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When I was in college, I had to answer a question on the difference between science and religion for a course known as the Foundation Course (FC - I don’t know if they still have it). The tilt of the text books was naturally biased toward science. My proclivity towards
Aristotelian logic made me biased towards science too and at that time I was an avowed atheist. As an answer to the above question I wrote all that was expected of me but as the last point I wrote something that was my own thought. I wrote - “Ultimately science and religion are
both instruments of war. Science provides the means, religion provides the motives.” My professor read out my answer in class and said to me, “you have just realised that there are answers beyond text books. I am not saying you’re right but I can say that you are on your way.”
When I became a music composer, I slowly came to realise that there is something about music that is beyond physics. Music is not just frequencies and the theory of sound. It is that and much more. That ‘much more’ is not in the realm of science. Science may teach us to divide a
flower into parts like the petals, the anther, the stamen, the stigma and so on and put the different parts into different bottles. But in doing so there will be no bottle named ‘beauty’. The sum of all its parts is not the whole of the flower. We oversimplify by conflating the
realms of science and religion because we are overwhelmed with the sheer complexity of the experience. I have now come to a stage where I think that to conflate science and religion is fallacy. Science deals with the realm of facts, religion with the realm of values.
Religion is not just about superstitions. It is a value document created by the collective consciousness. The Dashavatara is not just a bunch of ten stories of the different forms of Vishnu but a documentation of how our ancestors tried to understand evolution. Science & religion
are both essential in their own realms. To be fanatical with either will lead to the same consequences. I think wise people like Arif Mohammad Khan get this correctly. We in the Indian subcontinent are extremely fortunate to have Hindu way of life as the cradle of our
civilisation. It is one of the oldest living document of collective wisdom. There are and will be anomalies which have to and will be corrected over time. From an atheist I have now grown into an agnostic - but above all I am a Sadhak - not a believer. That itself is in
congruence with scientific temperament and reason. Once we understand the complex world of synthesis of facts and values we can understand why Einstein said that ‘science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.’ Or we can understand why Ramanujan was so
deeply religious. That there should be no religion is a thought as naive and fruitless as the thought that there should be no science.
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