This method can be further reduced into five steps:
1. Define the problem
2. Develop hypothesis
3. Test hypothesis
4. Analyze data
5. Redefine the problem
Religion is, essentially, a scientific method.
In Buddhism, for instance, the problem is dukkha. The hypothesis is that selfish craving causes dukkha and that the end of selfish craving ends dukkha. The testing of the hypothesis is the noble eightfold path. The analyzing of the data is the awareness of one's own life of cause-and-effect: does the practice of the path decrease or increase dukkha? Redefining the problem occurs on the basis of whether the path reduces or fosters dukkha in one's life.
In Christianity, the scientific method does not take as logical a form as in Buddhism, but the method is present nonetheless. The problem is lack of eternal life, the presence of death. The hypothesis is that the lack of eternal life is caused by sin, 'missing the mark', failing to walk in the Way of God. The hypothesis is tested by following Christ, by loving God and loving one's neighbor as oneself. The analyzing of the data occurs during one's life: does following Christ lead to greater or lesser life? Redefining the problem occurs when following Christ produces or does not produce, life.
Faith is the willingness to put the hypothesis to the test, day by day.
We can further develop the original seven steps of the scientific method into the scientific-tantric method:
- Define the question or problem
- Gather information and resources from both oral or written (textual or scriptural) tradition and modern sources
- Form and develop hypothesis
- Test the hypothesis: construct experiments that would confirm hypothesis and perform the experiments via embodiment and praxis
- Collect and analyze data resulting from the experiments
- Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypotheses
- Publish results