Thursday, January 10, 2008

Can Religion adapt to Science?

Christianity is a coherence of ideas, from events, words and thinking. There is a whole system of understanding that it existed in.
All through history humans have lived in groups that said “this is how reality is”. Religion is a part of that. Change in religion, history and science shows beliefs of the past to be based on falsehood and ignorance. Thus it is the thinker’s lot to question his own current beliefs. Christian teaching and its underlying assumptions is a coherent entity, but what can be removed changed and proved false before the entity is destroyed?

I think these things because of a class in which a historical prospective on scientific discoveries was discussed. Modern science has been around for 350 years, before then, what did people believe?

The stars are just points of light when the sun is not present. Nothing about orbits and the solar system was known. It was believed by many peoples hat above the earth where the stars sat and the ‘wandering stars’ (planets) moved was the place of the divine. What moves things, comets for instance? Well for something to move, doesn’t some one have to move it? Thus it was a general belief that spirits moved such heavenly objects. They do so at the order of those higher than they so angels and God. The age of the earth was the age of however long people have been here, and the stars where in a sphere above, no notion of great distances where present. It was a common idea that humans where the most important creature and the main reason for which events happened.

Now, science has replaced, reexplained, or rejected most of the ideas about reality previously believed. There are controversies and debates to be had over specific teachings in science, but the overall fact is that we think differently now. Christians have came to accept and believe that nature has logical properties such as gravity, cause and effect, processes that do things as a matter of elements reacting rather than at the impulse of God and angels. God is no longer thought to live up in the sky looking down. Now that we know the physical universe is full of stars large distances apart then for God to have created all that he has to be outside of it looking in. For God to be greater than all the phycial laws of space and time we have learned so far, then he must be out side all that, controlling it of course. These sorts of concepts have to be added and adapted to religiously. Instead of saying ‘God did that’ when volcano erupts, it has to be said ‘God caused that mountain made of tectonic folds to be under pressure from magma and steam underground that expanded and exploded when the pressure reached beyond what the rock matrix could hold.’
As we discover how the parts of physical things work and interact, such as the process of disease and immunity in a human body there comes a idea that physical explanations can be found for all things and spiritual reasons are suddenly hard to accept with this new system of proof and evidence that makes science so verifiable. Science in many ways gets used as a new religion, such that it is important to separate actual facts that get discovered using science, from the way people talk and order their lives around what they think of as ‘scientific truth’.
Also, where people put their feeling of certainty changes. In a religion, one can say, ‘rest assured this is the how and why of your soul’. In science one can say ‘many things are unknown, but his is the how and why of this physical world you can see.’ Think about the shift in meaning. In a religion meaning is assured, though how things work is a mystery. In science, physical causes and such can be determined, but the meaning of those is unknown. “What is the propose of human life?” A Christian can say it is to enjoy obeying God. But someone who only believes science is true would have to say that the meaning of existence is to reproduce, and find something you like doing until you stop existing.

It is important to NOT go crazy in either direction. I have spent my life, and now consider it the purpose of my life to study science and religion (as it turns out there is little that does not fit under those titles), and both contain more than can be easily spoken of with authority. That is, scientific conclusions that lead one to think life is a random struggle and the soul does not exist are really beyond what science can prove. Nor does it work to take religion to heart and refuse to believe anything can modify religious meaning. Science and religion have their limits. Sometimes they overlap, but the only thing about them that is exclusive and opposite is what people do with them.

All this I have said is very vague and perhaps odd and unclear. What I am really trying to say is the most important topic I have thought of in a great long while, and I don’t know that what that is is even clear. Let me try again; “Do I stop believing in God because of what I see in science?” Or “Do I stop believing in science because of what I want to believe about God?”
Really, neither.
I think that both can have their place and properly coenside, and still leave room to acknowledge that there is much I do not know. So for the next while, I will continue with more specific and detailed topics that illuminate this subject.

By the way, if you actually read all this, then please leave a comment, even just to say that I didn’t make much sense.

Grady Houger ~ man who feels that everything relates to this

College sure is a mind expanding experiance. By virtue of learning so much new information, what and how I think are changing! When a person stops learning, things get set for life.

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