In spite of the way it is so often positioned as science versus religion in the media, science is neither the opposite of nor is it opposed to religion. Science is simply the tool that humans use to search for truth. In fact, science has historically been sponsored by religions that have used it as a means to study the laws behind the physical world. While there have been significant clashes throughout history between Christianity and the emergence of new truths that science uncovers before they gain acceptance, the current religion versus science debate is really not reflective of Christian religions as a whole.
Throughout history many scientists have been quite successful in reconciling their religions with science and have proceeded to make tremendous contributions to humanity. Gregor Mendel was an Austrian monk who first proposed the basis of heredity and spawned the science of genetics, and the first advocate of the Big Bang theory was a Roman Catholic priest named Georges Lemaître who wrote about a ‘creation event’ at the beginning of the universe.
So where does the current science versus religion (specifically Christianity) debate come from? While many Christians today accept that their faith is personal and does not belong in politics, there are certain fundamentalist factions, such as the creationists, who actively promote their agendas. Some have tried to present their beliefs using a pseudo-scientific format which they call intelligent design, which states that the biblical story of creation is the literal truth. They have brought this argument into the political forefront, and militant atheists have responded in kind which has resulted in media sensationalism. Curiously, even though Charles Darwin was a Christian, it is his theories of evolution and natural selection that have become the fodder for this needless debate between creationists and militant atheists. Mainstream Christianity, on the other hand, has pretty much accepted that evolution can fit in with their views of the universe.
Much of the friction between Christian fundamentalists and militant atheists is really just media manipulation being used by politicians for personal gain. This so called science versus religion debate is actually driven by politicians taking positions of support behind these two extremes in order to gather votes. It is this hidden agenda of politicians using their established publicity machines that has enabled the views of both Christian fundamentalists and militant atheists to dominate the media as they attempt to cash in on the huge block of voters that each side represents. Both sides are being played, and the ongoing ‘debate’ seen in the media has, in reality, very little to do with either science or religion.