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Religion versus science, it’s an age old dispute that splits both congregations and scientists into factions. Both religion and science are based upon one thing: knowledge. The difference between these to ways of thinking is the manner in which this knowledge is attained. In the case of religions, knowledge is originally gained through a revelation of God, or knowledge granted to a person by a holy entity; on the other hand, scientific knowledge is gained through experiments using the scientific method.

Knowledge attained through the revelation of God most often results in a belief structure. Throughout history, people have claimed to have been spoken to directly by God, and in turn a religion or belief structure has been built around this single new experience. This knowledge is also most often attained (or granted) in an instant, rather than over time. Islam begins with Mohammad fasting and meditating in the mountains, and suddenly there is a vast revelation of understanding through God, and thus begins one of the largest religions in the modern world. Moses atop the mountain and in an instant he is speaking directly with God as he is granted stone tablets infused with the most abided by set of absolute values in America today. In the past this knowledge is given to one person and it is that persons responsibility to accurately spread the word of God to the masses. The knowledge is open to interpretation and can be disbelieved by any person. In the case of Mosses and the ten commandments, the word of God was (and still is) widely accepted by the masses; however, quite the opposite is true with the knowledge that David Koresh (of the Waco, Texas Massacre in 1993) claims to have been granted. In most cases there is no way to prove or disprove knowledge attained through a revelation of holiness. The Egyptians had no proof that Moses himself didn’t carve the ten commandments in to those stone tablets, and the FBI and ATF, in turn, had no proof that God had not spoken to David Koresh. The contrast between these events portrays the uncertain nature of knowledge given to humans by God, as well as the widely differing acceptance of people who claim to be vessels of divine knowledge.

Scientific knowledge gives us the skeletal works for our society. Science provides the technology and knowledge that people build their everyday lives upon. Scientific knowledge is usually attained by either a single scientist or a group of scientists working on related tasks. For hundreds of years, scientists have taken certain steps in order to prove or disprove their hypothesis to gain knowledge. These steps are commonly referred to as the Scientific Method. Although there are many variations of the Scientific Method (in order to better suit different situations and processes) they are all based upon these steps: state the purpose of the project; make a hypotheses; test the hypothesis; analyze the results; re-evaluate hypothesis; and finally, make a statement concerning the results in relation to the original purpose of the experiment. Due to the Scientific Method, scientific knowledge takes time, a statement cannot be taken as fact without proof, and likewise, it is necessary to disprove something before considering it false. Perhaps the most important aspect of scientific knowledge is that the same steps are used to disprove something as was used to prove it in the first place. Scientific knowledge is originally attained by scientists, however, through the media (press releases, the internet, newspapers, scientific journals, etc…) the knowledge is accurately distributed among the masses.

In my opinion, knowledge is gained through experience. Whether a persons experience be using the scientific method to gain knowledge, or talking to God, it is meaningful. All that people truly have is their experiences. Of course, there are certain advantages and pitfalls to each of these two types of knowledge. Insight granted by God is of course a great experience concerning knowledge, however, it is much more of a personal experience than working with Scientists to find a cure for AIDS. On the other hand, not everyone is interested in working in a Scientific field, in this case, they must rely upon newspapers, books, magazines and other sources in order to gain concrete knowledge about the sciences. Likewise, not everyone has faith enough to believe that they are able to be spoken to by a celestial being. In both cases, the best knowledge is gained from doing it yourself; however, knowledge can be gained vicariously through reading about either topic.

Knowledge gained through the revelation of God and through the Scientific method certainly are both very different processes to gain knowledge. What they have in common is that they both are important to a culture and society. Religious knowledge given by God often becomes the basis for a belief structure such as Christianity or Islam. Scientific knowledge gives us technologies (such as cars, computers, and telephones) that we base our lives around in today’s society.

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