I think every person can probably place themselves on some type of Kinsey-esque scale on which one side would be those who saw themselves as “VERY RELIGIOUS” and on the other side would be those that were “VERY SCIENTIFIC.” It is arguably this assumed separation between the two that has kept people from understanding that the two are very much the same. Those that skew more scientific have a tough time with “religion” because it is faith based, cannot be measured or tested, and those who would proclaim themselves more religious often declare truths which oppose scientific theory and testable phenomenon.
These perspectives, at face value, cannot be reconciled but in fact they are easily reconciled, if we accept a few things:
- RELIGION IS NOT FAITH: Religion is as flawed as man in its implementation, and though a tool to understand faith and understand God, religion is not God or faith. In faith we can find connection with God, in religion we can hopefully build the muscle to live faithfully.
- FAITH REALLY MEANS ACCEPTANCE: To have faith is simply to accept there are things beyond your capability to understand, measure, see, experience, or know and a willingness to just let that sort of wash over you in its implications. That’s how it felt to me the first time I “had faith.” In its very nature, it is indescribable.
I personally have never seen the citric acid cycle produce ATP nor have I seen cosmological phenomenon like a solar flare. Yet today when I went to fly my drone I did what my pre-flight checklist suggests which is checking the “Solar Activity Monitor” and found out a medium flare had occurred, that the earth’s gravitational field was destabilized, and it was recommended I not fly given the lack of GPS and compass capabilities. I would have never known, but it does explain also why my radar detector wasn’t working. I’ve never seen or touched gravity, yet I understand its presence and mathematical models of how it operates explain observable phenomenon so there is a trust-ability inherent in the concept.
Similarly, I have never seen God, touched a photon of light, or been to “heaven” but I have felt the touch of intuition guide me one direction versus the other, felt peace in the brief moments I can clear my mind of distraction and achieve meditative calm, and I have felt and feel love.
It’s easy to explain this latter group of things — these God things — these religious things — these emotional things — as just “intuition” or our brain’s amazing and untapped cognitive power, as neuropathways more advanced than others. But isn’t it just as easy to accept it as something we cannot or do not know and just enjoy its existence and have faith it comes from a source we don’t understand?
Ignoring all that “religion” and “the church” represents and the many who proclaim them representatives of both of these, can’t we call what we feel but can’t explain God and have faith in it, accepting we may never know it fully? Isn’t it simpler to accept the endlessness of time and space and just accept it as so and to let this be what God is?
Call it God, call it whatever you want — but it needs no name whatsoever. The reality is, it’s acceptance and a willingness to stop trying to define or understand the nature of everything where faith has become a powerful part of my life and where greater connection with “God” finally was not only possible but palpable.
Science is our best and most regimented and repeatable approach towards defining the universe, from those things closest and most visible to us all the way to those things we can never see with human eyes. Faith is acceptance — that we know what we know, that we know what we don’t know, and that we don’t know what we don’t know. Simple as that.
The problem is that we’ve anthropomorphized this notion of God and attached to it the fallibility and corruptibility of man, gradually institutionalizing in the church the opinion of humankind and walking away from the principles of kindness, compassion, empathy, love, accountability, truth and humility. We’ve made Global Warming a religion versus science issue when God long ago “perfected” and departed the realm of our earth and is simply waiting for each of us to do what we need to do so we can move forward in our own perfection. What happens to earth, truly, is inconsequential in that framing. But these are matters for another post.