Every individual has a set of beliefs – things that are true to him. Those beliefs are relative only to their individual experiences, and no two individuals shares exactly the same set of beliefs.
They refer to two main categories of things: those that can be objectivelly experimented with – the closest thing to an objective individual experience, i.e. an experience that can be shared – and those that cant be dealt with objectivelly, and can only be personally experienced, and cant be shared with anyone else, but, at best, only described.
Let´s call those groups “objective” and “subjective” beliefs.
So, every one of us have objective and subjective beliefs deep within ourselves. One can prove or disprove someone else´s objective beliefs, given everyone can experiment with them and reach the same conclusion (if they are honest, of course). Science standarizes that set of beliefs into knowledge by testing them and making sure they are consistent.
But they are still beliefs. The fact that this knowledge can be disproven and, therefore, may be false, show that. IOW, they arent “THE truth”, or “absolute truth”. They are merelly the best objective aproximation to the “absolute truth” we could manage without ever being “it”. You cant say it is right, you can only say it is probably right, at best, and that it is consistent with observation and with the already stablished knowledge, at worst.
Religion, from the latin religare, meaning “to link again” or “get in touch again”, deals with those beliefs that cant be objectivelly experimented with, but only individualy experienced in a subjective manner. The knowledge that pertain to a single individual, ie, what an individual “knows” to be true, but cant prove nor share with anyone else.
By nature, those beliefs cant be reduced to an uniform set. They cant be proven, disproven or even tested. They cant be shown to be right, but they cant also be shown to be wrong. So, they just “are”, and one can only accept and respect other´s experiences. As beliefs, they are as valid as any other, including those that can be objectivelly tested to some extent. There is absolutelly no rational way to say that one of them is naturally “truer” than the other.
Then you have organized religions, that try to do with those subjective beliefs what science does to the objective ones. Problem is, subjective beliefs cant be proven or disproven and, instead, organized religions set forth a set of “valid beliefs”, ie, the set of beliefs one needs to have to be part of that religion.
Those organizations have mitologies and rituals that have nothing to do with religion “per se”, but only to their own “brand”. They never touch the questions religion should try to answer. Instead, they give a set of pre-made convenient pseudo-answers. You will never see a cristian debating the existence of Jesus in good faith. They will only participate of such debate to defend what their organization and themselves believe in.
It would be akin to a scientist seriously challenging the validity of experimental evidence or consistency, etc. Ie, if he doesnt believe that experimental evidence is essentially valid, he isnt a scientist. Just like a christian that doesnt believe Jesus existed isnt a christian.
But neither can be proven. Jesus existence can only be proven by His own supposed words, while experimental evidence can only be proven valid by other experimental evidences.
Both are what we can call “axioms” – beliefs that cant really be proven, but only be shown to be consistent with themselves. You need to have faith in them, period.
Altho science sets forth a body of self-consistent, experimentally observed knowledge, what a scientist have inside of himself is the belief in those propositions. In the end, individually, a scientific knowledge and a religious belief are both the same thing: what one believe to be true or accept as such.
Science and religion have a lot in common. Neither can be said to have a better answer to something, because, by definition, it that something can be explained by one, it cant be explained by the other. But both are equally valid because if you dont have a way to test something objectivelly, you cant say it doesnt exist.
And even if you do have the means to test, it might still be wrong, just like a religious belief.