Q3. What is the place of religion in the modern age?
Throughout the ages man has believed in some sort of religion. It is thought that without religion he cannot comprehend the real purpose of his existence. In fact, religion has had a definite place in society and will continue to play a vital part in this age of science.
While science and technology might assist man in improving his physical conditions, surroundings and economic standards, religion and ethics help to develop his personality and inner self. Man may live in comfort and prosperity and yet have no peace of mind. Even in a highly affluent society like that of the United States of America, it is realised that wealth and power are not everything. Spiritual progress is intrinsic and shows itself in inner satisfaction and sense of fulfilment.
Moreover, modern society dominated by technology cannot be regarded as an ideal society. It suffers from great strains and a sense of frustration and futility. Science has now given the man the power to destroy his own civilization and the human race. It is religion alone that can save society from such a catastrophe and check the erosion of human values. It reinforces basic ethical values and discourages racial prejudice, economic exploitation and social injustice. Religion like science is devoted to the service of man. Religion corrects the lopsidedness of science, because without moral and spiritual foundations, science can bring ruination to mankind. Religion and ethics humanise the scientist and make him realize his social responsibility. It shifts the emphasis in science and industry from exploitation and power to social uplift, peace and co-operation. Man must be the master and not the slave of machines.
Great scientists themselves realize the limitations of science. They look to religion to remedy the social evils. According to Dr. Julian Huxley: “Religion of some sort is probably a necessity.” One need not accept the dogmas of religion, but one must appreciate its search for Truth and its endeavour for the uplift of the masses. Prof. A.N. Whitehead says in this connection. “The future of civilization depends on the degree to which we can balance the forces of Science and Religion.”