The essay topic requires us to understand the differences between science and religion and the relationship between the two domains in their historical context. Both these terms ‘science’ and ‘religion’, although often used as convenient labels, encompass a vast range of human experience and achievements falling within their respective ambit.Our purpose here is to tease out what is generally regarded as science and compare and contrast it with what is universally recognised as established religion. Some characteristics can be attributed from the essay topic itself where science is associated with ‘proof’ and religion is associated with ‘belief’, although it is made clear that this way of separating the two domains would ‘limit (our) understanding of the issues’. It would therefore be helpful to first try to define and explain what science is and repeat the process with religion. Indeed, since religion antedates science as a historical phenomenon, it may be advisable to start with an explanation of what we understand by the term religion.A religion is a set of common beliefs and practices generally held by a group of people, often codified as prayer, ritual, and religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience… Religion is often described as a communal system for the coherence of belief focusing on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, traditions, rituals, and scriptures are often traditionally associated with the core belief and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy. Religion is also often described as a way of life.That is where religion, broadly defined as the repository of human values come into play. There is a case for ecumenical activity in this age of globalization to try and bring the best of world religions under one roof, as it were. For example, Buddhism advocates a world view that is highly compatible with scientific endeavor. ‘Buddhism’s investigation of Dharma precludes the use of numerous non-systematic methods and sources, including authority, common sense, opinions, tradition, and scripture’.
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