“There is no conflict between science and religion because science informs us about the fact of God’s creation and our faith or religion tells us about the meaning of that creation,” said Bishop Sithembele Sipuka in his homily at the grand opening of the science lab at Zingisa Comprehensive High School.
The opening took place on the 30th March 2022 at a Catholic High School located at Port St Johns Road, Maydene Farm, in the Diocese of Mthatha.
In his opening remarks Bishop Sipuka said, “Today we are opening a science laboratory in a Catholic School. Yet there is supposed to be opposition or war between science and religion, and here we are, opening a science laboratory in religious school,” The Bishop noted that the age of enlightenment emphasized reason over superstition and science over blind faith. Explaining further that enlightenment took a position that truth can be accepted as truth if can be logically reasoned out and not be based on a belief or a myth, pointing out that, “Thus, the truth of faith which comes from revelation or inspiration as is the case with religion was ruled out.”
“On the side of religion, the basis of war against science was that truth discovered by human reason was at best inferior to revealed truth by God because God is a greater being than human beings,” continued the Bishop citing as an example of the perceived conflict of the 16th century regarding Galileo. He went on to give other examples like origin of the universe from God or the Big Bang, also the theory of evolution by Darwin.
To elaborate further on the role of both science and religion he said while it is the duty of science to work the world, it is the duty of religion to ensure that we treat or use the world in a way that was intended by its creator. Therefore, “Religion occupies itself with ethical or moral considerations of how we use the world.”
Bishop Sipuka said the science lab is being opened because it is believed that God does not only work in supernatural ways, but most of the time does miracles through rational, technical, and scientific activities because this is his world.
Warning against false miracle the Bishop of Mthatha said, “There are many emerging young pastors today opening Churches and competing to do miracles, jumping on top of people, spraying them with doom for a miraculous healing and claiming to raise people from the dead. There is no need for such drama, they can come and study in this science lab and produce miracles of cures through scientific means.”
As a note of caution about science the Bishops said while wanting to give science its space, science must not be arrogant and think that it is an answer to all questions of life. “Reality is more than scientific explanation; it also involves the question of meaning as well and this is where religion comes in,” added the Bishop.
Bishop Sipuka said Albert Einstein, who was a physicist, wrote: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind,” and by that he meant science and religion mutually complement each other.
In closing Bishop Sipuka emphasised that Religion is blind without science because it prevents people from realising what they are naturally capable of and become fully realised and give glory to God. “Fortunately, this school has both, it has a science lab, and it has a religious character, God bless Zingisa!”