Click Map for Details

Flag Counter

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cosmic Kinships

During the past several days I have watched episodes in the series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage with Carl Sagan as a contributing writer and as the sole presenter [Wikipedia article on the series]. I am enjoying the series tremendously and have great admiration for the brilliance and articulateness of Carl Sagan. As I watch the series I cannot help but feel that it is more than his brilliance that differentiates us. His sharp distinction between science and religion reflects a perspective that I simply do not share. Probably this has most to do with our diverse upbringings.

I grew up in a Christian home. My father was a Methodist minister. My mother was a homemaker and a devout Christian. My parents were humble in spirit. They were the least judgmental people I've ever known. Though they were religious, they were clearly not bigots. In all my years at home and in later years when I would return home for visits, I never heard either one of them say one bad word about science. In fact, like everyone else I knew, they embraced scientific developments and innovations. (Like other parents, they would have been proud to say their offspring excelled in science.) Whether it was radio, television, plastics, appliances of all sorts, automobiles, space exploration, or medicine; my parents welcomed them all. They were glad to see advancement of knowledge. In short, while being devoted Christians, they appreciated and used the works of science without one hint of any conflict between the two. My father preached about Jesus every week. But more importantly, he and mother lived their faith. It's fair to say that they respected science for its explorations of nature, while respecting the Bible for giving insight into human nature. The program Cosmos seems to pit good against evil—and it is clear that science is all good and religion is all evil. Science is staunchly insulated from the foibles of human nature. Religion is infested with them. This is an unfairness which would have shocked me had I heard it coming from my father in a reverse judgment upon science. It seems to me remarkable that professing disciples of enlightenment should so readily see themselves as beyond undesirable human prejudices and passions while finding those evils replete in religion. Would that human nature and the categories of experience were so tidily arranged. It is my view that religion and science can learn from one another in the pursuit of reality and excellence. Both religious and scientific abstractions point to facts. Both can help us appreciate the multifarious dimensions of experience – those that ground us and those that inspire.

Print Page