Is there a true conflict between science and religion, or do science and religion explain different things? Think about this in the realm of evolution.  

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The answer to your question would very much depend on the point of view of the person answering. For Christian fundamentalists who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible (the world was created in six days and humans were modeled directly on God), evolution is simply a nonstarter. The beliefs are in direct conflict.

But there are many shades of belief in between. Some Christians believe in an interpretation of the Bible that would allow it to explain evolution. Buddhists (I am one) have no conflict with the concept of evolution; it contradicts nothing in our tradition of spirituality. In fact, the Dalai Lama, who is, of course, a Tibetan Buddhist, is a professor emeritus at Emory University in Georgia, and he maintains an exchange program between Emory and his student monks in Dharamasala, India, in which science students come to India to study and monks go to Emory.

It is a mistake to think of this question only in terms of Christianity because, beyond the Western world, millions of people follow other traditions and view the question through other lenses.

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This is, of course, a matter of opinion.  There are those who would argue this in both directions.

On the one hand, there is a true conflict between evolution and religion in the minds of Christians who believe in the literal truth of the Bible.  Such Christians believe that the Bible is the literal word of God and, as such, must be completely true.  Evolution, in this view, is clearly false because the Bible explicitly tells us how God created the various sorts of life.  It says nothing about evolution.  Therefore, it is impossible to reconcile evolution and religion.

To other people, however, there is no conflict.  To such people, the Bible is not the literal word of God but rather God’s way of trying to impart truths to a people who were scientifically unsophisticated.  Such people believe that the Bible is more of a religious text and less of a scientific one.  To them, religion can explain why the universe came to be and it can explain how we are to act as human beings.  Science cannot tell us either of these things.  It can only tell us about how the universe works. 

My personal opinion is more in the latter camp.  I do not believe that the Bible should be taken as a scientific text.  I believe that religion and science are meant to explain different things.  Science cannot define morality and religion cannot define scientific truth. 

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