Body Meets Soul; Science Meets Religion; (with a quark or two for the road, ol’ buddy)…

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Buddhist Temple in Laos

Reconciling religions shouldn’t be too hard, really, theoretically at least, except (especially?) for the monotheistic mother religions that all diverged from a common Abrahamic/Ibrahimic source, only to themselves go forth and divide according to the fashions of the day and the ideas at play. But essentially they’re all very similar, except perhaps for a few small innovations that each made to what came before: they emphasis on love and forgiveness for the Christians as opposed to Jews, the emphasis on equality and a faceless deity for the Muslims as opposed to Jews…

Eastern religions had a similar evolution, multi-deistic Hinduism spinning off into Jainism and going more monotheistic with Buddhism, later to mix with Taoism, especially, in China, and other sects and philosophies according to local tastes and proclivities. The Zoroastrians had (and have) their own rites and rights, but likely influenced the eastern sub-continental face of Islam.

Reconciling Science with Religion is a bit trickier. The problem is not with the religionists. The problem is with the atheists, who want to claim science as their own, not willing to allow metaphors and analogies to stand as symbols of reality, instead preferring to ‘believe’ in Science in a way that no ‘real’ scientist ever would, carrying the materialistic model of the Universe to absurd extremes in an attempt to celebrate their own superiority, deny their lingering suspicions of spirituality, or—whatever…

For me to point out the non-materialistic aspects of standard model quantum mechanics would be disingenuous, since that is simply not the purpose of such theory, to settle religious and philosophical disputes. To try and resolve mathematical inferences as best described as either ‘particle’ or ‘wave’ is not to describe reality in the process. More to the point is the fact that religion is all about belief, while science is all about theory, proofs, and measurements. As such religion is and should be very general. Science is and should be very specific. Any discrepancy between the two is more apparent than real.

For example: at the heart of religion is a generalized universal belief in Heaven and Hell. Now you can say that’s a misconception of the great monotheistic mothers and their war gods overseeing the battle from above, but I’d say it’s more universal than that, and any notion that Buddhists have better things to do is probably misplaced. I can assure you that my Thai in-laws use the concept often and in the same way that we native-born Christians do. The words for such, like most of the terms of Theravada Buddhism, come direct from Pali and Sanskrit, directly related to Greek and Latin.

But what if we were to substitute the terms ‘lightness’ and ‘darkness’ instead of ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’? Has the meaning really changed? No, but it feels more acceptable as a modern concept, though, doesn’t it, suitably abstract and appropriately vague? Now what if we use the terms ‘light’ (i.e. electromagnetism) and ‘gravity’, two of the four prime forces of physics, measurable and quantifiable, if not especially definable? Isn’t the core meaning still maintained? Maybe we should think of gravity in this case at its extreme, a black hole, ‘from which not even light can escape’. Got it now? Sounds like Hell to me…

Scientists call what they can’t explain any further ‘forces’. Religionists call them ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’. So why are the religious among us considered feeble-minded and superstitious, by standard-issue atheists, while they simultaneously ‘f*cking love’ our best scientists? Good question. Bottom line: Science is a belief system, too. It successfully answers the questions you ask of it, not much more and not much less—same as religion. More on this later. Good luck finding those ‘gravitons’, BTW…

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