Monday, 25 May 2015

Science And Faith

In Poul Anderson's Starfarers (New York, 1999), there may be scientific proof of survival after death. The Muslim character responds:

"'I think the soul, God, the purpose and meaning of existence, will always be matters of faith.'" (p. 403)

Paradox: if it is proved, then it is not faith, and, if it is faith, then it is not proved. Fortunately, religion can be based on practice and experience instead of on faith.

Today, I attended a large gathering in Lancaster (see recent post). My purpose as usual was mainly to meet people that I know. This time, I met a woman who is beginning five years of training in Wicca. She expects to experience rituals more deeply after her first initiation. I also met a man who, when he read the New Testament, believed that Jesus was the Truth, speaking to him.

I try to make sense of that man's experience in the light of my understanding of the texts. What I accept from the Gospels is that Jesus was a powerful healer who preached the imminence of divine rule on Earth. Thus, I do not accept the other miracles or a physical Resurrection. The Gospels have at least one feature in common with myths, legends and popular fiction: different versions of a common story. They are neither historical biography nor historical fiction but propaganda for a belief about Jesus. But, like some Hindu and Buddhist texts, they function as "scripture," i.e., some readers experience their relationship to the eternal while reading these words.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    But, don't forget our email discussion about the Shroud of Turin. At the very least, the Shroud at least hints that something very strange happened to the body of Christ. And, my belief as a Catholic is that what happened was life and power returning to the body of Christ as He rose from the dead. That would, again speaking as minimally as possible, strengthen the Christian argument for who and what Our Lord is.


  2. Sean,
    The Shroud is one of several phenomena that warrant further investigation - very difficult in a world where many people adopt entrenched positions in advance of any investigation!

    1. Kaor, Paul!

      Yes, but the owners and custodians of the Shroud, the House of Savoy and the archbishop of Turin, has allowed the Shroud to be studied.