It is not 'science' that has become a religion. It is 'scientism', the false belief that science has the answer to everything whether science is actually adequate to answer the questions posed or not.
From Daffey Thoughts
By David Griffey
The one God comes to drive out the many gods. The spirits of wood and stream grow silent. It's the way of things. Excalibur, 1981.
So said Merlin in the movie Excalibur. One of many old tropes in which the Enlightened march of Christianity and the Western way came to drive out the barbarism and paganism of the old world.
Well, let's try that now given developments over the past few years:
Science comes to drive out the old Christian god. The spirits and demons grow silent. It's the way of things.
I'd say that's accurate. Whether it should be accurate or not isn't my concern. But I'd say it is accurate for our time. Science is, in many ways, the default god of our time; science is the religion, science is the church, and scientists are the priesthood.
Whether or not they should be, or science is really this and not is irrelevant. I'd wager in the minds of many - perhaps most - Westerners, this is the fact. Science long ago dispelled religion as an archaic superstitious attempt to answer questions of the world. Science is now the answer to everything.
Certainly people outside the Faith hold this view and are open about it. Science and scholarship utilizing the methods of science have long debunked ancient religious myths and folktales. Moses, David, and Jesus are now no more real than leprechauns, minotaurs and banshees. The spirit world has faded into nothing but viruses and molecules, and everything that was explained by the spirit world is now explained by science.
That's the non-believer. Within the halls of the faithful, many have more or less accepted this at face value as well, with the caveat that there's still God of sorts, and eternity is as good as always. But in most cases, the Bible is no more than a collection of myths and fairy tales no different than the Aeneid or the Iliad. More than one of my old liberal Protestant colleagues held to such a viewpoint.
Others, of course, don't go so far. But they'll certainly concede that science has opened up an entirely new way of seeing things. Gone is Jesus casting out demons. Epilepsy you see. Gone are Adam and Eve. Those are just ancient representations of some vague moment when our ape ancestors evolved into the current version of humanity. Gone are many old tales that clearly came from a primitive past outside of the realm of scientific inquiry and our modern knowledge of how things really work.
And those are the faithful Sunday to Sunday believers who still hold to the physical Resurrection or the Virgin Birth. It's just other parts of the Christian vision of the world they're willing to rewrite or dismiss as ancient tales from an ancient world perspective because, well, Science.
So given that, it hasn't been difficult for this new age of Science to become the new religion. An age of Sciencedom you might say. And like being a pagan in old Christendom, being a Christian in Sciencedom is becoming increasingly difficult. Sure, it took some time for the Christian faith to eliminate most vestiges of old pagan beliefs. It's taken less time for Sciencedom to do the same thing to a growing list of Christian beliefs.
What about those who have been the faithful, who have clung to the reality of people walking on water and rising from the dead and crossing Red Seas? Given the speed with which so many of them are now throwing out old priorities, old moralities, old teachings on everything from the nature of humans to the exclusivity of the Gospel message to traditional Christian morals, it makes you wonder just how much they really had resisted the new gospel of Science after all.
Again, I'm not saying this is what science is, or that science should be used this way, or that it's an affront to science or not. Nor am I saying it was the fault of science and it was science that made a bunch of devout believers question everything.
I know full well that many in high places of Western intelligentsia were already questioning even the existence of the One God long before Industrialization came into play. It could be that the faith has been wavering for a while, and now that the institutions of Sciencedom are beginning to push harder, we're seeing just how many had remained faithful to the old-time religion, and just how many had already begun to lose faith.