Conflict between Science and Religion lies in our brain
by Jayasree Saranathan on 10 Oct 2021 8 Comments

But not necessarily for a follower of Hindu Thought


Scientific studies done until now had shown that analytical thinking always discourages belief in God. As per this a scientist cannot be expected to be a believer of God whereas the available data shows that nearly 90% of the Nobel laureates had faith in God. It has always been believed or rather hypothesised that the brain has two conflicting centres of function, one that does analytical thinking and the other that makes one religious.


In this background the study by researchers of Case Western Reserve University and Babson College had shown a marginally different result. This study shows that analytical thinking does not give rise to disbelief in God. On the contrary it was found that those who exhibited empathy happened to be more religious or spiritual. This means that one can be analytical and at the same time empathic and therefore spiritual. In other words there is no tension or conflict between those regions of the brain that support analytical ability and belief in God.


The confusion was due to the existent belief to some extent in the western countries and in agnostic and atheistic societies that religion and religious beliefs are absurd and unscientific. But coming from the background of Vedanta that forms the basis of Hinduism, we have no confusion between analytical approach and religious thoughts, for Hinduism is based on logical concept of God and evolution of man to Godhood. The basic tenet is compassion which is signified as Sattwic Guna which is what the Almighty is personified as. The basic approach is analytical or what is known as inquiry into the nature of both material world (prakruthi) and consciousness (Purusha or the Individual self and the Universal Self known as God). So this requires the use of both parts of the brain that the researchers have subjected to analysis.


A nutshell of what this Vedantic religion requires us to do has been given in the 1st verse of “Vedartha Sangraha” – a collection of Vedic thought given as lectures by Acharya Ramanuja in front of Lord Venkateswara in Thirumala. It runs as follows:


The individual self is subject to beginning-less nesceince, which has brought about an accumulation of karma, of the nature of both merit and demerit. The flood of such karma causes his entry into four kinds of bodies – heavenly, human, animal and plant beginning with that of Brahma downwards. This ingression into bodies produces the delusion of identity with those respective bodies (and the consequent attachments and aversions). This delusion inevitably brings about all the fears inherent in the state of worldly existence. The entire body of Vedanta aims at the annihilation of these fears.


“To accomplish their annihilation, they teach the following:

(1) The essential nature of the individual self as the transcending body.

(2) The attributes of the individual self.

(3) The essential nature of the Supreme that is the inmost controller of both the material universe and the individual selves.

(4) The attributes of the Supreme.

(5) The devout meditation upon the Supreme.

(6) The goal to which such meditation leads.


“Vedanta aims at making known the goal attainable through such a life of meditation, the goal being the realisation of the real nature of the individual self and after and through that realisation, the direct experience of the Brahman, which is the nature of bliss infinite and perfect.”


The conviction about these views and the practice of the same require a logical and analytical mind tinged with sattwic attitude of which compassion and empathy are supreme attributes. When one is tuned with compassion and empathy, one is indeed Godly at that moment.


Rama, the most adored God of the Hindus, had once expressed to Sita that compassion was his supreme Dharma.

Sita expressed this to Hanuman in Ashoka Vana (VR: 5-38-41)

“You yourself (Rama) told me (Sita) that kindness is the best Dharma”.

The part of the brain that induces one to be kind to others cannot run repellent to analytical thinking.


I wish these researchers take practicing Hindus for their study!

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