Science and Religion in our society


Over the past few decades our culture has started to tend to be more based on science and less so on religion. This trend started in the early 18th century with Deism. This was a religious philosophy shared by many of the founding fathers of the United States, as well as enlightenment thinkers. Deists believed in a creator who was not active in the present world, and that instead natural laws governed the world. Since then we have seen a gradual decline in the use of the word religion, other than a peak during the second great awakening. This has not because insinuating that people are 1/5 as religious now as they were 300 years ago, instead people no longer study religion the same way they did in the past, now learning has focused on science as shown by the blue line.

This interest in science was started around the turn of the 18th century by works such as Newton’s Principia. Newton’s and other scientists of his time set the foundation for scientific learning that we all see today. The use of the words “science, engineering, physics, and chemistry” really took off in the mid-19th century as more people began looking into new scientific fields, such as Charles Darwin and evolution.

As time went on people began to write more and more about science and less and less about religion. This shift in word usage has signaled a change in society, in the 1700’s much of a common persons education had to do with religion, and many people learned to read so that they would be able to read the bible, whereas now almost none of our formal education has anything to do with religion, and in large part consist of science, physics, chemistry, and engineering, especially here at Tech.

This change in education has changed the way that our culture thinks, no longer is religion a main topic of discussion. It is far more likely that you will witness a debate or discussion on the newest iPhone, then on the Bible. This is not to say that religious discussion is gone -the four words together barely account for more than religion when unadjusted- but instead take place in different settings. These setting are less public, although not less academic, and because of this less public nature influence culture, and therefore religion shows up in writing less. In the last hundred years religious studies have taken a back seat culturally, and because of this our culture is much more based on science than it was a few hundred years ago.


3 thoughts on “Science and Religion in our society”

  1. It is interesting that this shift in culture occurred as the age of enlightenment began in europe as well. Since then, a majority of the scientific knowledge we have today has been developed and recorded. In addition, there are far fewer books or texts being written about religion because it has been well established for many years, whereas the fields of science, math, engineering and chemistry are brand new in comparison. I agree that this does not show a deviation from religion but it does show that religion is taking a back seat when it comes to new texts. Modern society much favors STEM related topics because they directly affect the future.

    1. I agree, the STEM fields are affecting our future much more, but think it also is due to the fact that STEM fields are seeing rapid advancement where religion has not in over a hundred years.

  2. I feel like the advancement of the industrial world really has an impact on this chart as well, because right at the turn of the 18th century is when the massive industrial revolution began. As people became more interested in production and industry, sciences became more popular due to the impact they have on the new world. Also, people where beginning to lose touch with their religion due to the terrible conditions in factories and competition between businesses. This graph was perfect, because it clearly shows the shift in values in our society and the changing culture of the world.

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