Faith and Religion Are Not Contradictory as Some Think

This promises to be one of the most controversial articles I wrote; not because of the contents, but just because religious issues always are.

Few months ago, it was two hundred years ago that Darwin was born. Fifty years later he presented his theory on the origin of species through evolution. I cannot claim to be an expert on his theory, but I understand its general premise and the evidence supporting its main concepts. The concept of evolution has gone beyond biology to inspire a set of algorithms that can be used to find solutions to difficult engineering problems. These are called evolutionary algorithms. They start from a random set of solutions and arrive to a near-optimal solution through successive generations created by merging the fittest members of the previous generation. Evolutionary algorithms have been used by many scientists for solving difficult optimization problems and they do work. Hence, at least in this context, there is merit to evolution as a way for adapting a solution to fit a specific environment.

Some people question Darwin’s theory on the origin of species and find it threatening to their religious beliefs. Does evolution as a theory affect my religious faith? Not really, First of all, Darwin’s theorem does not contradict the existence of God. It does not start from the beginning, but rather in the middle of the story ignoring the most important part: the root of it all. His theory merely explains a possible intelligent design for progression of creation. Secondly, faith for me and many others is based on a set of spiritual values not scientific facts. One cannot argue and disprove the former while the latter is fair game. To me, religion and science do not exist in the same domain and hence cannot cross paths. If you are a star-trek fan, you understand the concept of parallel domains. Scientists also use the concept of domains on daily basis as they analyze complex systems. They understand that you cannot liberally mix signals from different domain or the results would be disastrous. Simply speaking, science and religion cannot be used to contradict each other by the virtue of their own definition.

With this in mind one can always find a way to reconcile religious beliefs and scientific facts rather than declare the science as invalid based on our limited knowledge and intelligence. It was not long ago, relatively speaking, that earth was thought to be the center of the universe and that scientists declaring it not to be were thought misguided. This notion is now thought of as laughable and no one see it as a challenge to our religious beliefs, a far cry from how threatening this was at one point in our human history. Declaring religion to be an illusion based on a theory is just as dangerous and misguided. God help those who lost their faith for faith is the greatest gift of God to humans. It is a power that sustains at times of hardship and a light that leads when only dark thoughts are abound. Without it, we are lonely amongst the closest of friends and kin and powerless at the peak of our strength.

Mohamed A. Rahman, A Scientist and Thinker Thoughts about Politics, Religion and Life

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