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Trying to reconcile my love for science and religion


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If religion isn't productive, and science is, reconciling a love for both may be a bad thing.

 

 

But they can both be productive, one empirically and one emotionally.

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I wonder if you have really given this much thought.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with believing in God, so long as you don't base your scientific conclusions on that belief. My signature is applicable here: As long as you don't mix the two up,

There's no need to look at alien species to test the universality of specific religions; we have already observed on Earth that religion can't spread without human impetus. There were no Jews in ancie

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But they can both be productive, one empirically and one emotionally.

 

If I don't need religion for morality, I don't see why I need it emotionally. Emotions have their place, and it's almost never when I need to be rational. I used to be what some would call religious, but it never helped me emotionally, and always hindered me rationally.

 

I think this boils down, for me at least, to a possibility of an afterlife, a continuation of my consciousness after my body stops supporting the emergence of life. Is there a chance, without jumping through the "Hoops of Sin", that after my brain stops supporting thought, that I'll become aware again, this consciousness in another vessel? Or no vessel, just pure thought?

 

In a case like that, do I need religion, or just a consciousness that can figure out life in a different body?

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If I don't need religion for morality, I don't see why I need it emotionally.

 

 

But some do.

 

 

I think this boils down, for me at least, to a possibility of an afterlife, a continuation of my consciousness after my body stops supporting the emergence of life. Is there a chance, without jumping through the "Hoops of Sin", that after my brain stops supporting thought, that I'll become aware again, this consciousness in another vessel? Or no vessel, just pure thought?

In a case like that, do I need religion, or just a consciousness that can figure out life in a different body?

 

 

 

For me an afterlife was more intended for those that didn’t understand either.

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If I don't need religion for morality, I don't see why I need it emotionally. Emotions have their place, and it's almost never when I need to be rational. I used to be what some would call religious, but it never helped me emotionally, and always hindered me rationally.

 

I can imagine that life-after-death might provide comfort—hell or kharma too for the vindictive. On the other hand, a dying person may simply be pained at the thought that they lvied their life wrong. The latter is actually supported by evidence. There's a well-established link between mortality salience and worldview defense.

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I don’t believe god has anything to do with the bible but I do believe many of the lessons, in the new testament (plus many other texts), are worth learning.

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Maybe everybody should pat themselves on the back for not letting this thread descend into chaos. It is actually pretty impressive.

 

In my view the problem of reconciling science and religion is not difficult to solve but it would require finding a particular interpretation of religion. Religions vary in their doctrines and we would have to find the one that actually fits the facts.

 

If we want to reconcile science and religion then the only way to do it would be to identify a religious doctrine that perfectly accords with the scientific data. For Schrodinger this was the doctrine of the late Upanishads. In its pure form this would be atheism in my opinion but there is some debate.

 

There could be no disagreement between this doctrine and science, There isn't even a disagreement with metaphysics, as I hope to show in a book one day. I believe that by attempting to reconcile science and religion we end up normalising our views about both of them and come closer to the truth. Left to their own devices they both wander off into fantasy-land.

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I have my doubts about whether we can evaluate The Bible's veracity at this point. Some of it seems too bizarre to have been the original intent, like when David goes collecting foreskins. Besides the imprecise nature of translation, Galileo pointed out to Father Lorini that phrases like "the hand of God" certainly shouldn't be taken literally, demonstrating that The Bible isn't always precise and literal. Plus, in the case of the Tanakh or old testament, much of it was transmitted by mouth for hundreds of years before inscription. If there was an obscure, divine message after all, how could we discern it from the noise millennia later?

 

I suspect Genesis was allegorical and/or symbolic because, otherwise, it would seem that the Hebrews just plagiarized The Epic of Gilgamesh, which would have clearly contradicted its supposed divine origins. Maybe he just chose similar symbolism.

 

All this not having read the darn book yet. I apologize for MonDie2, whose post I have cleaned up a bit.

Edited by MonDie
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IMO I don’t really think a literal reconciliation is possible, empirical doesn’t relate to emotional even when the study is of emotional responses; all you need to reconcile the two is cognitive dissonance.

Edited by dimreepr
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I didn’t expect such a question from you but, OK, let me ask you this, if not for emotional stability/tranquillity what is religion trying to teach?

Edited by dimreepr
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Religion is clearly concerned to some extent with emotions. It has an emotional appeal to many people and many others are averse to it for emotional reasons. It deals in love, compassion, consolation, forgiveness, sorrow, pain and happiness and so forth. .

 

But this is of no interest to science. If we are trying to reconcile religion and science then we need to look at what it teaches that is relevant to science. Emotions would have nothing to do with this.

 

We would need to look at how it explains existence, consciousness, time and space, life and death, mind and matter and so forth. In other words, we would have to venture into metaphysics. This is where science and religion meet head-on, and where they must be reconciled it if it ever to happen. Here we can forget about emotions and get down to the mathematics.

 

Religious people of a monotheistic tendency and scientific people of a materialistic tendency usually avoid metaphysics because it threatens their dogma. But people who want the facts and not dogma, and who seek reconciliation by reference to facts rather than opinion, are better off doing metaphysics than science or religion because it is where they meet head-to-head. Elsewhere, for much of time they don't meet at all. For instance, physics cannot prove that a Creator God is unsound idea but metaphysics can. Science cannot show that freewill is a psychological trick, but metaphysics can.

 

The only proviso would be that modern academic metaphysics is NOT what I mean by metaphysics here, I mean metaphysics done a lot better than that. I assume that we all can see the value of university metaphysics from its prodigious output of results.

 

The question was what does religion teach. Obviously there's no quick answer. To give it a proper connection to science we would have to ignore the dogmatic religions and focus on those that do research free of assumptions and prejudices. Religions in this category teach the illusion of existence, the unreality of the ego, the inter-dependence of mind and matter, the unity of the universe, the unreality of death, the possibility of 'heaven' as an end of suffering, the non-reductive nature of time and space, and the errors in monotheism, in particular the idea that God is something other than ourselves and an object to our subject. .

 

Emotions would earthly things of little consequence. The idea would be to control and transcend them, or to make them useful as opposed to being in thrall to them. They would have no -place in a discussion of truth. What we feel about the truth cannot change it.

 

The main reason I post this is just to broaden the discussion away from a narrow focus on Christianity and Islam. Many people who grow up with one of these religions find that it is only when they have explored the kind of religion I'm talking about here that they can begin to make sense of the religion of their birth. I found this and it is a common experience.

 

So for a reconciliation it may well be best to start by putting monotheism to one side and work with other religious ideas, and then come back to God at a later time, armed with a much more sophisticated doctrine within which to consider His plausibility and possible attributes. My own belief is that it would be a mistake to claim that He does or does not exist, but metaphysics comes down on the side of non-existence. A number of religions teach that nothing really exists, God along with everything else.

 

If this seems to muddle the issues a bit then its job done. The issues are muddled, and they take some sorting out.

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obedience?

 

 

Very good question and a little tricky because there are rules and people have used them to lord it over others but then all societies have those problems.

Religion is clearly concerned to some extent with emotions. It has an emotional appeal to many people and many others are averse to it for emotional reasons. It deals in love, compassion, consolation, forgiveness, sorrow, pain and happiness and so forth. .

 

But this is of no interest to science. If we are trying to reconcile religion and science then we need to look at what it teaches that is relevant to science. Emotions would have nothing to do with this.

 

We would need to look at how it explains existence, consciousness, time and space, life and death, mind and matter and so forth. In other words, we would have to venture into metaphysics. This is where science and religion meet head-on, and where they must be reconciled it if it ever to happen. Here we can forget about emotions and get down to the mathematics.

 

 

I don’t think the two can be resolved as a whole, sure you may be able to find a convoluted way to reconcile two aspects and marry them and maybe even a few threads intertwine.

 

The biggest obstacle to any meaningful reconciliation is the texts are out of their time and culture.

 

So the only practical way to satisfactorily tackle the question is emotionally not easy without cognitive dissonance.

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If an old text says that the world is like this or like that then what possible difference could its age make to it's truth or falsity?

 

F=MA is knocking on now but I doubt that it will never need replacing.

 

Would you rather the sages changed their doctrine in every century? Would this make it seem more plausible or less? To me it would look like a proclamation of ignorance and uncertainty.

 

It would be inevitable that an ability to reconcile science and religion will depend on knowing a lot about both, while for most people their interest lies in just one or the other. How long would it take to learn enough physics, never mind biology, psychology and so forth, to talk competently about the relationship between science and religion? Why would it take any less time to learn enough about religion to talk competently about this relationship?

 

Maybe part of the problem is that science often assumes that religion is easy to understand, so easy that without any proper study it can be understood. I would say it's a lot easier to understand than quantum physics but it's certainly no stroll in the park.

Edited by PeterJ
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If an old text says that the world is like this or like that then what possible difference could its age make to it's truth or falsity?

 

 

Time won’t change the reality but it will change our understanding of it.

 

 

F=MA is knocking on now but I doubt that it will never need replacing.

 

 

 

The truth won’t change but, over time, the letters might.

 

 

Would you rather the sages changed their doctrine in every century? Would this make it seem more plausible or less? To me it would look like a proclamation of ignorance and uncertainty

 

 

 

See above.

 

 

It would be inevitable that an ability to reconcile science and religion will depend on knowing a lot about both, while for most people their interest lies in just one or the other. How long would it take to learn enough physics, never mind biology, psychology and so forth, to talk competently about the relationship between science and religion? Why would it take any less time to learn enough about religion to talk competently about this relationship?

 

 

 

The two are fundamentally apposed, more knowledge will only further our understanding of that simple truth.

 

 

Maybe part of the problem is that science often assumes that religion is easy to understand, so easy that without any proper study it can be understood. I would say it's a lot easier to understand than quantum physics but it's certainly no stroll in the park.

 

 

 

TBH I don’t think science really cares.

The only real point of reference is philosophy and both science and, to some extent, religion have, more or less, left that behind.

Edited by dimreepr
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So, you think it's a good idea to just make up your mind on this important topic with no attempt to understand the issues, and you expect me to waste my time arguing with you? Let us both save our breath.

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Then why join the debate? Did you expect us to all fall at your feet without question? Or do you think an ad hom is a valid argument?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dave

 

I assumed that anyone involved in this discussion would be interested enough to examine the facts. Just stating your views leaves me nothing to say.

 

Okay. you don't believe science and religion can be reconciled. Enough said.

 

Really what led to my remark was the fact that you have made all sorts of statements about Buddhism on the basis of no knowledge of it, and when people do this on any topic whatsoever I lose interest in talking to them. If we're not taking the matter seriously, as a real scientist, philosopher or truth-seeker would, then it's not worth pursuing.

 

The truth is, if you care to look, that you have no idea whether science and religion can be reconciled. Your comment stating that Buddhism is only relevant to those who grow up in a Buddhist culture shows to me that you have no interest in religion let alone enough knowledge to have the right to an opinion on its relationship with science.

 

Yet you fight for your opinions. I don't want to fight, so will leave it there.

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Dave

 

I assumed that anyone involved in this discussion would be interested enough to examine the facts. Just stating your views leaves me nothing to say.

 

Okay. you don't believe science and religion can be reconciled. Enough said.

 

Really what led to my remark was the fact that you have made all sorts of statements about Buddhism on the basis of no knowledge of it, and when people do this on any topic whatsoever I lose interest in talking to them. If we're not taking the matter seriously, as a real scientist, philosopher or truth-seeker would, then it's not worth pursuing.

 

The truth is, if you care to look, that you have no idea whether science and religion can be reconciled. Your comment stating that Buddhism is only relevant to those who grow up in a Buddhist culture shows to me that you have no interest in religion let alone enough knowledge to have the right to an opinion on its relationship with science.

 

Yet you fight for your opinions. I don't want to fight, so will leave it there.

 

 

Since I haven’t mentioned Buddhism in this thread, perhaps you should read again and maybe think again, before deciding what opinions I have.

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If an old text says that the world is like this or like that then what possible difference could its age make to it's truth or falsity?

You assume the authors already knew everything about the message they were supposedly conveying. What consequence would it have been if people three millennia ago knew vaguely what Earth was like three million millennia ago? Maybe that wasn't the point.

If I recall, it says somewhere that God cannot lie... but maybe that was a lie! :D

Edited by MonDie
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If an old text says that the world is like this or like that then what possible difference could its age make to it's truth or falsity?

 

Surely a more important point is whether (and why) people think it is true or false.

 

Any factual statements in such a text are just based on people's understanding at the time (or they are just made up). As we learn more, we may find that what was commonly assumed to be true isn't.

 

That is where the potential for conflict comes from; when people put more trust in the statements in an old text than they do in reality.

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