On Indian TV, there is a TATA SKY ad that is currently running that offers new TV channel. This TV Channel will allow the viewer to get ‘darshan’ of their deities in different temples while sitting in their homes. The ad says that having this channel at home would give you ‘acche sanskar’ and this acche sanskar is directly correlated to watching the deities on the television. This mindset is very much in tune with what most Indians believe- that religiosity is very important to be moral.
This ad depicts young and old Indians who are extremely modern in their attire, habits and professions, not your typical saadhus or ascetics who have renounced the material world. Its shows a young boy sporting a goatee and ear stud, a businessman in sophisticated business attire, a modern lady in a beauty parlor, and a young college girl in jeans, they have all embraced tools of modernity, but they show reverence and respect (acche sanskar) because of their religion (in this case it happens to be Hinduism).
It is clear, as Samuel Huntington rightly puts it - most non-Western societies are becoming more religious while embracing tools of modernity with more vigor. This ad only reflects what he has to say.
While I was thinking more about this topic, I came with an observation.
Science usually deals with discoveries, while technology involves inventions (on an exaggerated generalization). Inventions (that is technology) in turn helps scientists to make more discoveries (furthering science) which will in turn fuel more inventions (more technology). So, basically science and technology feed into each other, hence we use the term ‘science and technology’ together. Tough they are used together but they are not same. The fact they are very different comes out more prominently when we bring religion into the picture.
Before I go into that, let’s look at the religion vis-à-vis inventions and discoveries.
Religion easily laps up all inventions and in fact it loves technology. Gurus use technology medium with utmost savvy to reach out to their devotees. TV, SMS, DVD, Walkman, Tape Recorders, Video Cameras, Mobile phones, are used by religion to bring the religious people together, to keep a tab on them, to communicate with them, and to spread their message. Evangelists use TV for promoting their religion and to garner the devotee’s money. Religious terrorists use satellite phones, cryptography, and internet to communicate with each other to carry out their evil designs. Also, you will see that the devotees in very high places use mobile phones and e-mails to carry out their business. Engineers and doctors are actively promoted by the religion. Many religious people embrace technology with utmost ease and vigor without having to understand or appreciate the fundamentals of science.
However religion abhors science. That’s because science enters the realm and domain that is dominated by blind belief. Where science enters, it shines light on the darkness of orthodoxy and superstition. Science dispels myths, stories, lies, and other conundrums concocted to fool ignorant people. It talks about origin of universe which was always a domain in which religion dominated for many centuries. Science explains away nature with a set of easily understood laws while religion likes to keep it mysterious and complicated. Most religions on the planet abhor science - some do it pronouncedly while some do it mildly.
Religion’s attitude towards inventions is a welcoming one while it shuns discoveries. If I were to put it in crude way, religion promotes inventions while it discourages discoveries. Religion invents all the time – of instances of human interventions that become divine, invents stories and fables, invents lies to tie those stories and fables into one consistent story, and so on. So, basically religious people are quite ready to embrace inventions (technology) but are quite averse to discovering anything (science).
While religions and religious people are ready to embrace the byproducts of science that come as a tools of technology, they continue to have skeptical view of science and scientists. This is prominently seen in developing world which have tasted the material benefits of technology without having to toil for it.