algorithm for intelligent manufacturing system, and they were really listening to the salesperson. In addition of that, an absurd and funny thing happened when a red light indicator started to flash and the machine stopped operating. Two doctors and three of Ph.D. candidate tried to solve the problem, and try to guess what happen next? One of us searched the machine packaging box and looked for a manual instruction. Clever isn’t?
The way I see it, the listening to the sales person and the searching for manual instruction things is a manifestation of high intelligence and great wisdom. Not because the doctors can’t research or study on how the machine operate, the listening and the searching thing happens because the doctor knows it takes time and source to do the research and it will be more efficient and effective to learn from the machine designer, who already know everything about the machines. Since it impractical to directly meet designer, we must learn from representative of the designer, in this case, are the salesperson and the manual instruction. We believe the salesperson and the manual instruction are one-way communicating tools from designer to the user to inseminate knowledge about the machine.
In this point, my head starts to explode and excitement burst from my heart. I found that those whole story of coffeemaker can be an analogy to explain about religion. In addition of that, from that explanation, we can define the religion and compare it with science. Before we compare religion with science, lets take a look on ‘explaining religion by coffeemaker’.
Analogy is a common technique to describe an abstract concept in a way that people can understand it easily. You can see a lot of ‘popular scientist’ in NatGeo, BBC, or even Youtube, use this technique to explain complex things to a common viewer. In this talk, I use the analogy technique to describe the importance of religion to people who unfamiliar with it but familiar with science.
From the story about coffeemaker above, we can make an analogy to describe easily why religion is important. Let’s assume that coffeemaker machine represents our body, our world, and our universe. We should use it properly as effective, efficient, and sustain as possible. The doctor (user) represents us as human as a user of our body, our world, our universe. Machine designer, who know every detail things about the machine that he created, represents God The Creator, The Great Designer. Manual instruction, which contains a lot of instruction and explanation on why, how, what to use the machine properly, represent The Holy Book. The salesperson, who trained and guided by some subordinates of the designer or even by the designer himself, represents the prophet, who trained and guided by angels and even by the God himself. This is the coffeemaker and religion analog
That analogy can help us to easily describe the importance of religion for humanity. In simple words, religion is the most effective and efficient way to govern how human use their body and their universe. Religion through Prophets and Holy Book try to help us to explain how the world works and try to tell us what should we do for ourselves benefit, like the coffeemaker’s salesperson and manual instruction do. Thus, we can use our body and world effectively, efficiently, and sustain as possible.
In some way, religion seems restricting our freedom to express and to do whatever we want. Although that, religion consist of a set of rule that designed by God for ourselves long-term benefit. Just like the coffeemaker machine designer who forbid the user to put the milk into input bin. The user can easily change the input from mineral water into milk, so the user can get cappuccino or coffee latte instantly. By doing that, the user can get short term benefit. Instead of there is a benefit, why the designer forbid user to doing such things. It’s because designer knows that milk can leaves a crust in the pipe and that crust can affect the quality and flavor of the pure cup of coffee.
That analogy can explain why God makes a rule for dividing inheritance -where man get more portion than woman-, make a rule for doing business, make a rule for punishing people who committed a crime, and make a lot of set of rule that sometimes seems like an unfair thing. Why? analog to designer and user, God knows things that human don’t know and God cares about long-term benefit for the human. Because of God design and creates human, God knows every little detail thing about human capability and weakness. From that knowledge, God designs a way of life, that we called religion, which consists a set of rule that can enhance human capability and suppress human weakness. Analog to designer, salesperson, and manual instruction, God explain that way of life to human by sending Prophets and Holy Books.
I would say that coffeemaker analogy thing can’t perfectly describe about religion. Nevertheless, it safe to say that, this is a good starting point to explain the importance of religion to whom ask about it. Curiosity is a good sign of searching the truth but we must provide it with a great and clear answer. And at the end, I realized there are a lot of room for improvement in my talk, so I will welcome any comment with a lot of gratitude. Besides of all that things, let’s take a sip of our coffee and enjoy the sunset.