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There are those who say that in the religion vs science argument science wins because faith is not rational.
is true that you do not need a rational explanation of
religious beliefs in order to hold them. (The same is true of any kind
of belief.) But I don't agree that religious belief is necessarily
irrational. Faith and reason can coincide.
The most popular current view is that our reality forms our beliefs.
I share the belief, instead, of A Course In Miracles that the world is an illusion and is a projection of our thoughts. In other words, our beliefs create our reality.
I have engaged in spiritual practices and seen certain results take place. I would have to ignore a whole body of experience in order to continue to hold the more popular belief.
The theory that beliefs create our reality explains experiences I have had that are not explained by the first theory.
Surely the journey of science is one which seeks explanations that embrace more and more of what we experience.
I maintain that faith is rational.
See Do Beliefs Create Our Reality? for more on this subject.
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For me, there are certain qualities which are not so much religion vs science but are valuable within both good religion and science. These include:
Your Cup is Too Full
On the subject of being willing to accept there is more to know, there is a story which goes something like this:
There are undoubtedly those in religion who claim to have the answers. But my personal experience is to find an attitude of:
"I don't know what this is all about, but there is something I get from this spiritual practice...peace of mind, joy, somewhere to go in times of trouble, somewhere to express gratitude....and so I will persist, and perhaps as I practise, I will know more."
Similarly the good scientist accepts that he doesn't have all the answers and enjoys turning up and doing the experiment.
In all likelihood, he – like the spiritual seeker – will find more questions than answers, and that is OK.
Both religion and science can benefit from a level of certainty that motivates us to pursue our path, and a level of doubt that keeps our minds open to answers beyond the familiar.
The difference is that when it comes to spirituality, each of us is the guinea-pig. Spiritual practice is the experiment.
If we want to see the results we cannot wait for someone else to do it for us. We need to carry out the experiment for ourselves.
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On the subject of religion vs science, I find many atheists and agnostics are genuinely interested in knowing what motivates me to follow a spiritual path or attend a place of worship.
However, some have clearly already made up their mind that when religion vs science, religion loses.
It is interesting to me that such people can be less than scientific in their approach to a conversation on the subject.
They might for example start by telling me what I believe. (How do they know?) Or telling me how irrational it is to be religious.
This stance of attack does not encourage me to open my heart about the beauty, the peace and the richness of the spiritual path. And so they block themselves from exposure to information that would potentially take them beyond their preconceived notions.
For me, to meet someone's beliefs in a spirit of scientific enquiry is to set aside my prejudices and expectations sufficiently to receive information about those beliefs with as much neutrality as possible.
I may agree or disagree.
I may choose to voice my opinion or keep silent.
But if I want to be scientific and become informed about the beliefs of someone else, I need to listen and ask questions.
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Move to the Spirituality and Science blog for more on the overlap between science and spirituality.