Sunday, June 07, 2009

Muddling through science, art, religion and belief

I just read an interesting article about sea life and volcanoes. Animals like shrimp and crabs are adapting to live in an environment that's more acidic than a stomach. Behaviors and bodies are changing, and new species are actually being found. We're actually seeing evolution in action, and it's fascinating and beautiful.

The schism between evolution and certain groups of Christians has always fascinated me. I cannot look at the world around me without seeing evidence of both a divine Creator and evolution. Not seeing the change in species (just look at the average height of man over the centuries) requires a blind eye, a stubborn unwillingness to accept what is before us. Not only does it take a literal belief in the Biblical account of creation, but it seems to demand that God stopped working in the natural world at that point. That seems like limiting God to only what is in the Bible, and I believe that God is greater than the book. I don't understand why we can accept that God is still working within us, but not get that God can still be working in the rest of the world as well. We may be a species that has been gifted with the language to describe what is happening in the world around and within us, but we are still just one more element in a vast world. If God can care about us, God can care about the sparrow or the volcano dwelling shrimp.

The question of God is a bit trickier. For a believer, evidence is both everywhere and not required. For the nonbeliever, my assurance is their circumstantial evidence. If it can't be pinned down, it just can't be. Some people live well with mystery, and others can't. That's just a sign to me of the beauty and diversity of man and of the free will we possess. I believe in a God who values a love and a worship that is freely given by choice, instead of requiring it by making it a very part of our systems.

We have the ability to choose what we believe. Science, God or both. I see science, art and religion all about the search for truth, all aspiring to the same goal but taking different paths to get there. Personally, I think that truth, the big Truth, the answer to life, the universe and everything can only be found in God, outside of this limited world. Just as God is greater than any book, even spiritual books revered by God's followers, God is greater than any search for truth.

It doesn't take much to see how science has been flawed throughout time. You cannot search for truth and not make mistakes. That's part of the process. Any artist can tell you about the flaws in art. Is there a writer alive who hasn't read something that they've finished and later realized how they could have gotten at least some part of it better? Religion is not exempt from that process. In the vast scope of time, it hasn't been that long since institutionalized religion even admitted that over half of all humanity had souls. Neither science, art nor religion can hold all the answers, but an open mind should be able to see where all of these fields contribute to the search.


Blogger Nelle said...

You basically have stated what I believe. I have felt God's presence at many times in my life.

June 07, 2009 1:10 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Unfortunately, "religion" is often used as a refuge for those who are too lazy to search, too dull to hunger for the truth. They choose to adopt someone else's truth.

To me, religion is a cop out. It says, "Okay---HERE is the truth. You can stop looking now." If we stop looking, we stop...period.

June 07, 2009 6:08 PM  
Blogger Songbird said...

It's my experience that some branches of faith encourage reflection and questions, but I realize that is not the norm. I certainly try to open things wider, rather than closing them down.

June 07, 2009 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Virginia said...

Although off the topic of your post - I have heard lecturs on these deep sea vents and that amazing life that pops up there. Unfortunately there are those, looking for profit, that are mining these vents for minerals, and in doing so, destroy these fragile and delicate ecosystems.

I danced with science as a venue to "understand" and now see science as one tool among many for understanding the world around us, but I also have ways of "knowing" outside of the science world that is my chosen profession.

Thanks for always being open. I wish there were more like you.



June 07, 2009 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

"Not seeing the change in species (just look at the average height of man over the centuries) requires a blind eye"

Changing height is different from changing from one form to another - say an ape becoming a man. And if man started out as an ape, why then are there still apes and nothing in between (half man and half ape in the process of becoming a man)?

We evolve alright, but not in the way Darwinists/ evolutionists think. We change depending on changing conditions. But these changes don't change the fact that we were born humans and will remain as humans from one generation to the next. Humans are humans - apart from the "animal kingdom". And that is the main contention of people who believe in the Bible - we began as human beings from the beginning when we were created.

The labeling of "Man" as an "animal" is generally the reason why there is a "schism" between evolution science and many Christian denominations. However, that doesn't mean Christians don't consider science altogether (In fact, Science is important in apologetics).

June 10, 2009 4:51 AM  

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