The existence of supernatural events in a natural world represents a violation of the NOMA model and proves that science and religion do not address different realms. The resurrection of Lazarus from his tomb or the night journey of Mohammed on a flying horse to Mecca or the parting of the red sea—all of which have supposedly taken place in the natural universe—violate physical laws backed by centuries of empirical evidence. If science rules this natural world in which these people lived and interacted, then these events are impossible, and religion is extending beyond its territory.
I have no solution to this problem. If the religious choose to interpret the Bible and other texts literally (and statistics show that a majority of Christians do), then there will be, without a doubt, conflict between science and religion. If the religious choose to believe in the message of these stories as indicative of the human experience and our internal struggle with existence, there is very little conflict, but the dogma will deteriorate. If the story of Jesus sacrificing himself for the good of man is indeed just the extension of an agricultural metaphor, then why have faith?
By its very nature, science cannot change to support a religious view of the natural world while maintaining its integrity. That is not to say that science shouldn’t be more transparent and accessible, but if the relationship between science and religion is to improve, the burden of change lies upon the religious. Paradigms must shift, especially in the Big Three: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
I'm hoping it will stimulate some conversation on campus and get people thinking about the realities of a cross section between science and religion. This is a problem that needs to be honestly addressed, without placating either camp. The two can be reconciled, but it needs to be made clear just how.
I have talked to several of the students that were involved in organizing and presenting the religious forum from last week, and each of them expressed disappointment with the event, mostly for its lack of diversity and organization. It would be nice to see a reorganized forum in the future where dialogue doesn't become diatribe (as Donovan put it).