Literary works including short stories, novels, poems and narratives provide us with lenses through which we can see and understand human nature and various cultural, social, and political aspects of our society which are critical to our societal well-being.
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They are a mirror through which a society can attain self realization more so in relation to its desired destiny in terms of social, political and economic development.
Academically, they are usually a creative and constructive way of criticizing and attacking evils such as corruption, impunity, gender violence, and discrimination among others which are understandably a stumbling block to realization of societal dreams in the eyes of the wise people and intellectuals, as well as political leaders, of good will.
Due to their critical contribution towards progress of a society authors should strive to be clear in their writings so that readers of different intellectual and educational caliber can understand what they are trying to articulate through their works.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss theme of religion versus science in Arthur C. Clarke’s short story titled “The Star” published in 1955 which won him Hugo Award in 1956.
Religion versus science
Human beings are inherently curious beings who have always endeavored to comprehend not only themselves in terms of their origin, existence and destiny but also to understand the cause of the universe and everything therein since the very humble beginnings of human civilizations.
A long side his physical and cultural evolution religious, traditional and scientific theories have been put forward during different epochs of the history of humankind which attempts to explain the origin of the universe and everything found in it, as well as the destiny of humanity. Currently, religious theories and the scientific evolution theory put forward by Sir.
Charles Darwin during the peak of scientific revolution in 19th century are the most popular in virtually all communities of the world in terms of explaining the origin of the universe, living organisms and humanity’s fate. However, there is an outcry and great concern particularly from the western clergy that religion is losing its influence up on people’s life especially in Western societies.
Arthur C. Clarke’s short story titled “The Star” is a perfect representation of humanity’s grapple with the puzzle of whether it is religion or science that holds the right key to solutions regarding mysteries of this universe, fate of humanity, as well as remedies to perpetual social, political and economic problems-some of which are catastrophic-facing human societies.
It shows perfectly how scientific discoveries can impact both positively and negatively up on our religious beliefs like in the case of the chief astrophysicist leading the group of explorers in “The Star” who was a Jesuit priest and who suffered a serious crisis of faith brought about by some undisclosed event during the expedition to the remote star system.
Even though there are scientists who have managed to successfully balance the confrontation of scales between religious philosophies and science, a considerable number of scientists probably because of being overwhelmed by reality about complexity of the universe that is revealed through scientific endeavors ever since renaissance have dismissed the idea of God entirely.
In other words, complexities of the universe and human life brought to light by scientific discoveries have made religious teachings about universe and life appear too simple and superficial to be true or worth believing to a considerable number of scientists.
These explains the line of division between and among the group of explorers coming back from expedition narrated about in Arthur C. Clarke’s fictional masterpiece- “The Star”.
Surprisingly there are many scientists of no mean reputation both in western societies and other parts of the world who have appreciated the fact that science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind in real life.
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They recognize convincingly that human societies requires an emancipating religion and objective science in order to deal fairly well with problems facing them as they strive to attain self realization regarding their place and purpose of existence in this universe.