Science is a systematic process to increase understanding of the world, and is based on the core belief (the only “belief”) that our current understanding is always incomplete and inadequate. Science is also a social and community activity. True, as with any human activity, individuals are charged with certain tasks. But accomplishment is based on the collective efforts of all society.
Religion is also a community effort, and although I would quibble about your premise, I agree that in some sense “religion teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.”
Are these compatible? It would seem to depend on what is meant by “satisfied.” If you consider my explanation of “science” above, those who practice it actually revel in our lack of understanding, because it is the very source of our motivation. Satisfaction indeed!
But there is a disturbing thread in religion as understood by many “religious” people that being “satisfied” means having “faith,” and that “faith” is “belief” and “belief” is not to be questioned!
Example (since you mention Dawkins): The Bible says that the Earth and Heavens, and all living things were created by God in six days. For some, posing the question whether or not this is a literal description is simply a “lack of faith.” So, under that approach to religion, “satisfied” means shutting down any impulse to question. Surprisingly, there are a lot of people who buy into that version of religion, and I wonder why.
To me, the idea that you should accept what I give you to read without question seems a lot like tyranny. Let’s say we have some dictator, or even a leader of a purported democracy, who insists that whatever he (or, more rarely, she) says is truth beyond question. Wouldn’t you be suspicious? What if said leader says it is true because God told him so? What if he says God told him so because he reads his Bible and sees it in there? At what point do you accept that, and at what point do you consider that you might just be snookered? (NB: USians need to pay our taxes by this Monday – How is that “middle-class tax cut” working out for you?)
What if said leader told you that he knows God had especially blessed your particular nation (let’s call it “Merca”)? What’s more, said leader tells you he is for the “real Mercans,” and will protect them from the “illegals” in the country, and from people from “S-hole countries” trying to “invade.” And although you might read the Gospels and have second thoughts, you are told from the pulpit that “Our leader is right, and what Jesus was really talking about was something completely different and only relevant to 30-AD Palestine.” (Seriously! That’s the argument!)
Are you allowed, yet, to start questioning?
My point is not that religion is necessarily bad. My point is that there are people selling stuff, and you may be paying with money in the basket, a tithe, andor your vote and taxes. So you should think about what they are selling.
Are they selling a sense of security? Are they selling a sense of superiority? Or are they celebrating a sense of mystery and curiosity?
Because, we all know what it means to have a false sense of security, and what it means to have a false sense of superiority. But can you imagine a false sense of mystery and curiosity?
If science is based on a sense of mystery and curiosity, is that in any way against religion? I guess that depends on what kind of religion you’ve been buying.