My book Why Religions Work explores religious tolerance issues. It could not be more relevant at the moment with the world in its present state.
This blog has concentrated recently on the wonderful pilgrimages I have been on - to the Holy Land and to Turkey and more recently to Holy Georgia , Greece "In the Steps of St Paul" , Ethiopia and most recently my experiences in Iran.

"If I was allowed another life I would go to all the places of God's Earth. What better way to worship God than to look on all his works?" from The Chains of Heaven: an Ethiopian Romance Philip Marsden

Monday, 14 November 2011

Are religion and science incompatible? Part 1

"After all, if there is no God, then God is incalculably the greatest single creation of the human imagination."
Sir Anthony John Patrick Kenny Fellow of the British Academy

Many now seem to believe that science and religion are entirely incompatible, at opposite ends of the spectrum of understanding. And that therefore in the light of our scientific achievements there is no further need for religion in our lives.
But science was after all originally called the natural philosophy. It is only relatively recently that it’s meaning has been hijacked by the reductionist scientists and the angry atheists for their own agenda. There are many scientists, eminent or otherwise, who still believe in God, myself included.
The Dalai Lama warns us that we should not ‘overlook the limitations of science. In replacing religion as the final source of knowledge in popular estimation, science begins to look a bit like another religion itself. With this comes a similar danger on the part of some of its adherents to blind faith in its principles, and, correspondingly, to intolerance of alternate views.’

I am far from alone in my belief that science and religion or spirituality are not mutually exclusive. If we are prepared to take a dialectical look at the extremes of polarity between the scientific and the spiritual viewpoint, between the objective and the subjective, between thinking and feeling, the expressible and the ineffable, between our outer or exoteric selves and the inner or esoteric, we may be able to appreciate that these extremes are simply different ways of viewing the same reality. We have inherited the works of the great mystics, from all cultures and faiths. They alone have seen things, experienced things, which only they have been able to articulate for the benefit of us all. Many are able to feel these qualities from both a heart and a head perspective, to have a sense of the spiritual, the intrinsic, the inner, but still cannot accept the need for any organised religion.
I want to explore at a later date the advances in the scientific understanding of our brain and our consciousness and how these not only begin to bridge the gap between science on the one hand and religion or spirituality on the other, but also why I believe they are of importance within the religious tolerance debate. Meanwhile science has a very long way to go before it can hope to fully explain our inner worlds of human consciousness and spirituality. Indeed if it ever will?

To be continued...

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