Friday, September 7, 2018

A Little More, After All....

....because Jason and I were talking about this last night, and there is a lot more to say, but I can only say part of it here.

Here's the thing about the Niels Bohr story: It's probably apocryphal, or maybe he really said that but he was joking around. But who cares? As that article goes on to point out, we are all looking for explanations of the unexplainable. (Inexplicable? Sure. If you like. But here I'm not talking about the inexplicable. I'm talking about the unexplainable.)

When you didn't have much information, you might think that it's some interference by the inexplicable force of FATE that makes bad things happen to good people, and, more inexplicably, good things happen to bad people. 

Let's say you're an ancient Greek or Roman. You invent some really scarily sociopathic gods to explain everything. Let's say you're an ancient Greek "scientist," and you claim that hummingbirds don't have feet. And everyone else believes you, except the people who live in the countryside and see hummingbirds all the time and see their feet. (I still don't get what's up with that ancient so-called "observation.") 

And in the 20th Century, even if you're an eminent physicist, if you hang a horseshoe on your wall, the right way, it might just bring you luck, even if you don't believe in it. Because, why not?

But this is different from true religion. Here's a quote from LDS Pres. Harold B. Lee, back in 1971, quoting from another religious leader: 
I quote from this article by Rabbi Arthur Herlzterg:“What people come to religion for, is an ultimate metaphysical hunger, and when that hunger is not satisfied, religion declines … the moment that clerics become more worldly, the world goes to hades the faster.“… Religion represents the accumulation of man’s insight over thousands of years into such questions as the nature of man, the meaning of life, the individual’s place in the universe. That is, precisely, the question at the root of man’s restlessness.“Man seeks something to end his state of confusion and emptiness … in the latest parlance, an antidote for aimlessness. We do not know if the truths of religious tradition can be interpreted to satisfy this need, but we are sure that here, not in political activism, is religion’s path to relevance.”In other words, in my own less learned words, religion does for us what science, and politics (as the Rabbi said), can't do. It feeds our "metaphysical hunger," our hunger for answers to those questions we can't answer in any other way. 
And true religion, as opposed to old myths involving the bizarre behavior of gods who are out of control, or half-baked observations and misguided "explanations," answers our need for "something to end [our] state of confusion and emptiness."

One final point, which is essentially what Laura mentioned in her comment to my post of yesterday: The argument between science and religion is a false one. It was made up by men (yes, men, not women, and not all humans) to promote conflict and promote their own agendas, to their own benefit, and to the detriment of the rest of us...

...which is why we're not arguing that there's some kind of conflict there. We keep pointing out, and will continue to point out, that true religion and real science are merely different roads toward the same goal, of understanding this world, this universe, and our humanity.

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