I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before, but it continues to come up in my studies as I move between worlds trying to understand this one and the next and the relationship between the two. Science and religion both purport to tell us about this world. Science, for the most part, denies or ignores the existence of the next world.
Both science and religion are useful, as long as they are used properly. Both have been and are abused. Both need to know their bounds. They overlap greatly, but in some areas they just need to shut up and listen. What prompted this is I heard a materialistic, atheistic scientist interviewed this week. He claimed to know there is only “one world”. He claimed to know that “death is the end”. He claimed to know that the universe is basically a meaningless accident. He claimed to know that consciousness is an emergent property. He claimed to KNOW all kinds of things he could not possibly know because science cannot prove any of these things. My problem with this guy is he way overstepped his bounds based on science and he was throwing in all kinds of bias even though he didn’t reailze it. I agree with him that all there is is “natural”. But, we don’t know what we don’t know. Radio waves a few hundred years ago would have been considered magical. We use them routinely now. How can he possiby know what does NOT exist? He claimed to know death is the end. He wrote a whole chapter about it in his book, yet he barely mentioned Near Death Experiences, a huge body of work that has been studied by many serious researchers who beileve it is a real phenomenon- not just the death throes of brain in distress. When challenged on these studies it was apparent he had completely ignored them because he didn’t think that the NDE could possibly be real. That is not what a true scientist does. A true scientist goes where the data takes him.
In debating this with a friend I made the claim that, in some ways, science has made us less human. To be more precise, the belief that science is the be all and end all of human knowledge has made us less human. If it cannot be measured, replicated and published in a peer reviewed publication, it doesn’t exist for many people. We have literally forgotten who we are and where we came from because people who have adopted this mindset think we are biological robots who simply accidentally popped into existence and will wink out of existence just as quickly. Without knowing who we are and what we are, we have also lost why we are here. In that way, our “primitive” ancestors had a leg up on us because they believed in the “magic” that we truly are and what undergirds the whole of existence. Ironically, science is starting to uncover some of this with things like the Big Bang theory, string theory and quantum physics. The universe is a stranger place than we can even imagine.
On the other hand, religion can also get us into big trouble when it tells us to ignore the facts and the data. Science tells us the universe is billions of years old. Biblical literalists have told us the Earth is just about 10,000 years old- total nonsense. But, since they have to hold to their book, they mistrust science which must be lying to us. And if science is lying to us about that, what else are they lying to us about? Religious zealots have used this excuse to ignore facts as plain as the nose on your face. Global warming cannot be possible because man cannot destroy the Earth. Using this logic we could pump an infinite amount of green house gases into the universe and God would magically protect us because that’s what Genesis says. When it comes to how things work, we need to rely on science. When it comes to telling us who we are and why we’re here, religion told us millenia ago.
As a man of faith and someone trained as a Chemical Engineer, I rely on both. As a technophile, I am grateful to science and the scientific method. I am glad for the “fringe” scientists willing to stake their reputations to break outside of the traditional materiailstic box and explore things like mediumship, remote viewing, after death communications and the like. When science can verify what many of us have taken on faith, it’s a great way to boost our confidence. For me it’s not a matter of science or religion or science versus religion, it’s combining both to form a complete picture of who, what, why, when and how? It’s fascinating to live in a post modern age where the two seem to be on the verge of cooperation.