While some sections, like those on cosmology and the brain, offer relatively standard science-and-religion fare, the sections Healers and Healing and on Dying and Death extend the discussion into areas not often addressed in the science and religion literature. These sections, though unusual, make a distinctive contribution. For those who are familiar only with the standard Western science and religion discussions, these essays provide rich sources of information. Furthermore, they show how the human desire to integrate the spiritual and natural is worked out in various cultures and settings, particularly around themes of healing or death. Finally, some of the essays offer critical or naturalistic perspectives on these religious phenomena, while others weigh the evidence for the health benefits of religion.
Essays range from the history of the interaction between science and religion to contemporary conceptual and social issues. All the world’s major religions are represented by several essays, often more than one in each section. Indigenous traditions are also represented by several essays, mainly from the Americas and Africa. In addition, some of the authors are agnostics or atheists, while others advocate positions like “intelligent design.”
The strength of the resource is not in its depth but in its breadth. While the essays often seem too short for the assigned topic, they are easy to read. They provide a useful starting point for the beginner while, at the same time, challenging more advanced scholars to broaden their perspective on what is included in science and religion or whose voices should be heard.
Science, Religion, and Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Controversy is a valuable survey that provides 86 short essays on topics that fall broadly under science and religion. Despite being entitled an Encyclopedia, the essays in this two-volume resource are not ordered alphabetically but arranged in eight sections: general overviews; historical perspectives; creation, the cosmos, and origins of the universe; ecology, evolution, and the natural world; consciousness, mind, and the brain; healers and healing; dying and death; and genetics and religion.
Essay on Religion and Science (618 Words)
alone theoretical progress. In this essay I examine the similarities and crucial differences that can be used to clearly distinguish religion, magic, and science.
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