Wednesday, August 24, 2005

nonoverlapping magisteria

Being a scientist in no way, nonetheless I adhere to a view that, side by side, science stands with God, so far as the physical realm. Naturally science is not involved nor is it concerned with spiritual standards of any color, these falling into the category of irreproducible proofs and therefore to the divine constant, the One, the Word, or that which properly is I AM; science is and was, and shall be so long as humans practice it, whereas the present tense applies from every perspective to God.

The argument made by CS Lewis for the "plausibility" of God, that the idea of right and wrong is universal to humanity, is a defense of morality that we "did not make, and cannot quite forget." If we were British subjects the world over, I'd be compelled to agree, and in the Queen's English to boot. However, I am not compelled in that direction.

To paraphrase Billy Graham, what to one person is right can to another be terribly wrong. "Everything is permitted," says Christ, "but not everything is beneficial." Morality is a political undertaking and is decided upon as the result of deliberation, mental or democratic; this deliberation, in its turn, depends from social, cultural and psychological dictates. It is human, in short, all too human.

What is plausible to me, as a verification of I AM, is that prayer in one form or other cannot be forgotten by any member of our race. Regardless of family, school or vocation, mental or physical condition, we endorse an outside agency when our hope or despair drives us to something outside of self.

This endorsement assumes variegated conclusions about just what is the target. Still, it is a performance that comes, reflected upon or simply reflexively, out of mutual respect that we cannot guarantee our desires; even if you call upon another person and not a divine apparatus, yet the impulse for prayer is automatic.

One can also argue idolatry as proof of I AM. Each of us shares the worship gene, so to speak. But isn't this another form of prayer, to raise something higher than self in order that our desire or exhortation or ego transfer or whatever might be aimed at it?

Dr Stephen Gould describes religion and science as "nonoverlapping magisteria," classifying the latter as a study of the natural world and distinct from the former in its lack of spiritual dimension. I interpret that as meaning faith is unnecessary for sound theory and hypothesis. Be that as it may, what does it say about prayer? If scientific discipline is not mindful of the divine constant, it does not necessarily follow that it is looking at the whole picture.

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