Religion is as old as mankind itself. Since the beginning of time,man has always subscribed to a higher authority.
Abraham is regarded as the father of religion. Christianity, Islam and Judaism trace their antecedents to Abraham. The three are monotheistic, believing in the existence of a solo supreme being, who is the creator of all.
Then we have traditional religions which are polytheistic; believing in existence of different forms of the supreme being. For example,the ancient Romans had a host of gods; Apollo(god of the Sun), Mars(god of War), Cupid(god of love) etc. Taos, Hindus, Buddhists, Legio Maria, Akorino, Confucianism etc are all traditional religions who use(d) totems, shrines and physical features to acknowledge the presence of a god.
Science is relatively young. According to archeologists, it started at around 3500 BC in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia when humans started domesticating crops and animals; The Agricultural Revolution. This revolution was soon followed by other defining revolutions; The Renaissance, the Industrial revolution in 18th century Europe and now the Technological revolution. The course of humankind has been changed forever by science.
Here comes the conflict between these two greatest phenomena in human history. Religion is based on faith, science is based on evidence.
Religion and science have always been on a collision course, now more than ever. As a matter of fact, many religious zealots have been skeptical about science, others totally anti science, and a good number of renowned scientists were/are atheists. We have seen religious leadership urging their people not to vaccinate their children or even seek medical services when sick. The Catholic Church has maintained a bitter stance on abortion, In vitro fertilization and family planning. In fact, Galileo Galilee was excommunicated by the Catholic Church for postulating that the sun at the centre of the Solar System and not the Earth. Apparently, the church wondered how God would put the most sacred of his creation on the periphery of the universe.
Science has also been a bitter sibling. Charles Darwin didn’t believe in the Biblical account of creation. He fronted the Evolution Theory.
The late Stephen Hawking,the theoretical physicist, was a confessed atheist. He did not believe in heaven or afterlife. He did not recognize God as the creator. He is on record saying, and I quote,” I regard the brain as the computer which will stop working when its components fail. There’s no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers. That’s a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” On God being the creator, he says, “Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing. It’s not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”
And now in the age of technology, the contest between religion and science is blowing out of proportion. Secularism is holding religion by the jagular. Christianity is taking the biggest hit. People are leaving the church en masse. Looks like science is finally winning the war.
But is there a connection between God and nature? Religion thinks there is. Christianity, Islam and Judaism refer their proponents to their holy books, that is the Bible, the Quran and the Torah respectively, which pitch God as the creator of nature. Ancient traditionalist religions seemed to concur with the modern mainstream religions. Followers would worship while facing physical features like hills and waterfronts, believing a supreme being is domiciled in those features. For example,the Mugumo
tree was of religious significance to the traditional Gikuyu tribe of Kenya. They believed that the Mugumo housed Ngai, the gikuyu god. The Zulu tribe of southern Africa had a host of deities who were represented by certain natural phenomena; uNkulunkulu was the chief god, the god of humanity, while his son, Unsondo, was the god of thunder and earthquake. In the Greek mythology, god Zeus was the custodian of the skies and resided in Mount Olympus. In all these cases, religions seem to postulate that nature is a kind of “physical handwriting” of a supreme being if not the dwelling place.
There is another argument that relates nature to God. Proponents of this line of argument talk about the natural order of things, more so the concept of duality. That everything exists in opposites and in perfect symmetry; day and night, male and female, particles and anti particles et al, and therefore there must exist a super natural force that created and maintains this order. This was actually the fundamental belief of the Illuminati, or the enlightened ones, the renegade faction that broke away from the Catholic Church in the 16th century.
Man has a rational side and a spiritual side. Probably, when the spiritual side dominates the rational side, man would think in terms of a supreme being who controls all the natural phenomena, and when the rational side precedes the spiritual one, man would want to explain natural happenings using logical reason rather than attribute the happenings to a supernatural force. Still, when the two sides of man match in dominace, probably man would think there is a connection between a supreme being and logical reason.
A thing to note is that these sides of man are influenced by social parameters such as culture,up bringing and education. In a culture that emphasizes divinity, the spiritual side would dominate. In a liberal culture that permits free spirit and independent thinking, the rational side would reign. So whether nature and God are intertwined isn’t absolute truth,it’s a matter of perspective.
Mankind is trying to find a correlation between a supernatural being and nature through religion, philosophy and science. Maybe, just maybe, somebody would one day come up with a universal truth that would connect a supreme being and nature. Maybe not.