Why is there a conflict?
Actually, science and religion are often not in conflict. Theologians don't care much about the tensile strength of steel when they have church buildings built. Scientists are generally not particularly interested in the functions of a soul. However, science and religion overlap on some topics. Each then generally puts forth conflicting beliefs on the same topic. The results of these conflicts can often strain the culture. cause needless suffering. and even generate loss of life.
An early conflict:
Perhaps the earliest known conflict between science and religion occurred in ancient Babylon in what is present-day Iraq. The priests had taught that lunar eclipses were caused by the restlessness of the gods. They were considered evil omens that were directed against -- and threatened the lives of -- their kings. Then, local astronomers discovered the 18 year and 11.3 day (223 synodic month) interval between lunar eclipses. This suggested that the eclipses had natural cause. The discovery did not affect the superstitious beliefs of the priests; they still regarded eclipses as a time of great danger to their kings. However, armed with an accurate prediction of the next eclipse, they were able to substitute a temporary king during the interval around the eclipse, thus giving protection to the real king. The substitute was killed afterwards, so that omen was always fulfilled.
A famous conflict:
Perhaps the most famous conflict was between Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and the Roman Catholic Church, largely over the movements within the solar system. At the time:
The Church interpreted the Bible as teaching the geocentric system in which the Earth is at the center of the universe. The Sun, Moon, other planets and stars revolve around the Earth.
Some scientists taught the Tychonic System in which the Earth is at the center of the universe; the Sun and Moon revolve around the Earth; The other five planets revolve around the Sun. The stars revolve around the Earth.
Galileo taught the heliocentric system in which the Sun is the center of the solar system, the Earth and other planets revolved around the Sun, the Moon revolved around the Earth, and the stars were at incredible distances. Galileo was tried by the Inquisition, condemned as a heretic, and spent the rest of his life in house arrest. According to an article in the web site of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), on 1992-OCT-31, some 350 years after Galileo's death:
"... Pope John Paul II gave an address on behalf of the Catholic Church in which he admitted that errors had been made by the theological advisors in the case of Galileo. He declared the Galileo case closed, but he did not admit that the Church was wrong to convict Galileo on a charge of heresy ..."
Two major examples of conflicts between science and religion at the present time are:
Creation science & evolution:
Many conservative Christians believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. Although they have are many competing theories over details, many conclude that a literal interpretation of Genesis in the Hebrew Scriptures indicates that God created the world during a six day, 144 hour period, sometime between 4004 and perhaps 8000 BCE.
Cosmologists have reached a near consensus that the universe is about 13.7 billion years old and that the Earth coalesced about 4.5 billion years ago.
Many conservative Christians accept a literal interpretation of the biblical book of Genesis which seems to imply that all of the species of plant and animal life were created during this six day interval.
Essentially all biologists believe that the various species evolved over hundreds of millions of years, mainly or completely through the processes of natural selection.
Beliefs concerning lesbians, gays, bisexuals transgender persons and transsexuals (the LGBT community):
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