Resolving Conflict between Science and Religion: Reform Judaism and Scientific Thought

3160 Words 13 Pages
Resolving Conflict between Science and Religion: Reform Judaism and Scientific Thought

The relationship between science and religion is not easy to navigate. On the most basic level, they are viewed as different types of thought. Religion, it seems, deals with the subjective, spiritual realm. Science, on the other hand, seems to deal with facts. It may then appear easy to separate the two realms of thought, and philosophers, theologians and scientists have from time to time attempted to do this. Both science and religion make hypotheses about the fundamental nature of human existence and the nature of the universe, however, and inevitably the claims of each come into conflict. Whether this conflict occurs on a personal level or
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They do this neither by ignoring scientific advancements nor by dismissing their religious heritage as incorrect and therefore irrelevant. Rather, Reform Jews are able to integrate scientific advancements into their religious framework. There are several aspects unique to reform Judaism that enable them to do this. First, it is one of the few religions that has built a system of reform into their religious doctrine. (Thus, the name "Reform Judaism" refers not only to the fact that the religion is altered version of an existing religious tradition, but that the concept of continual reformation is central to their way of thinking.) They allow themselves to reevaluate traditional dictates of their religious doctrine in terms of modern advancements. That does not mean, however, that their decisions are based merely on arbitrary judgments. Rather, they study and interpret the Torah, the core of their religious faith, in terms of modern standards and modern questions. Thus, there need be no bloody revolution of fissure within the faith every time contemporary advancements necessitate some sort of change in the religion. In addition, the religious tenets of Reform Judaism (as is typical of most forms of Judaism) focus primarily on correct moral action rather than theological debates about more distant events such as the creation
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