Over the years I have heard the debates between evolution and creation, basically between science and religion. It is easy to get caught up in the established thoughts and well defined sides, feeling exasperated at one side because of what they said, something that seems completely incomprehensible. Lawsuits and court cases have flourished. Communities and schools have fought and struggled over these issues. And it has finally struck me that the whole thing is completely misguided.
Good religion and good science are in fact probably the same thing. It is bad science against bad religion that makes everyone crazy and misrepresents both faith communities and science institutions. Just like bad politics tends to generally mess up the entire government. It is easy to listen to what is being debated, to try and hear both sides of an issue, and then assume that these are the only sides of the issue. The idea that there may be completely different ways of viewing something are not always evident, and it sometimes takes great courage to profess it. The young boy who cried out that the emperor had no clothes was either very courageous or simply naïve and ignorant to the danger of such a proclamation.
Both good science and good religion are able to accept that the initial thoughts and ideas might not always prove true, that we can always learn more. There is a sense of awe and wonder at the unending possibilities before us, the vast unknown of existence to which we face. Both good science and good religion appreciates the opinions and ideas of people who differ and who offer new insights. Both good religion and good science seeks to meet new challenges and new people, new dimensions of thoughts that show the vast interconnectedness of all things. Both good science and good religion are done, not for power, money, fame, nor personal glory – but for the simple pleasure of discovery and understanding. There is also a certain degree of humility that becomes essential to one in the path to good religion and good science. Rarely are preconceived ideas and long held assumptions barriers to growth when good science or religion are practiced. In fact new possibilities instill a sense of added excitement.
There are debates and controversies that give meaning to people, that fill us with rage, that separate us from each other and serve to define sides in society. The role of the scientist and religious pilgrim should not be to fuel the existing fires that destroy any potential of new growth, but to clear out the chaff of diversionary desires for power and to let in a growth of truth and seed of mercy. We are living in an age that revels in the controversies for their own sake and for the sense of purpose we gain from engaging in the fray of futile battles. We are also living in an age of new vistas of consciousness and opportunity.