Let science meet religion

MCB_BSA100ideas

The Muslim Council of Britain

In our British society we see that science is associated with rationality but sometimes with limited ethical reflection. For religion, we see that it is associated with beliefs but also with moral awareness. These two fields can complement each other, and we argue that we must provide for both scientists and people of faith a common space where they can share, advise and learn from each other for the betterment of society.

The current chasm between scientific and religious world views is a legacy of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, and is very much part of the European historical experience. This has put science and religion at odds with each other during the last century. As a result of this religious communities are now often unaware of the recent scientific advances (genetics, artificial intelligence, weather control, etc.), and on the other hand scientific communities too often put aside morals to work towards material benefits. This contrast is not inevitable: History does offer examples where science and religion have flourished together in society. We are calling for a restoration of the balance between science and religion, where each are re-evaluated to ensure they both work together to create a sustainable and healthy society.

In order to realise this goal and bring science and religion together, we propose a project focusing on two areas:

Making science and faith more relevant to each other

This could be done through a series of round-table discussions involving scientists and the religiously observant to discuss various topics such like objectivity in science and religion, adequacy as an indicator for truth, rationalisation of faith and wisdom behind religious practices. By bridging between two different views of the world, participants can realize the impacts each field has in their own life and foster new perspectives about the way they perceive the world.

Exploring the ethical issues around current scientific research

In order to understand faith communities and the public, scientists must first present their research subjects via a series of seminars. Each presentation will then be followed by an open discussion with the public about the ethical implications of the presented research. The presentations will address topics such as stem-cell research, animal testing, privatisation of nature and datafication. By allowing these communities to explore scientific developments, they will be able to better assess the implications that these research areas have on their daily life and belief systems. Through allowing them to express their views about the topics, scientists will be able to better understand the ethical questions associated with their work.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) founded in 1997 is an inclusive umbrella body that seeks to represent the common interest of Muslims in Britain. Reflecting the diversity of Muslims, it comprises mosques, educational and charitable bodies, cultural and relief agencies, professional associations and youth groups.  It is pledged to work for the common good of society as a whole. 

Check out more of the 100 ideas