A New Perspective on Science and Religion

“We need to begin at the beginning. We need to begin at our beginnings”, writes Adam Frank in a recent post on the NPR.org blog 13.7: Cosmos and Culture, to which he is a regular contributor. Frank, an astrophysicist and author of The Constant Fire, argues for a new perspective on the relationship between science and religion—one that looks beyond the debate to find a common truth.

To take this new approach, says Frank, means looking back in time, to the emergence of human culture. He finds that archaeological evidence from Paleolithic sites reveal the origins of both mythology and technology: cave paintings reveal symbolic thought, while tools reveal that our ancestors were inventors, and lunar calendars suggest that they looked up into the sky and tried to understand it, just as we still do. (They may have also crossed the seas to find what was on the other side, as stone tools recently discovered in Greece suggest).

Image Courtesy NASA_JPL-Calte

Frank describes how the same sense of wonder we feel at the top of a mountain, gazing at faraway planets and galaxies, or marveling at strange and wonderful new species discovered deep in forests, oceans, and deserts, also inspired our earliest ancestors to embark on the pursuits that we now call religion and science, as ways of approaching the answer to the ineffable question posed by our existence.

He writes: “Those experiences drove our ancestors, as it drives us, to an all important aspiration, a desire to draw closer to the source of that tremendous awe. That aspiration—what I call the Constant Fire—contains the original and braided roots of science and religion.”

Read Adam Frank’s blog post “Beyond Creationism vs Evolution: Beginning at the Beginning”, at 13.7: Cosmos and Culture

3 thoughts on “A New Perspective on Science and Religion

  1. In 1959, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, at the University of Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory, introduced me to mysticism and the universality of the Universe. While many scientists believe that science and religion can co-exist harmoniously, few would grant the same to mysticism.

    In “Quantum Questions / Mystical Writings of the World’s Greatest Physicists” (Shambala Publications 2001), Ken Wilber includes lengthy essays by Heisenberg, Schroedinger, de Broglie, Jeans, Planck, Pauli, and Eddington. Albert Einstein, who never claimed to be a mystic, did write:

    “The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”

  2. Anyone looking for a new perspective on science and religion need only check the web. For the first wholly new interpretation for 2000 years of the Gospel/moral teachings of Christ is on the web. Redefining all primary elements including Faith, the Word, Law, Baptism, the Trinity and the Resurrection. This new teaching has nothing whatsoever to do with any existing religious conception known to history. It is unique in every respect.

    This new interpretation questions the validity and origins of all Christian tradition; focusing specifically on marriage, love and human sexuality, it overturns all natural law ethics and theory. What science and religion have agreed was not possible, has now become all too inevitable. At stake is the credibility of several thousand years of religious history and moral teaching, and will certainly impact other fields of intellectual inquiry.

    What first appears a counter intuitive challenge to the religious status quo is worth closer examination; it carries within its pages ideas both subtle and sublime, what the theological history of religion either ignored, were unable to imagine or dismissed as impossible. An error of presumption which could now leave ‘tradition’ staring into the abyss and humble all secular, atheist speculation.

    Using a synthesis of scriptural material from the Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha , The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Nag Hammadi Library, and some of the world’s great poetry, it describes and teaches a single moral LAW, a single moral principle, and offers the promise of its own proof; one in which the reality of God responds directly to an act of perfect faith with a individual intervention into the natural world; ‘raising’ up the man, correcting human nature by a change in natural law, altering biology, consciousness and human ethical perception beyond all natural evolutionary boundaries. Intended to be understood metaphorically, where ‘death’ is ignorance and ‘Life’ is knowledge, this personal experience of transcendent power and moral purpose is the ‘Resurrection’, and justification for faith. Here is where true morality, called righteousness begins.

    Here then is the first ever viable religious conception capable of leading reason, by faith, to observable consequences which can be tested and judged. This new teaching delivers the first ever religious claim of insight into the human condition, that meets the Enlightenment criteria of verifiable and ‘extraordinary’ evidence based truth embodied in action. For the first time in history, however unexpected, the world must now measure for itself, the reality of a new claim to revealed truth, a moral tenet not of human intellectual origin, offering access by faith, to absolute proof, an objective basis for moral principle and a fully rational and justifiable belief!

    This is ‘religion’ without any of the conventional trappings of tradition. An individual, spiritual, virtue-ethical conception, independent of all cultural perception, contained within a single moral command and single Law that finds it’s expression of obedience within a new covenant of marriage. It requires no institutional framework or hierarchy, no churches or priest craft, no scholastic theological rational, dogma or doctrine, stripped of all myth and ‘worship’ requires only conviction, faith and the necessary measure of self discipline to accomplish a new, single, moral imperative and the integrity and fidelity to the newly created reality.

    If confirmed and there appears both the means and a growing, concerted effort to test and authenticate this material, this will represent a paradigm change and advance in the moral and intellectual potential of human nature itself; untangling the greatest questions of human existence: consciousness, meaning, suffering, free will and evil. And at the same time addressing the most profound problems of our age.

    While every day, from every television screen, newspaper, radio and web, the limitations of mankind are becoming both obvious and ominous by the failure to successfully address and resolve the most pressing problems facing the modern world, threatening humanity and the earth itself, with this revelation, we are offered a way out.

    Providing the ‘means to ends’ this new teaching is asking humanity, choose the future you prefer? The status quo, where existing religious traditions, mired in their own contradictions, corruption, hypocrisy and hocus-pocus, offer little but pretensions and divisiveness, and where existing political process can only feebly respond to the growing chaos of more war, terrorism, economic turmoil, environmental degradation, injustice, spin and whitewash, natural disaster, plague and pandemic; or learn to comprehend that human nature, prisoner to its evolutionary root, exists within fixed limits of understanding, and by taking new personal and moral responsibility, in a single change of mind, heart and conduct, by faith, transcend those limits and blow the status quo strait to oblivion.

    Trials of this new teaching are open to all and under way in many countries, colloquial evidence already suggest confirmations are taking place. For those individuals who can imagine outside the cultural box of history, who have the moral courage to learn something new, to stand against the stream of fashionable thought and spin and will TEST this revelation for themselves, an intellectual and moral revolution is already under way, where hope meets reality and the ‘impossible’ becomes inevitable, with the most potent Non Violent Direct Action any human being can take to advance peace, justice, change and progress.

    Published [at the moment] only on the web, a typeset manuscript of this new teaching is available as a free [1.4meg] PDF download from an increasing number of links including:

    http://www.energon.org.uk

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