Mask or no mask? Why are religion and science at odds?

Religious beliefs and science are often at odds, and it creates severe rifts in society when they collide. It is very sad, because humans need both to make our world a better, more peaceful place, not a divisive, hostile place.

But why does the argument often become God or science? Can’t it be God and science?

It is because both religion and science pursue truth, which does not compromise, nor allows alternatives. 1+1=2 needs to be solid and incontestable, and the statement: God created the heaven and the earth has to be supreme and absolute. There should be only one truth in each question – otherwise it’s no longer a truth.

But things in our world are often not as clear-cut as 1+1=2. That’s when many truths – each claims to be the only answer – start colliding each other.

Science says wear a mask to reduce the risk of transmitting viruses. Religious advocates say people have bestowed freedom to choose to wear a mask or not.

Whereas debate over wearing masks didn’t have to become a war over truth, it somehow became one. The two “truths” are completely at odds and the debate is seriously dividing our society amid the pandemic. It almost sounds as if peoples’ freedom will forever be compromised, if “wearing a mask” wins the position of “official truth.” 

This is the most difficult part of pursuing truth. We have to forever keep fighting for it if other people support their own truth that are different from yours, as there is only one spot for truly true truth. In order to win the status, you need to vehemently deny other “so-called truths.”

But there is a way to solve it. What if it’s okay to have multiple “truths” at once, and it won’t compromise their integrity?

That’s what Buddhism does. The core belief of Buddhism is the Middle Way, or Middle Path, which has the power to embrace both ends without denying neither. It can also be applied to the debate of “Black lives matter” or “All lives matter.”

Read more about the Middle Way of Buddhism.