Snapshot | Scientists and Their Religions
We asked our readers about the religious traditions in which they were raised and the ones to which they are now affiliated. The number of responses--nearly 500, out of 3,000 invitees--and the many strongly stated comments show how seriously our readers take this subject. "Religion is basically dangerous," says one; "Religion is important in my life," says another.
The majority, 87%, were reared in a religious tradition, with 55% of this group indicating a strong religious affiliation in childhood. In comparison, 59% are currently associated with a religion, with 55% of these indicating a strong connection. "We should never forget that the ultimate truth is God's, not ours," says one reader.
About half declare that they are less strongly affiliated with religion than they were in childhood, while one third indicate no change. Only 17% are more devout as adults.
The more remarkable comments come from those who have reconciled science and religion ...
"A science career has not changed my beliefs; rather, it has supported them," one says. Writes another: "I think Christianity and science are eminently compatible just as long as we keep what Galileo said in mind: 'The Holy Scriptures are intended to teach men how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.'"
... and those who have not:
"Despite numerous attempts of people trying to educate me, I have never understood how science and religion can coexist."