B: By this definition, one can conjecture that there have been at least as many religions as there are individuals who have ever existed, and that the number of ever-having-existed religions increases with the birth of each person. I would say that this is a fair statement because there are no two people who agree completely on every possible issue: no matter how unified, loving, or compatible any couple of people are, sooner or later a difference of opinion will arise regarding something, be it trivial or essential in importance. And a difference in opinion amounts to a difference in belief; i.e., a difference in religion. And this goes for people of the same denomination, and for people who claim no belief in any kind of God.
A: But science is distinctly different from religion in the common usage of the word “religion.” It relies on evidence of a different sort – non-spiritual, that is. A scientific theory is not a “theory” in the common meaning, and does not require belief the way religion does. There is a great deal of evidence to support the Theory of Evolution, for example.
B: There is a great deal of scientifically-accepted evidence to support evolution. All scientifically-accepted evidence relies on the axioms of science – which I mentioned before – so that scientific “truth” can be discovered only through empirical evidence. There is no way to prove, scientifically or otherwise, that this is the only way to discover any kind of truth, and not just scientific; hence, these can only be axioms. It therefore could be only one person’s, or a group of people’s, belief to assert that this is truly the only way to discover truth. Call it Empiricism, Secularism, Atheism, perhaps even Materialism, or what you will – all the same, it relies upon axioms, thus requiring a belief of some kind, and can therefore be labeled as a religion of sorts. A religion different from what we usually think of when we talk about religions? Yes. But a religion nonetheless; it’s a system, or “code,” of beliefs. It doesn’t matter that this religion accounts for no supreme being as the Creator of the Universe – belief in a supreme being or not, it’s a belief either way.
A: But back to my example: Creationism and Evolutionism are not empirically equivalent; i.e., you can’t equate acceptance of evolution with faith.
B: Again, this depends on what one accepts as evidence for truth. If we accept only empirical evidence for truth, then the scientific community would support your statement, as they have yet to accept any evidence for the existence of God as being properly empirical. However, I and many other believers, or “creationists” you might say, believe that there are other kinds of evidence, not the least of which is what we might call spiritual evidence. The secular world would never accept that as truth, but they don’t have the knowledge, and certainly not the authority, to declare what is truth and what isn’t.
A: What?! Science – it’s all true. You can’t name a single result of science that is false.
B: Buddy…even if I were to do so, the world wouldn’t accept my reasoning behind it. However, there are plenty of examples from the history of science of theories that were later shown to be false. Heck: is there anything we have proven more times in the history of mankind than the fact that we were wrong? That is, that our previous understanding was flawed? I mean, look at how many times they’ve changed the Atomic Model. Why couldn’t that, or something similar to it, happen now? Why are we so quick to pronounce things to be so certainly as we see them now?
But I hope you don’t think that I’m against science. Obviously it has accomplished a great deal of remarkable things over the course of mankind. What I am against, is the idea that science, currently structured as it is upon the axioms I mentioned before, is the only source of truth, and that it can or will eventually be able to explain everything in the universe, including all the various assertions of religions.
B: You’re saying that they were “close enough?” Let’s consider the Atomic Model, which I mentioned just a minute ago. Weren’t they called “atoms” in the first place because they were believed to be unbreakable? The guys who thought they were unbreakable in the first place might have thought, “even if we’re wrong, what difference could it make? Atoms are so darned small anyway.” Well, it turns out that they were wrong, because one day, somebody split an atom. What difference did it make? You might want to talk to some of the residents of Hiroshima or Nagasaki about that, or to anybody who lived during the tensest times of the Cold War. It appears that being precisely correct does make a difference from time to time – who knows what other minute details might make such a world of difference, whether in the short term or the long run?