Peaceful coexistence between scientists and theologians


#1

Peaceful coexistence between scientists and theologians

I would very much like to know what people on this website think about peaceful coexistence between those who study our material world (scientists) and those who study our spiritual world (theologians). My attempt to write an essay on that subject failed, as you can see at:

Spirituality and science

The webpage was prepared to generate a discussion. Those who post comments should refer to specific “contributions,” as numbered (or to specific persons, as numbered at the beginning). This will simplify the discussion.

And let us keep in mind that the main topic is peaceful coexistence. Is it possible? Is it desirable? What should we do promote it? etc.

Thank you in advance,

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
.


#2

Not every scientist acts like Dawkins. Dawkins and his church of Dawkbots like to think they can dictate what is and is not, but that’s going to bite him and them in the ass. And I don’t think it’s bad to take a secular approach to whatever.


#3

Nice Kowalski, I saw you on RevLeft, what other forums do you plan to join?


#4

I think the theologians if you are talking classical theologians rather than the new liberal theologians could handle it just fine. The problem i think is with the scientific world. They seem intent on proving God does not exist. period.

Liberal theologins and scientists would have absolutely no problem since their goal is pretty much the same thing.


#5

Science doesn’t need to attack theology and theologists don’t need to take scientific evidence, theories etc as attacks. It doesn’t really matter what’s true in the end, especially if humans are at some point wiped out of existence because our perceptions & explanations are only relevant to us, they only exist for us. There is nothing to ‘win’ so why battle? So what if your particular beliefs win a few wars & gain a few recruits, that is nothing in comparison to harmony & self determination, people living peacefully & able to decide for themselves which version of reality they are most comfortable with.

Coexistence is possible if both sides make an effort to understand the other side’s motivations. Scientists are motivated to find the truth by testing evidence and are open to re-evaluating theories if evidence suggests there’s a need. Scientists spend their careers testing & retesting to support theories. I’m referring here to scientists studying the creation of the earth & evolution plus related studies, not ‘does such and such cause cancer’. Also, I’m biased in favour of science but that doesn’t change what I just wrote about the testing of theories.

Theology has different motives but it’s not the ‘opposite’ of science, it is what it is. I mean some theologists are motivated to get as many others to believe as they do (either because that way it’s more ‘true’ or because they really want to give other people the peace they’ve found?). Some are motivated to denounce opposing views & go out of their way to ignore points they can’t sufficiently argue or look for possible holes in the logic or science and milk it. I think Dawkins has a little of this motivation too. Theological & spiritual beliefs about existence & creation give people comfort & help to cope with the more hideous aspects of reality that you’ll find in nature.

Also I feel that humans have had to accept a tradeoff for the massive advantages our opposable thumbs AND these massive cerebral cortexes have delivered. That being the ability to understand the significance of death, not just fear it on instinct. Also perhaps one problem with our success at manipulating our environment left us ill at ease with being unable to totally dominate nature, like we resent natural disasters because we’re used to being able to cheat death compared to other animals by using our smarts. I guess prayer alleviates that helplessness somewhat.

I don’t agree with pretty much anything theology says about creation & why we are here but i completely respect why others feel differently. The way I see the world took some getting used to but it gives me a sense of great peace, and I’m still capable of compassion. Actually if anything I’m more compassionate than many people with strong spiritual beliefs. I don’t want to offend anyone here & I’d like to exercise my right to freedom of beliefs :slight_smile: I have my reasons. But I don’t get heaps about religion, like why people believe in heaven & hell then go about sinning, or how they seem to pick and choose bits according to who knows what…whatever allows them to not feel guily & scared about doing stuff they shouldn’t, but can’t stop. Also I can never seem to get evidence for ‘the earth is 6000 years old’ or adam and eve etc other than ‘it’s in the bible’. I can’t swallow that, I’m sorry, it’s written therefore it came from our heads because WE are the ones that created language. Then again, the bible says God created language by speaking. I can’t argue with this stuff because there is nothing to test but how can I put faith in that? Especially when there’s been so much revision as church leaders have been forced to reevaluate, thanks to science…flat earth, stars being tears that allow heavan’s light to show through etc.

I can’t accept the concept of God as an intelligent designer or creator because it’s far too simple to be true, and can be too easily explained by looking at the way humans think. As in we create, therefore everything must have been created. When I die, that’s it, I will never exist again nor experience any form of conciousness. As a human all I know is existence therefore I cannot fathom non existence, therefore I can comfortably imagine all kinds of afterlife scenarios (and they are comforting) far more easily than imagining just ending.

I look at all the different cultures and their forms of saying the same thing; we’re not going to stop living just coz we die. Ancient egyptian afterlife, reincarnation, heaven, valhalla etc. It’s clear to me that life after death is entirely a product from inside our heads because if it were outside, the afterlife beliefs would be the same across the globe, surely. Same with ‘god’, we need to believe that there is purpose to everything because we make things have a purpose that’s relevant to us but completely irrelevant to our planet. Our individual lives are irrelevant, but en messe we are currently a significant force.

Our existence is meaningless and is simply as it is. If it wasn’t this way we wouldn’t be here talking or thinking about it. To me existence (of everything, including the universe) is like binary; it’s either on or off, there or not there. I don’t see how there can be an actual purpose to human existence when it’s made up such a minute portion of the earth’s history & can dissapear far easier than it came about…meteors like the one that killed the dinosaurs hit earth on average every 60 million years. We can’t fathom that length of time. The geological period we live in, that we developed in, is a relatively short period of calm compared to past ages. We don’t cause climate change, we may help it along by releasing the carbon trapped post-stromolites but we almost certainly won’t be able to stop it, just adapt or die.

The Earth existed for 2 billion years before the first life forms (stromolites) other than maybe bacteria. It’s been suggested that bacteria were here at the formation of the planet and will be here when all other life is dead, or clinging to the pieces if it somehow explodes or is destroyed. Bacteria have been found in deep ocean vents that melt lead and in ice that froze in a far distant ice age. They seem to survive any conditions & it looks like this is their planet, but what is their purpose other than facilitating the life cycle? And what’s to say that was iontended rather than just what happened, leading to this current reality?

I could go on and on, the theory of evolution fits with plate tectonics, geoscience is far more believable than ‘the earth is 6000 years old because God said so, it’s in the bible which is God’s word and therefore true’. I’m unable to get my head around that way of thinking but I maybe don’t fully understand it (from that simple statement this is pretty clear). But I don’t NEED to be right, and I don’t need others to see the world as I do because it doesn’t matter. What matters is people can live in peace and feel happy & if that means believing in Joseph Smith’s version of events then so be it.


#6

don’t you hate the taste of that red bull?


#7

I forgot something in my stupid massive post that you touched on. If you take the bible, Quaran, all the scripture away and cut down on the stories like Adam & Eve & Noah’s ark etc then science and religion can be virtually the same thing. God is nature is creator, not on purpose but just because. Even the Pope has said that evolution is compatible with the Bible…though I still can’t see how all this happened in 6000 years what with all the other evidence about the age of the earth and events timeline etc. Anyways evolution can be seen as a method if that’s what people prefer, as in the way God created all this.

Scientists may seem like they’re intent on proving god doesn’t exist but actually it’s the people who don’t want God to exist using science as arsenal. Scientists are supposed to be objective but of course Humans can’t really be. Also the masculine trend towards competition and attack/retaliate doesn’t help things…I fully appreciate how frustrating it would be to have a thorough knowledge of the how and whys of scientific explanations plus how they were proved (Richard Feynman wrote a great essay about this) and be met with “Nup! This book says you’re wrong and are going to burn in hell”.

I’ve seen Richard Dawkins dealing with this woman in a debate/interview…I wanted to yell at her lol. She kept repeating “Where is the evidence? Where are the fossils? Show me the fossils” so he’d say “They’re everywhere, they’re in Museums, on display or not, you can ask to see them” (paraphrased) but she’d just repeat "Show me the fossils, they don’t exists’ etc. I can imagine that would motivate people to try and prove the other person wrong. I kinda get why he’s as aggressive as he is, because these people must bother him day in day out mostly without bothering to research his viewpoint properly. Some would of course.


#8

Haha writing comes really easily to me, I type quickly, it requires very little effort. That’s why I can write an essay instead of a post when I’m not watching myself. Or when I have strong opinions & want to explain them rather than wait to be asked :smiley: I’ve had no caffine but I like sugarfree red bull, thanks x


#9

you got a lot off your chest. I don’t agree with hardly anything you wrote but you kept it coming in an interesting and entertaining erroneous way. :whistle:


#10

Professor Kowalski,

Regarding the following:A year ago my dentist was very frightened, after a diagnosis of aggressive cancer. Six months later I saw her again, still working. But her head was covered; she had lost her hair. But she was very different yesterday–her hair had grown back. I am fine, she said, because God is in my heart and because he does not want me to die. How can anyone have doubt that God exists in her spiritual sphere? **Telling her that God does not exist would be just as arrogant as telling Galileo that his astronomical findings should be ignored.
**The term “spiritual sphere” is ambiguous and most likely completely vacuous. Suppose someone were to tell you that they know Elvis is alive because they feel it in their heart. How can anyone have doubt that Elvis exists in her “spiritual sphere” (or whatever). I suspect you’re saying nothing more than “my dentist really believes God exists, and it would be very rude to tell her otherwise”.

Would it be just as arrogant to tell my Elvis fan that Elvis does not exist as it would be to tell Galileo that his astronomical findings should be ignored? If not, why? What’s the relevant difference between my Elvis fan and your Dentist?

Am I wrong in my suspicion that your comment above—once stripped of its metaphysical-seeming language—is actually saying nothing more than the ethical assertion that “one really oughtn’t tell my dentist that there is no God”.


#11

It’s ok :slight_smile: as I said it doesn’t bother me whether or not people agree with me, just that they are happy.

Though if you can help me understand religion a bit better & reconcile my beliefs with theological ones, please do. I’d rather consensus and while I can’t at this point believe the Christian (I say because you’re one, you won’t be explaining hinduism lol) version of events I also can’t believe that vast, vast numbers believe them and are wrong. So it’s a dilemma.


#12

There is no conflict between “Science” (the search for truth) and “Theology” (the study of God).

God is the author of “Truth”.

Any scientific endeavor undertaken without an “Anti-God” prejudice will never conflict with Theology. Any “Theological” belief acquired via legitimate respect for what God has revealed to man (without adding or subtracting by humans) will never conflict with any genuine scientific discovery of truth.

Historically, both disciplines have had a human derived agenda (at times) of “going beyond the evidence” and using presumption to try and discredit the other. Both disciplines have failed to discredit each other because “Truth” is the foundation of both disciplines.

The human element (and its various agendas) have been the source of this perceived animosity, nonetheless some of the great advancements in medicine and knowledge of the material world have been made by devoutly religious scientist’s. Likewise, many respected commentaries that have established very sound doctrines that respect the revealed Truth of God have been penned by scientist’s.

If one desires to find great persecution of one discipline over the other he will find plenty of evidence to examine on both sides. Conversely, if one desires to find evidence of the search for truth that has reconciled many articles of faith and declared truths of God with the material world a mountain of evidence also exists.

The problem is not with “Truth” or its discovery, the problem has always been the human tendency to invest personal motives in the preservation of a concept of “truth” that has been acquired without sufficient diligence.

Whether the human motives that have haunted these disciplines have been power, financial reward, desire for revenge of former “slights” or simple fear as to what the “Truth” may actually reveal the result has been a retarding effect on each discipline that challenges the credibility of both.

Since both disciplines are populated by men I doubt they will ever be free from these influences entirely. The issue is made worse by the tendency of colleagues in both arenas to defend terrible examples on their own side for “communities sake”.

As a Christian, I fear no “Truth” regardless of its origin of discovery. I also fear no attempt to “prove” that an article of my faith that is clearly revealed is not in fact “the truth”.

In time, all legitimate scientific discovery compliments and establishes the revealed Truth of the God who made the material world. Those who “infer” wild theories built upon shreds of “evidence” that seem to nullify faith are invariably proved false as further evidence is discovered.

Likewise, all claims of “gods truth” made by men that contradict Gods revealed Truth are also proved false in due time.

Those who cast off the temptation to view either discipline as the enemy are set free from these conflicts. Their path to legitimate discovery becomes unencumbered by the stumbling blocks of ignorance and prejudice that sentence many to dark caverns of their own design.


#13

Are you a member? I’ve thought about joining but I see it’s a little more red than black.


#14

That is one of many issues to address. But first scientists should agree not to use their methods of validation is the world of theologists and theologist agree on not using their methods in the world of scientists.

.


#15

Yeah…in other words, stop trying to win because everyone loses. Look at what this stuff causes, especially between the various faiths. All that pain & misery when acceptance is just so much easier. What drives the need to make others agree with your view? That doesn’t happen anyways unless they reach the decision themselves, when it’s forced or an attack all that happens is the loser waits for an opportunity for their own pointless victory. Affirmative action cough cough.

There’s yet to be a religious atrocity committed by atheists (that I know of) or a war between scientists & creationists so this division doesn’t seem to be quite so serious. Why is that btw? Is it because atheism is relatively new but faith divisions go back over centuries of bad blood & resentment? I love this stuff :slight_smile: I getting other people’s perspectives because it enriches my own & gives me food for thought


#16

I am not sure what a “religious atrocity” is but the Atheist’s that formed and governed the Soviet Union were guilty of some of the worst atrocities in human history, both in type and sheer numbers.

The belief of most Communist thinkers is that religion is an “opiate of the masses” that create “useful idiots” is pretty universal.

Considering the tiny percentage of humans who claim to be Atheist’s I would say they have left a very significant trail of atrocities. If one were to extrapolate the numbers in a hypothetical scenario to 50 percent Atheist’s in the world all mankind would be destroyed.

Thank God for God.


#17

It enriches my perspective as well.
.


#18

Were the Communists real athiests? For the right reasons, or to control the masses by destroying their faith & source of comfort, protection & crush their spirits and hope?

I didn’t mean that Athiests=saints, just there’s never been massive acts of terrorism or wars started in the name of destroying other people’s lives because they believe in God. Irish catholics/protestants. Muslims with 9/11. The protestant/catholic wars in the renaissance & before. Witch burnings. The slaughter of heathen natives by invading armies, like china’s shennanigans in Tibet…if I’m right that’s what they did. Japan has a native race with a different religion that they oppress.

I don’t understand why passions run so high in religion vs religion but not no religion vs religion. I wondered if it was the relative ‘newness’ like I said above…I’m sure that’s a factor. Or is it the mindset? Like for an atheist I doubt our beliefs are worth fighting & dying for to any of us, you just think what you think and it’s not important that others don’t. Some are jerks though like Dawkins, much as I enjoy his writing. Do you think Athiests would ever be really, and I mean IRA/Taliban level militant about proving themselves to hold the one and only truth? I can’t see that happening.

I know you RET are really firm in your beliefs, which I respect, but do you think others may have doubts that lead to the need to force others to believe, so their beliefs are validated? Again, not attacking, trying to understand.

It’s not talked about here, people keep religion to themselves but I’ve met a handful of real believers. Most ppl are agnostic, most young ppl atheist…I think. I imagine it’s not common to be an atheist in the US or avoid being blasted for it if you’re open about it. Especially since Communists were Athiests like you say, and communism still riles people up and causes disgust.


#19

oh my. I see that you are very firm in what you think are your beliefs. Only thing is that these matters have been discussed and pondered by older and wiser heads and your ideas are the folly of youth and not wisdom.


#20

I’m firm at the moment because I’ve thought about it a lot, and what i’ve read has led me here. I know older and wiser heads have, thanks, as I mentioned above. Only problem is I ask for them to share with me, and help me understand, show me the proofs that dispute how i think of everything as a whole and no one ever does :frowning: I don’t mean ppl on this board, I mean people in real life. They always just ignore stuff they cant answer, change the subject without explaining to me why i’m wrong, just telling me that I am. Can u see how that would be frustrating?

And I believe what I believe because if you read it you’ll notice it’s a bit of a logic loop trap that I can’t quite get out of. Like I cant believe in the afterlife because I recognise how much of a blessing it would be to be able to. I want it to be real, theres all these different ones that essentially say the same thing & i can’t get past that…unless someone helps me.

Susannah did and I really apppreciate it…though she scared me also. She told us about her blind niece who died and came back but was describing things in heaven that she couldn’t possibly have faked…as she’d never seen them. That blew me away because I figured these experiences came from oour own subconciouses, like dreams, thus had to contain things we’d see or experienced. Susannah’s story was enough to really shake me up. Though I need more, I need to experience something myself maybe. I’m going to be really angry if I get chucked into hell just for not believing in a creator that threw up too many smokescreens especially when I try hard to treat others right. And not for any reward other than feeling good.

And again, what is the problem with having different beliefs? I respect yours although i don’t agree. I don’t call you an idiot because it’s not a matter of right/wrong. I just want to know what it is in the bible that is so indisputable so I can think about it for myself? The Muslims have Mohammed’s ahead-of-his-time knowledge to giive their scriptures crediibility in terms of being the word of god. He described the embryo & stages of foetal development pretty well (although he could have just cut women open when they died before giving birth and had a look, inferring the tadpole shape using logic) and he also described the mountaiins being made using what appears to be a form of plate tectonic theoory. That spun me out, though yeah I don’t see how it’s proof because he could have had all kinds of whacky theories part imagination part reasoning, just these ones turned out to be right.

And I’m 30 years old :slight_smile: not really a youth. I understand people really, really well and can solve fights betwen others and help them communicate how they really feel, and see what they’re trying to hide from. I feel that’s come from wisdom as it developed over time, and i hope it keeps going. I’ve wondered if this is what they mean by womens intuition?