How do we heal the split, heal the schisms, between faith and reason, between science and arts, between reason and other sensibilities?
Philosophers will always want to challenge the status quo with new and sometimes exciting ideas, and creative thinking is going to be at its most astute and best when we seem under threat from forces that stretch our understanding, that are beyond our comfort zones.
And if the threat is serious, that is when humanity is steered most towards co-operative behavior and away from competition.
I hope that sooner rather than later enough people on this earth will truly take on board the enormity of the task ahead of us, that a sufficient critical mass will be achieved, to make a real difference to the way we live; so that all humanity, 7 billion now and rising, will have access to adequate food, water, healthcare, education, and justice for all. Could that happy state of affairs be in sight, with the help of the enormous strength of the world’s religions and with the genuine spirituality that they nurture, that could connect all people? Remember the awesome scale of religion across the world, which no amount of atheist campaigning is going to dent.
Let’s start with Stuart Kauffman, American theoretical biologist and bio-complexity expert, calling for a new scientific worldview of God in Reinventing the Sacred.
He proposes that we are all members of a natural universe of 'ceaseless creativity, in which life, agency, meaning, value, consciousness and the full richness of human action have emerged.' He describes this concept as awesome, stunning and worthy of reverence, something we can all view as sacred. He believes, from the evidence of the origins of life in the universe, that we do not need a creator God. (But what about the origin of the universe itself?) Instead he calls for one global view of a common God as being the natural creativity itself in the universe. Kauffman’s vision is that by harnessing our personal and collective responsibilities we have the wisdom, ability and knowledge to develop a new global ethics, and steer our evolution forwards through his proposed 'reinvention' of the sacred.
Kauffman describes four injuries of the modern world; the artificial division between the sciences and humanities, the need for more value and meaning in our lives, the need for spirituality for all, atheists, humanists, agnostics as well as those of faith, and finally the need for a global ethic. He believes that his ideas, based as they are on a broader scientific world-view than current conventional science, may provide a shared religious and spiritual space for us all, within which he hopes we can heal those injuries.
Kaufman offers ideas for a future evolution steered by us for a safer and better global place to live, aiming to address the schisms set out above. It is time, he writes, to 'heal the split,' for the sake of our world. He is absolutely right. But he can also be controversial and provocative, and as a Christian who believes in an Abrahamic Creator God I cannot agree with all he writes But it’s a jolly good idea nonetheless! And I have a respect for his beliefs and ideas.
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