Religion and belief

'The Search for God' by John Houghton
'The Search for God' by John Houghton

Science and religion have frequently been pictured as antagonistic, but talking to scientists about their faith reveals a wide range of views and a much more complex picture. For some scientists there is a clear divide between science and religion, and they view them as separate domains that should be kept apart from each other. Others have a strong faith and are confident that this has been integral to their work, which has been guided at crucial moments by an external power. Some scientists with a strong faith have found themselves moving into research areas where their religious beliefs and scientific work do not come into conflict. For some interviewees, training as a scientist called into question existing beliefs, prompting a process of self-examination and reflection from which new understandingsand a firmer commitment emerged. In other cases studying science led to a rejection of religion, which came to be seen as incompatible with being a scientist. These scientists seem uncomfortable with the idea of beliefs that are not based firmly on evidence and cannot be tested.

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