The religion coexisting with science thread. | INFJ Forum

The religion coexisting with science thread.

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Eventhorizon, Jun 3, 2014.

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  1. Eventhorizon

    Eventhorizon Permanently relocated
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    I am interested to know how religious people view and relate to scientific discoveries within the world around them. My goal (cross my fingers) is to have a real discussion here without falling into the trap of well, if I need to put it to words its already failed. So that said, let me start.

    I have to assume that religious people see the latest scientific discoveries of our age. As an example it was not that long ago out milky way galaxy was known of and it was assumed there were other galaxy's but not known. Now that we know when we look we cant see the edge of space and what we can see is full of other galaxies, how does your perception of your god account for this. How does it account for the vastness of space and we small humans essentially floating on a piece of dust across a literally endless desert of stars? In other words, why all the space for such a small thing?
     
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  2. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    I can only answer in terms of my own religion - RCC.

    The vastness of the universe - and paradoxically its smallness (it is huge when viewed from within, but there being no reference points outside it, the universe as a whole has no size, or is but a point in itself) - is somewhat comprehensible to us. But even though we can grasp the vast, we are also very much concerned by the particular - that someone left rubbish outside our front door concerns us no end. This points to the fact that we, with our very limited intellects can grasp both the grand and the small... and grasp its beauty, which can be found everywhere. The work of the microbiologist, the subatomic physicist, or the cosmologist all point to the beauty of everything.

    To me there is no incongruity with the notion that God should make a universe so vast, yet have an interest with individuals - and both these things with a perfect love. By love, I don't mean the kind of love which seeks self fulfillment, or satisfaction - but the kind of love which like that of a parent which seeks to create and develop someone who is loveable in himself. Kind of like adding perfection to perfection.

    I think of the universe as both vast and small - but it is everywhere intelligible, beautiful and lovable. Believing, as I do, that God is the cause of all this, I think that if His effects - the universe and individuals are interesting, beautiful, and lovable - then He must all the more be interesting, beautiful, and lovable.


    As for the "Christian religions" - especially the "sola scriptura" type, who turn a blind eye to science - I think they are a definite departure and aberration of what Christ founded. Christianity is a religion of love of God and all His works - especially those creatures which are closest to us (both in proximity and similarity), our neighbours. To prefer a book to reality is tantamount in my mind to loving the Scriptures, but hating God and all his works.

    So to me both religion and science are doorways to more of what we are (in our very beings) constituted to seek - all that is true, beautiful and good.
     
  3. OP
    Eventhorizon

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    Ok so honestly... this is how you think about it or are you trying to be all contemplative about it?
     
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  4. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    Both.
     
  5. say what

    say what I like soft things...so soft!

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    I wouldn't say I adhere to a specific religion, but I don't see how science and religion can't coexist together. I think throughout history, religion has often fuelled the progress/purpose of much science - that is, to understand how we can become closer to God and God's creation.
     
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  6. OP
    Eventhorizon

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    So if possible, not so much the thought "needed" answer as much as the "real" answer.
     
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  7. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    Unless one presume to have all the answers, searching for truth/wisdom is endless. We can find much truth looking through a microscope, or telescope, but not much wisdom. In meditation we can find much wisdom, but not many scientific facts. Facts precede wisdom, but do not lead to it if the mind is closed.

    I have a bookcase of scientific reference books, from when I used to be involved in research at the university. With only a couple of exceptions/mistakes every figure, ever constant is true. However, these facts become a means to an end and not an end in themselves - and that end is the search for a deeper, more complete understanding of reality.

    On the other hand I have several bookcases of theological and philosophical books. They start with the end itself - the unknown called God and seek to understand Him. The sheer volume of theological and philosophical works points to the fact that the answers are not in our grasp. The end is identified, ultimate reality/truth/wisdom/beauty/etc., but the very nature of this goal is sought to be understood. These subjects are not opposed, for they search for the same thing, albeit through divergent paths.
     
  8. OP
    Eventhorizon

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    Right ok. Hold a picture in your mind of the Hubble Deep Field and tell me your thoughts. That or bring one up on google.
     
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  9. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    (Response as stream of consciousness - apologies).

    Looking at it, it strikes me that the universe is so crowded, yet so empty as well. I wonder if we looked in the opposite direction we might see the same galaxies (because space is curved in such a way, that if you travel in a straight line, you will eventually end up in the same place). I wonder if there are other societies like our own, and if they still exist, or will have come to exist by the time the light reached us. I imagine vastly different life-forms and wonder if there can be advanced non-cellular life-forms. I wonder if eventually all the stars will fizzle out into darkness, or collapse into dark black-holes. I wonder if inside black-holes there are entire universes ticking along at a pace/time vastly different to ours. I wonder if sub-atomic particles are little universes in themselves, much like the marbles in that annoying film "Men in Black". I find the galaxies out so far both beautiful and sad. Beautiful in themselves, but sad because they will never be familiar to us - let alone the neighboring stars in our own galaxy. I think about the big-bang and how the objects move in relation to each other, which brings up thought of the curvature of space/time. I wonder how it is that there is no empty space outside the universe - there is nothing outside it, so that in itself the universe has no size - and that this can be expressed as either infinite size, or zero size (for the universe as a whole). I suppose that if distance is relative, and that outside the universe distance has no meaning, then distance perhaps is simply an apparent distinction between two things which are apparently separate. I wonder about how something comes from nothing - and whether the sum of everything is nothing, or something - ie. whether the universe came about through the separation of nothing into two distinct, but opposite somethings - or whether two somethings began to exist. This makes me think of the cause of the existence of the universe: which cause I call God. Did he separate nothing into somethings, or did he create somethings? I lean towards separation of nothing into somethings simply because it is consistent with the fact that we do not observe new things popping out of nothing, without a corresponding opposite change, as described by theories of zero-point and vacuum energy. This also corresponds with the religious notion that God creates out of nothing. If creation out of nothing, then the power exercised to separate nothing into something is almost indistinguishable from mental activity - if we imagine nothing separating into two complimentary/opposite things - is the entire universe part of a divine imagination - an intellect so vast as to creatively conceive and sustain the notion of so many different objects and aggregates? If I am part of the creative mind of God, then how can I do anything that is not known to Him, or even caused by Him. How can free will be real? To God time and change in the universe are just another part, like matter and distance, so He is outside time - he causes/knows it all from beginning to end, without the experiential passage of change. Likewise, I suppose, my free will is real, insofar as time and change is real - but not from the Divine perspective. So it may be that I am as fated as the rest of the universe, but unlike so much of the physical universe I both experience and am aware of the passage of time and my own free will. How then does the aspect of my life being mine and not-mine play out in terms of ownership of actions/decisions? Hmm, time for more contemplation.
     
  10. OP
    Eventhorizon

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    If science alone is the answer, then all of us and everything we do is irrelevant.

    Yet when confronted by the honestly incomprehensible vastness of space our smallness seems almost comical.

    I sometimes wonder if it is possible to loose ones mind by knowing the truth. I find that when think about the universe and its building blocks I tend to loose myself. The only thing that brings me back is persuading myself its just an illusion.
     
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  11. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    We are small physically, even in terms of our home planet, but hopefully our minds are not so small.

    I want to ask a personal question. I have a friend who does not like to think about galaxies and the universe because he finds it so overwhelming that he feels suicidal - suicidal only when thinking about the cosmos. I find it very hard to relate to because the thought of the cosmos is very uplifting and beautiful. What is it about the cosmos that is daunting?
     
  12. the

    the Si master race.
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    How does it account for the vastness of space and we small humans essentially floating on a piece of dust across a literally endless desert of stars? In other words, why all the space for such a small thing?


    Why does this need to be accounted for?
     
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  13. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

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    I think it's scary for some to comprehend something so vast and beyond our usual perceptions, but with some exploration one becomes used to it.

    When I was young I always lived in the city and never really knew what stars actually looked like, but the first time I stayed in the mountains for about a week the stars completely flipped me out because I never realized how many there were. I was actually a bit scared of them.

    I was used to seeing something like this:
    [​IMG]

    But what I saw then for the first time was more like this:
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. OP
    Eventhorizon

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    Vastness and size. I find the universe beautiful almost beyond words. We see a picture and think the galaxies look close together but thats just an illusion on a grand scale. The next closest star is 4 light years away. The next closest galaxy 2 billion... It is likewise almost impossible to use words to describe how large the visible universe is. Yes, that big.

    So many galaxies that even if we could jump from one to another in an instant it would that thousands up thousand of years to do so. So many stars in each galaxy the same could be said. There is literally more stars in the sky than every story than has ever been told or written on earth. Each of those stories playing out on some far away planet.

    Add to this the fact that of the known matter in the universe, we are the minority. Further that there could be even more universes than there are known galaxies.

    We are so incredibly small. And yet, here we are contemplating how small we are. It is this smallness that allows me to see how unimportant many things are which is good. Its nothing more than a question that has been eating at the heart of man since he looked into the night sky. Why, who am I. The universe is both insanity and sanity rolled into one. Depending on how I let my mind go, I can see this reflected in me on occasion.
     
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    #14 Eventhorizon, Jun 5, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  15. OP
    Eventhorizon

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    One night camping in the high desert in Oregon I saw something that looked much like this.stars1-2web2.jpg

    So confused was I. There was no moon that night and yet I could see everything in camp clearly with no light. There was so much light I kept looking around to see what city it was coming from. No wonder ancient man worshiped the sky.
     
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    say what likes this.
  16. dudemanbro

    dudemanbro Community Member

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    The aim of religion; the method of science.
     
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  17. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

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    Yup, that's the Milky Way. You were seeing the rest of the galaxy side on there.
     
  18. Lerxst

    Lerxst Well-known member

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    I used to be religious, then I learned about history and science. Now I'm not religious.
     
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  19. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    Size doesn't matter. :p

    Our position in the universe makes me think of the medieval question: How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?... How many humans can dance on a speck of dust?

    We are very small and unimportant. But it seems important that in such a vast universe, there are such things as ourselves.

    Forgetting our place in the grand scheme would seem to breed depravity; remembering that we are a part of the grand scheme of things would seem to cultivate excellence/sanctity/greatness/etc.

    If we sold everything we had and gave it to the poor, it is really nothing - even if we could give all the stars visible to our eyes it is as nothing in the scale of things. Nevertheless, the earth, the sun and the galaxies are not capable of an act of love as is found in even something so basic as giving someone a glass of water.
     
    #19 Flavus Aquila, Jun 5, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  20. OP
    Eventhorizon

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    My mind works in a different way. Saying that love is "important is true but only in the way we perceive ourselves.
     
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