Science is well understood and is all about an evidence based approach; gather data, form a hypothesis and then test it. The results will confirm or invalidate the hypothesis, and so over time as you repeat this loop your understanding grows and is refined, but of course you already know all this.
Religion on the other hand is a rather strange beast, yet because it is part of our culture, we tend not to pause and consider just how truly bizarre it really is. It brings to the table something called “Faith”. This is where in essence the scientific method is turned inside out. The virtuous thing is to just believe, to accept what you are told is truth, and that questioning or even looking for proof or evidence is a bad thing to do. Specific bible stories are used to push this mindset, here are a couple of examples:
Abraham: Hears voices in his head, and so accepted on “Faith” that this was God speaking to him. This is presented as a good thing, even though it led Abraham to quite happily embrace Child Sacrifice as a good Idea. (Gen 22.v1-12)
Thomas: Refuses to accept the claim that Jesus was alive and wanted solid evidence. (John 20.v24-29) When Jesus turns up, Thomas gets told off for this, and those who just believe are praised.
I’d like to suggest that this probably explains why it is so very challenging to debate believers. A rational approach is where you start with the data and then work towards a conclusion. Belief is the precise opposite, you start with the conclusion and then work backwards looking for data that fits. Does this imply that Science is at war with religion? No, not at all. Historically, religion was the means we utilized in an attempt to comprehend the world around us, but we have now discovered a far better more reliable means of doing this, the scientific evidence-based method.
Its time to put the irrational behind us and embrace a far more rational methodology for grasping truth.
Whenever religion is wheeled out and deployed to dictate what you should think, say or do, and demands that you just believe and embrace it without understanding … be skeptical, there is a far better alternative.