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Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(3):433-6. Epub 2006 May 15.

Despite their inevitable conflicts--science, religion and New Age spirituality are essentially compatible and complementary activities.


Until recently it seemed that the continued expansion of scientific ways of thinking was destined to render religion extinct and spirituality unfeasible. But the example of the United States disproves this, since America is the most successful scientific nation of this era, church-going remains strong and New Age spiritualities are thriving. Therefore, despite the obvious conflicts; science, religion and spirituality are essentially compatible. Future science will continue to win territory from religion since its validation procedures are more objective and reliable. However, churches can survive and grow by dropping those aspects of doctrine which clash with science, and expanding their social functions. The fast-growing US 'mega-church' movement shows the way - since these organizations are minimally dogmatic but instead provide a family-orientated and morally-cohesive social milieu. Like organized religion, New Age spirituality comes into conflict with science when it makes incredible or bizarre factual claims. However, in practice modern spirituality is based on subjective evaluations which do not clash with the procedures of science. Indeed, the reliance upon individual, emotion-based evaluations (e.g., 'my truth', 'whatever works for you') renders New Age spirituality 'science-proof', and has enabled it to expand massively in an age of science. Science, religion and spirituality perform different functions in the modern world, and their relationship is therefore one of mutual-dependence. Borderline disputes will inevitably occur, but as part of a broader context of complementarity. Science, 'social' churches and New Age spirituality all have a bright future.

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