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Perspectives, Science and Religion

Science and Religion Need Each Other

lindeI remember when I saw the video that was circulating a few weeks ago, showing Stanford Professor, Andrei Linde, celebrating the news that a hypothesis that was central to his life’s work – related to the Big Bang theory – had been confirmed by a colleague, assistant professor, Chao Lin-Kuo.

First, I was struck by how much I loved the initial message: “Five Sigma, R, .2 plus or minus .05. Clear as day!” The fact that that meant something to all of them – and something that meant something that made them hug each other and pop champagne…that was fantastic to me. Suffice it to say, I felt their joy.

Then, a quote from Professor Linde in the middle of the celebration video gave me chills. He said:

“…if this is true, this is a moment of understanding of nature of such a magnitude that it just overwhelms. Let’s see. Let’s just hope that it is not a trick. I always live with this feeling…what if I am tricked? What if I believe this just because it is beautiful?”

The pure emotion in that quote was palpable. I felt the magnitude of his wonder. And, although I am sure some might not understand the leap that I made when I heard that comment, it made me think of my experiences with faith and worship – times when I felt that I was experiencing the Divine in such an overwhelming way that I too, thought to myself, “Let’s just hope that is not a trick…What if I believe this just because it is beautiful?”

scienceandreligionI meant to write a blog post about it then…but time got away from me. But I was reminded of that clip when I saw this piece by Rabbi Michael Knopf asking the question: Science and Religion Need Each Other: Would Cosmos’ Neil deGrasse Tyson agree?

I remember high school physics and talking about and watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. I have been planning to binge watch the new Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson, as I keep missing it when it comes on television. I am even more inspired to do so if in fact what Rabbi Knopf says is true:

“As a person of faith, I appreciate Cosmos because, while it describes the sometimes-tense historical relationship between religion and science, it refuses to argue that this clash is inevitable.”

I am inspired by intelligence, and enthralled by the various paths and journeys that people take as they seek God’s face, however they perceive God to be.

I, like Rabbi Knopf, “don’t believe that science and religion are in utter conflict.”

I enjoyed reading his perspective, and would love hearing your thoughts about it as well. Do you think that science and religion can coexist? Do you believe that the integration between science and religion is the key to our universe?


2 thoughts on “Science and Religion Need Each Other

  1. I think this depends on how you define “religion”. I have always believed science, the search for how things ARE, is a confirmation that creative energy, life, is greater than we can imagine. The more we learn the more we are amazed at the wonders of existence. If religion is a set of rigid rules of behavior based on limited knowledge of the power of creative energy, how can there not be a conflict? Science is about what IS and what may be, religion as a set of rules is a recipie for controlling human behavior and thought. If religion is a way of expressing reverence and gratitude for the wonders of life and seeing the sacred in everything, that we are a part of something greater than ourselves, we can rejoice in scientific searches and discovery.and there is no conflict. To me, quantum physics just confirms the power of prayer to bring about change.

    Posted by Anne-Marie Hober | April 3, 2014, 9:34 am
  2. Anne-Marie, thank you for your thoughtful comment. As you might imagine, I think religion is far more than “a set of rigid rules of behavior based on limited knowledge of the power of creative energy,” so I think we are on the same page. I find intersections between spiritual discovery and scientific discovery to be fascinating.

    Posted by my52wow | April 29, 2014, 5:53 pm

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