This is one of the biggest subjects around so I don’t intend to in any way answer it or to summarise all the arguments. If you are so inclined – search the internet, or you may have your own views of beliefs. In this post I intend to summarise what I believe to be a logical progression of thought and where I stand on the subject. I do not intend to cause offence to anyone in the slightest respect so if that does happen I can do nothing but apologise.
Firstly – the big question is if you believe in God. And you have to be careful with this question because people see believing in God as being religious. Believing in God is integral to many of the worlds religions; but there are religions with no Gods, religions with many and humans with no religion but one or more God. It is not the same thing. In Physics we understand the chain of causality. We work out the fundamental building blocks of the universe delving down into quarks, and then strings (we think) to find the final indivisible piece of the puzzle. We work out how the universe was formed and when it happened. When you keep going back in time however you always get to that same question – what caused the *insert furthest explained point in history* to occur. For me, this chain of causality is either infinite or it has a beginning – that is just logical it is a binary operation. I am not totally sure I believe in infinity, except for certain constructs. Numbers are infinite. Space being infinite causes me more of an issue. I think there must have been a start. What is this start? Well it must be some kind of force, entity, being or presence which we cannot presently understand or perceive. But so many things are incomprehensible to us until we uncover enough of the puzzle. This force, entity, being or presence is what I believe to be in fact “God”. So no, I am not saying I believe in a God in the Adam and Eve sense. I believe in God in scientific way – in a way that explains the world around us and makes sense. My belief is flexible and it is ready to adapt to the settings around me.
And that is where I think religion and science have always struggled. The issue is flexibility. Science works by putting forward a set of facts, battering them with testing in the community and adjusting them where they are found incorrect and strengthening thereafter. Religion is a game in which you must believe. I am not saying never – but often it does not invite testing or challenge. Where there is direct observational evidence that goes against religion – it is the duty of religion to adapt. As we perceive time it runs in one dimension in a linear fashion. The nature of time is that it progresses in a forward manner. If you want to stay current you must keep pace with the reference frame.
That said, there has been over the years in many places an ambient relationship between science and religion. Individuals like Dawkins are useful people to have around on such matters – but he is an extreme. His views purport to embody the flexibility of science – but to me I find him just as rigid. In the words of..me…In order to uncover the truth, you must be permanently willing to accept you are wrong.
Religion has as we all know been willing to integrate with science in a number of areas. Islam was a great supporter of the sciences – and following on from that Christianity did it’s bit. Not to mention the long list of religious scientists that have given us greatness. The sticking point is – which ever holy text you take there are some things that just are not true (creation vs. evolution as the most obvious). It may be possible to have a symbiotic relationship if one were to take the view that religion has areas which are meant to act as moral story – rather than absolute factual accounts of the truth.
For me, where I have always stood is for science to get the answer it will need to get a little bit more religious; and for religion to stay in the modern world it will need to get more scientific. The person who will do it and see God – who will see the truth will be a scientist with an open mind to ideas beyond sciences conventional boundaries. In my pursuit of the answers I hope to stay questioning, childish and ready to be corrected.
To close our please read the views of Albert; as with so many things he is 100% on the mark.
A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.
How do you feel about this big issue?