Mystical Science and Practical Religion

Mystical Science and Practical Religion : Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh Discourse on Science and Technology

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Mystical Science and Practical Religion examines the religious discourse employed by Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh applied science professionals and students, mainly engineers and Information Technology (IT) workers. Although applied scientists, especially immigrants to the United States, have shown high rates of religiosity, there have been few studies of this subject. Based on interviews with forty-five professionals and students, Cimino finds that although they are from different faiths, these applied scientists share a common discourse that blends religion and science. They each view their religions as the "most scientific." Their work and study reshapes how they practice and conceptualize their faiths, though not in the expected directions of secularization and fundamentalism. This book provides a unique look at how the much contested fields of science and religion interact in real life.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 112 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 15.24mm | 226.8g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739182277
  • 9780739182277

Review quote

The biggest contribution of this book is to undermine the notion that there is some abstract science and-religion relationship at all...As an illuminating account of the lived experience of religion and science among an understudied population, this book would be a useful and even necessary addition to a university library. American Journal of Sociology Sociologists, philosophers, and scientists themselves have struggled with the idea that science is 'value free' in its practice yet 'value laden' in its effects. Scientists who are also religious believers, it seems, have much less difficulty with this idea because they apply a conceptual framework that circumscribes the value of science for their own lives and for the meaning of life more generally. The striking feature of Richard Cimino's book is its focus on non-Christian religious scientists, whose faith positions incline them toward mysticism but in ways that only serve to enrich their scientific practice. The book is a welcome corrective to the false science-religion divisions that permeate both popular and academic culture today. -- Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, University of Warwick, author of The Intellectual Mystical Science and Practical Religion is well written, provocative, and informative. Cimino's style is clear and not overly didactic. He analyzes and argues against Weber's secularization thesis that the increase of science and technology will be deleterious to religion. The book will appeal to specialists in religion and science studies, as well as those interested in the sociology of minority religions in the United States. -- John Caiazza, Rivier University Science and religion have a corrosive relationship, or at least that is a common assumption. Richard Cimino's research radically disrupts that taken-for-granted assumption. Through in-depth interviews with migrant engineers and IT professionals from three religious traditions, he shows how there is no conflict between religion, applied science, and "the spirit of pragmatism." While there were cultural differences between Hindu, Muslim and Sikh scientists, the new knowledge class shared a pan-religious-scientific discourse. At the same time, these educated global citizens are transforming their religious traditions in the direction of American religiosity with its emphasis on individualism, spirituality, and practical relevance. Applied scientists thus become the conduits between religious traditions and the host society producing a complex blend between religious orthodoxy and American culture. Cimino provides a valuable contribution to the modern sociology of religion. -- Bryan S. Turner, The City University of New Yorkshow more

About Richard Cimino

Richard Cimino is visiting lecturer of sociology at the University of Richmond and founding editor of Religion Watch, a monthly publication reporting on trends and research in contemporary religion.show more

Table of contents

Introduction Chapter 1: American Muslim Applied Science Professionals and the Spirit of Pragmatism Chapter 2: Rationalized Hinduism and Mystical Science Chapter 3: Sikhism, Science, and the Ethic of Prosperity Chapter 4: A Shared Religion-Science Discourse Conclusionshow more