SCIENCE NOT SILENCE
Hardly a day goes by when the people of the world are not more and more aware of the world. The issues of Immigration, War, Hunger and Terrorism remind us of the suffering of many and the anguish of not a few. As Earth Day approaches, we pause to ponder the spiritual and interfaith implications of this modern-day observance (April 22).
The Scientific Community and other people of good will have decided to march for Science on Earth Day. In this day and age of “alternative facts” and questionable truths, it is important to claim the power of our intellect to guide us in the way of justice and intelligence. It is no longer tenable to put science and religion in opposition to each other. The pursuit of truth, based on facts, is one of the most powerful acts a human being can achieve. We cannot afford to reduce the quest for truth to an expedient self-serving world of “alternative facts”.
As we prepare for Earth Day, we might consider at least three contributions science and the pursuit of truth based on facts have given to the spiritual pursuit.
First, modern Science has moved the scientific inquiry from a mechanistic understanding of the world to a holistic appreciation. We do not live on the surface of a great machine. The World is alive and the Divine is sensed, celebrated and encountered in the matrix of it all. This invites us to a sense of wonder that expresses itself in gratitude.
Second, the scientific enterprise invites us to see and experience the world in evolutionary terms rather than static. Since humanity has evolved into conscious and conscientious creatures, we are now responsible for the world that created us. Our gratitude for life expresses itself in generosity to others.
Finally, because of scientific explorations and break throughs, we no longer think of the world as a collection of objects to be used, but subjects to meet and encounter. We are called by our very nature to live humbly on Earth, our common home. We are deeply moved by the wise and challenging words of Albert Einstein:
If we want to improve the world we cannot do it with scientific knowledge but with ideals. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, Mohamed and Gandhi have done more for humanity than science has done. We must begin with the heart of humanity-with the conscience-and the values of conscience can only be manifested by selfless service to humankind. Religion and science go together. As I’ve said before, science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind. They are interdependent and have a common goal-the search for truth.
Interfaith Peace Project (Antioch)
Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County (Walnut Creek)