As Worldviews

 Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.                                                    Richard P. Feynman, theoretical physicist, Nobel Prize, 1965.

In her book, A Call for Connections 1998, Gail Bernice Holland had this to say about science and religion. By nature, religion is subjective, a private enterprise based on personal beliefs. By design, science is objective, a public enterprise based on control experiments. This is a blog about science and religion, not science vs. religion.

 Science is defined as: the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Religion is defined as: belief in a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. Religion is based on faith: belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidenc. Science is based on hypotheses, seeking evidence through experiment,

 Science and religion were both invented by humans — in that sense they are both worldviews. Science and religion did not exist before human consciousness created them; we must not forget this. Since they were invented we have learned a lot about the world, the universe, the planet earth and the human brain, mind and body. What we have learned should have made a difference in our current science and religious worldviews. Is science or religion any different since they were invented?

Religion presents an exclusive view. Each religious faith is exclusive. Religious believers must disbelieve many religions, and believe in just one. Science presents a partial view, the physical. Science cannot tell us much about the mental, human thinking world. Human consciousness is considered “the hard problem of science”.

If science presents a partial view of the world and if religion presents an exclusive view of the world, science plus religion, as they are, cannot provide us with an open and inclusive collective worldview. These two worldviews, which profoundly influence our lives, will both need to be expanded if we are to create a better future. And if we invented these worldviews with our human consciousness, we can modify them, and even reinvent them — if we choose to. Human inventions should not be unchangeable.

The history of both science and religion is not a history of open-mindedness and inclusiveness. Religion is clearly closed-minded and exclusive. Science is open-minded but not inclusive. Instead of asking if scientific or religious beliefs are reasonable, rational, provable, or true, I believe we should ask if they are open and inclusive.

I believe we need an understanding of the hard-to-define relationship with the mystery of life. Maybe that is what spirituality is. Spirituality isn’t easy to define, primarily because it is an inner personal pathway that most of us would describe differently. We need a religion that is not so exclusive, and we need a science that understands human consciousness.

                       Sometimes I think we are alone. Sometimes I think we’re not.                                                                                                      In either case, the thought is quite staggering,  Buckminster Fuller.


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  1. Marianne says:

    Since we are so caught up in this move, I don’t seem to take time to concentrate on what I would like, example this article. As an overview, I like how you bring the need of the two together. I will print this and give it more attention later.

  2. Anne says:

    I am particularly interested in this entry because I am a psychologist, trained as a scientist, (not a Christian psychologist by trade) who works extensively with clergy. I am charged with psychological assessment of people who have, in some cases, some very convictions about their experiences. It is a balancing act, for sure, in which I try to be both respectful, discerning, and evaluative.

    • hbgelatt says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful response. I understand your situation because I have a very close friend who is a strong christian and I am not. We have difficult conversations.

      H B

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