When we look beyond material realism we tend to end up in the realm of the religious. Those pious individuals that cling zealously to dogmas that are so closed minded it’s easy to see why the Cartesian separation happened. You know the types, and I’ll use examples of my own faith as to not offend, who demand you see the truth of creation through the eyes of Genesis. Not the NIV, or the NAB, it has to be the King James Version-
You know, the version where King Henry the VIII had drafted so he could get a divorce his wife and screw a Boylen girl?
-Oh yeah! These are the same people that claim the Bible has to be read as if every line is the absolute truth. You know, no evolution, a 20,000 year old planet, woman from the ribcage of man, etc. They don’t leave room for metaphor or allegory or even attempt to digest other peoples opinions in spite of all the tolerance taught by their alleged leader.
No wonder the scientist of old wanted away from this backwards and restricted system of belief. I, myself, often run in the other direction of such zealots. Why give them credence? Ignorance will not save others from ignorance.
Now, it is argued that religion has slowed down progress by thousands of years and hindered the creativity of the human spirit. One only needs to note the word spirit being used to grasp the sort of restricted logic at work here. We often forget how integrated spiritual concepts are in our seemingly secular society. Every time we crack jokes about how a particular action may condemn our souls to hell what we are actually saying is we believe we are eternal beings that can end up in such a place.
Belief is a funny thing. The word itself is derived from the German word belieben which translates into “to value or hold dear or pledge allegiance to through service.” This would imply that our beliefs are very important and help shape our psyches, yet are subjective in nature. as it’s up to the individual to determine. We can see this reality by taking note of all the various cultural beliefs on Earth.
Scientific rationale may paint belief out to be a mere mental acceptance of facts but that tends to downplay how our beliefs respond to the material world we live in. I feel that by restricting ourselves to this black and white thinking we’re failing to allow ourselves to grow. So, clinging to sets of ironclad rules and ignoring anything that challenges our beliefs is just more dogma. This would make science and religion out to be nothing more than social conditioning.
How many times do we pray for patience and use the same mouth to curse the traffic jam we’re forced to endure as a result? Think of Einstein, a devout Catholic who saw order to Gods creation being met with the quantum theories of Max Planck. He desperately attacked this mans discoveries clinging to a material world view where things make sense and God wouldn’t roll the dice. He spoke of ‘spooky action at a distance,’ and begged one of those cute little old world quips to pop up-
“Careful what you wish for.”
-God isn’t so easy to define. Our finite minds have tried time and time again and somehow still left doubt to a non-believer. Why? Belief is completely subjective no matter how interconnected we actually are. We feel isolated because we are born into the bodies we are born into and therefore adhere to the physical laws of nature.
Mystics come along and tell us there is more than meets the eye but mysticism just doesn’t translate well. Extra sensory perception, the ways of the heart, is chopped full of realizations that tend to contradict our senses. A perfect example is the idea that atoms are comprised of almost empty space yet none of us wants to fall face first into concrete.
Maybe mysticism and science really do swim in the same channels.