Science and Religion’s Means to an End

Einstein’s writing on the contradictory nature of science and religion explains the limits of human knowledge and use of the scientific method. He believes that only religion can give us the sense of “ultimate and fundamental ends.” In addition, he adds that this is directly related to the democratic ideals and therefore with the discarding of religion, the democratic spirit is being set aside as well.

The part of this excerpt I found most intriguing was Einstein’s focus on ends and means. He states that while objective reasoning gives us “tools”, as individuals we need religion to get to goal or even long for a goal. He sees no way for an individual to develop to serve mankind without this higher power. It’s interesting because in a time where scientific progress was being made in such large strides to serve mankind, Einstein takes an opposite view explaining that only religion can serve this purpose.

In an era in such desperate need of moral guidance, why did so many flock to a scientific way of thinking?

4 thoughts on “Science and Religion’s Means to an End

  1. I think that the author makes a valid point of mankind flocking towards science for guidance and protection. However, the reason they do this is because the religious guidance provided prior to World War I led to such destruction that man then turned towards the science that gave so much suffering in the war.

  2. I found Einsteins discussion of religion interesting as well. I agree with Tim as to the reasons why people were looking to science, but I also think that science itself created this. There more that could be explained by science, the more legitimate science became, at the expense of religion.The problem with science, though, is that it has not moral code. For this, people must turn back to religion, and this is what Einstein is arguing.

  3. As we have discussed in class, I think that when the footholds for our perception of the world begin to falter, it is natural for human beings to seek either absolute truth or holistic escapism. A search for absolute truth can lead people in many directions, sometimes entirely opposite from one another. Some view “absolute truth” as placing faith in only that which can be proven empirically, while others seek truth in the form of a renewal of faith in the doctrine of a given religious ideology (typically, in the case of interwar Europe, Christianity). I think that Einstein’s most prevalent argument in this writing is that these two sources of “truth” are not mutually exclusive, but in fact mutually dependent on one another.

  4. It is interesting how Einstein believes that it is only religion that can be used to set a goal. In my option, while religion could be a driving factor, scientific ideals or anything else could be used as well. Science and religion are similar in the way that mankind uses their principles as a means of protection, and science comes with its own set of morals as well.

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