The Call for a New Religion
Compatible with Science
David Wallace Croft
2006 May 25 Thu
In my studies, I have noted that a number of the philosopher-scientists of
the 20th century looked forward to the day when there would be a new
religion compatible with science. The following is a selection of
quotations expressing this hope.
In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the
stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that
source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vast power in the
hands of priests. [...] After religious teachers accomplish the refining
process indicated they will surely recognize with joy that true religion
has been enobled and made more profound by scientific knowledge. [...] The
further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it
seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the
fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving
after rational knowledge.
Albert Einstein, 1941, "Science and Religion",
Ideas and Opinions
Science, as a system of discovering, organizing, and applying mutual
knowledge, is already unified and universal in principle, though its
efficiency as an organ of the human species could still be much
increased. It remains for man to unify and universalize his religion.
How that religion will take form -- what rituals or celebrations it might
practise, whether it will equip itself with any sort of professional body
or priesthood, what buildings it will erect, what symbols it will adopt --
that is something which no one can prophesy. Certainly it is not a field on
which the natural scientist should venture. What the scientist can do is to
draw attention to the relevant facts revealed by scientific discovery, and
to their implications and those of the scientific method. He can aid in the
building up of a fuller and more accurate picture of reality in general and
of human destiny in particular, secure in the knowledge that in so doing he
is contributing to humanity's advance, and helping to make possible the
emergence of a more universal and more adequate religion.
Julian Huxley, 1953, "Evolutionary Humanism",
New Bottles for New Wine
A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as
revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of
reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or
later, such a religion will emerge.
Carl Sagan, 1994, "A Universe Not Made for Us",
Pale Blue Dot
Copyright 2006 David Wallace Croft.
This work is licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution License 2.5.