This article continues our exploration around finding your personal religion. The discipline of science helps us dispel the flaws in conventional religion. Science is a religion of scepticism in search of the ‘truth’ and is open to question itself. We should consider challenging our parent’s religion with one of science. Only through building a foundation in science will you begin to make sense of life. Religion is a subjective layer which should be applied on top of this basic understanding.
I say this because science is dynamic, up to date and constantly evolving. We know far more about the workings of the universe than our ancestors. Society has developed to be far more tolerant and understanding. For example, developing societies increasingly tolerate homosexuality and equality for women. If the major world religions were introduced to the world today, the messages would be very different from the ancient texts. Remember that some religious teachings were relevant to the thinking and problems of that particular era.
In some respects, it does not matter if you believe in science or not; certain discoveries can objectively be regarded as fact. For instance, if religion teaches you that the world is only 6,000 years old and the centre of the universe, there is enough objective empirical research to support that the world is actually closer to 4.5 billion years old and revolves around the sun.
Science can be seen as the new world religion. It breaks down barriers to unify humanity. People from all corners of the globe are working together towards understanding our existence and making significant progress.
Is Science the New Religion?
Science is still a young religion. While it continues to provide profound insights to our existence and the universe, it has only touched the surface of the unknown.
Science places great emphasis on measurement. To measure something, it must be:
- in a certain dimension which is observable
- observable in the same dimension by others
While this makes it easier to objectively consider something as fact, measurement has itself become a cultural idol. This makes many scientists not just sceptical, but reject anything not capable of measurement. It believes that what is very difficult to study isn’t worthy of study, therefore doesn’t exist. This would include evidence of spirituality, a God and miracles.
Looking at miracles, science does not consider it worthy of investigation because there is no logical explanation behind it. Religion on the other hand is actually more open minded; it does not require an explanation to accept they exist – bigger forces are at work beyond our human comprehension.
Science sees itself as dispelling the old superstition of religion and concluding God is an irrational illusion in our mind that suppresses growth. It suffers from a tunnel vision; psychologically self imposed blinders which prevents it from considering spirituality.
A devout atheist can be as fanatical as a Christian crusader or soldier of Allah; openly attacking other beliefs, believing their way to be the ‘right’ way.
What’s the Answer?
Although the scientific range is expanding, it is still incomplete. Science has become its own cultural idol and we must be sceptical of these views too. It is short sighted to believe that science holds all the answers. It is possible for us to mature into a belief in God.
The Dalai Llama in the Art of Happiness said:
“I believe that each individual should embark upon a spiritual path that is best suited to his or her mental disposition, natural inclination temperament, belief, family and cultural background.
If I believed that Buddhism was best for everyone,that would be foolish, because different people have different mental dispositions. The purpose of religion is to benefit people, and I think that if we only had one religion, after a while it would cease to benefit many people.”
Religion should be seen as a dynamic learning process – not a static set of texts. We need to seek the hidden wisdom and learn not to interpret messages literally. Apply your knowledge of science to religion and you will begin to see how they interrelate. Make your own judgements and question the motives and interpretation of others.
It is important to approach life with a healthy scepticism to both science and the spiritual. This means we are less likely to mislead ourselves and others. The more you start untangling your existing beliefs, the closer you get to reality and finding your religion. Only through questioning and learning can we take a step closer to finding a personal religion which gives us fulfilment.
Be tolerant, understanding and inquisitive of other people’s beliefs. A new perspective will help you grow and understand your own beliefs and values. Religion is something personal to all of us and should be respected – not attacked or criticised.
Remember there are no right or wrong answers; only different paths to help us find meaning to our own existence.
“Until college and minaret have crumbled
This holy work of ours will not be done.
Until faith becomes rejection, and rejection becomes belief
There will be no true [religion].”
~ Sufi Aba Said ibn Abi-l-Khair
What is your take on finding a personal religion?
Should we challenge our current beliefs to find a more personal religion?
Leave your comments below!