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Religion, Philosophy, and Science
Religion, Philosophy, and Science are the 3 pillars that hold human civilization together since its birth on Earth more than 6 thousand years ago. The 3 pillars were built and developed piece by piece by humans as the population grew larger and the civilization became more advance. Today, in the 21st century, Religion and Philosophy had long been completed with their constructions while still serving their vital functions. Humans rely on the relative young Science to help supporting their ever-increasing population, finding desperately needed natural resource, and understanding the origin and finale of the human species.
Religion was the first pillar to be built and developed in the dawn of human civilization. As humans strived to survive in an unpredictable and merciless natural environment, they conjured up deities of varies kinds. Along with elaborate worship rituals, they hoped and eventual gained the belief that they would be protected and good fortunes would follow. Most importantly, instead of living in constant fear and uncertainty, humans started to live a life with a higher purpose and a peace of mind. It was not until the development through reportedly divine revelation of a deity called God (Judaism, BC2000) that Religion became an institution. Divine scriptures were written detailing human salvation after death and moral values that distinguish good and evil. Today, through the test of time, Buddhism (Siddhartha, BC500), Christianity (Jesus, BC6), and Islam (Muhammad, AD610) account for the most popular religions on Earth. It was written that all 3 religions were created by 3 of God's sons dispatched to 3 different regions of Earth to preach his teachings.
All 3 religions profess compassion toward all livings, respect and tolerance of other beliefs, and only through self sacrifice and good deeds will salvation greet those upon death. Even though, humans had brought wars and destructions upon themselves in the name of religious differences, human civilization will not survive without the faith that good will always trump the evil in the end.
While Religion concerns mainly about life after death, humans built and developed Philosophy to deal with life on Earth. As human population grew and was less at the mercy of the natural environment, some humans started to contemplate the meaning and origin of life. They rationalized the importance of how to live a purposeful life than worry about life after death. Most philosophers were thinkers who used logic, questions and answers to seek the truth and formulate solutions to the problems that mankind faced.
Confucianism (Confucius, BC200) guided the Chinese civilization since 2000 years ago. Marxism (Karl Marx, AD1818) gave the long suffer peasants and the oppressed workers of the world a voice and platform to challenge the ruling governments. Capitalism (Adam Smith, AD1723) enabled humans to enjoy unprecedented material comforts but with a life of decadence. Philosophy opened up humans’ vision and the realization of the brain’s reasoning power. With it, human civilization progressed leaps and bounds with a clear purpose and direction.
Humans built and developed Science out of the desire to understand what Nature is? How does Nature work? Why does Nature behave the way it does? Earthquakes, thunderstorms, and other natural disasters that were once thought to be God’s punishments can now be explained, analyzed, and predicted. Diseases, epidemics, and other scourges were once dreaded can now be cured, prevented, and even eradicated. Science grew out of Philosophy as truth seeking turned into fact finding and subjective reasoning became objective reckoning.
Darwin’s Evolution theory was a profound scientific undertaking that used painstaking observation, detailed data collections and analyses, documentations, and objective deductions. His theory unveiled the mystery of Nature and offered an explanation as to how the living things in Nature work and the role that humans played in it. Newton’s discovery of Gravity and the mechanics of motions opened up Nature’s physical world. Along with other scientific works at the time, they laid the foundations for the Industrial Revolution and the population explosion that followed. Then came the large-mirrored telescopes and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in the 19th century, the heaven was no longer just filled with Stars but also galaxies, black holes, quasars, etc..Earth turns out to be a mere planet in an expanding Universe that has more Stars than the grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth. Today, Science has helped humans to harness the fusion power of the Sun, to crack the DNA codes of the livings, to send men to the moon and probes into space to seek other forms of intelligence. It seems to be just a matter of time before humans will find out what triggered the Big Bang and how the Universe was created.
Human civilization has progressed from small pockets of population spreading all over the world living in superstition, prejudice, and ignorance to an inter-dependent world community close to 7 billion people. Religion offers the spiritual comforts and constantly reminds humans the goodness in the depth of their hearts. Philosophy teaches humans how to think, rationalize, and seek the truth. Science emancipates humans from the shackles of Nature and enables them to be the master of their own destiny. Together, the 3 pillars will continue to assist humans in facing the new challenges of the future – diminishing natural resources, global warming due to fossil fuels, and space travel and colonization.