Religion and Science: What Can Anthropology Offer?

Open access

Abstract

This short tribute to Ján Podolák comments on the space between two extremes: pure science and blind belief. If religion is not susceptible to scientific proof because it is a belief in an invisible world inhabited by spirits who influence human existence on earth then science in its strictest sense is the opposite of religion because it is not based on any beliefs but solely on provable facts. However, the anthropology of science should be based on the pluralism of knowledge and the seeking of truth in different cultural settings around the world. Everything human, also science, is a social and cultural phenomenon. This means that rationality is not a preserve of the Western mind only and that without falling into the trap of postmodernist excessive relativism, we should admit that rationality is not only universal but also not hierarchized evolutionistically or qualitatively by giving preference to its Western brand. Science thus ceases to be the only realm of rational knowledge. Religion in its turn is a kind of non-scientific knowledge.

ELLIS, S. and ter HAAR, G. (2004): Worlds of Power. Religious Thought and Political Practice in Africa. London: Hurst.

EVANS-PRITCHARD, E.E. (1937): Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande. London: Oxford University Press.

FRANKLIN, S. (1996): The Sociology of Gender. London: Edward ElgAR.

GELLNER, E. (1992): Reason and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell.

GRIAULE, M. (1965): Conversations with Ogotemmeli. London: Oxford University Press.

LESSNOFF, M. (2002): Ernest Gellner and Modernity. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

LÉVY-BRUHL, L. (1966): The „Soul“ of the Primitive. London: Allen and Unwin.

Ethnologia Actualis

The Journal of Ethnographical Research

Journal Information

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 262 262 46
PDF Downloads 92 92 28