Re: the religion of science (was:virus: Sexuality)

ken sartor (
Thu, 19 Sep 1996 13:54:34 -0500

At 10:45 AM 9/19/96 -0500, Patricia & John Crooks wrote:

>Come on now, tell the truth, how many of you that are are implying such
>grandiose knowledge of what religion is all about have actually taken the
>time to study the subject? How many of you have had even one theology or
>religious studies course at the university level? How many of you have
>honestly looked at the other side of your argument, let alone to the degree
>those of us who are religion based are forced to in this secular society?
>How many of you, as adults, have read anything at all about religion that
>wasn't critical of it?

Ok - i have had absolutely no formal religious training. No courses
at all. No attendance of church to speak of either. But i have
seen positive things on religion (really mostly christianity, i live
in the south US).

>This is what I mean. Come on tell me, why does this rock float? Not how
>does it float, I'm not asking about density of molecules, why does it float?
>What is the existential purpose of it's floating? What is it about the
>universe that requires the existence of floating rocks? What do floating
>rocks accomplish in the grand scheme of things? I may be wrong, but I think
>those are meaningless questions in science. The last I heard, science
>doesn't accept that there is a grand scheme of things; I think science
>accepts that there is method to the universe but no purpose. Or am I wrong
>about that?

Does religion answer why some rocks float? Can it find the grand
scheme and tell us something about it in a non-trivial way? If
it is not objective in its attempt, how do i know whether to
accept the answer or not? (I presume some religions disagree about
the answers, frequently in a mutually exclusive fashion? When this
happens, how do we arbitrate between the two?)

>I can't speak for science but what you say is definately not true of
>religion. A basic tenent of religious thought is that a religion is a
>living growing entity. This is why Catholics refer to their church as "the
>body of Christ". I know that is something that can't be "scientifically
>validated", but it is experientially validated by millions of people around
>the world everyday. Most religious peoples around the world experience
>their religions this same way and have for thousands of years be they
>Christian, Hindu, or Navaho.

Added from a subsequent post...
>Oooh, I see another nit.:-} I disagree with this as a definition of
>religious faith. Belief without supporting evidence is not faith it is
>delusion. The religious faithful have a great deal of supporting evidence
>only it is experiential.

What is experiential validation? How is it to be distinguished
from hallucinations or dreams? Is the fact that several religions
are mentioned indicative of more than one divine being causing this
to happen or one divine being taking different forms? (I have never
undergone any religious experience - please excuse my total
lack of understanding - but i am curious to know what is behind all
this, like you say it is relatively common.)

>That the same can be said of religion is evidenced in many cases the most
>obvious in our culture being the differences in Catholicism pre and post
>Vatican II.

Just as a matter of curiosity - what has religion given us? Has it
advanced ever - as opposed to just modifying itself for survival
reasons. Is there any objective measure of what it provides?
Has the religious experience been continually improving over the years?
(Note that these questions are sinecure and not meant to offend -
i just wanted to ask them starkly in order to get a good answer.)

>I would say the same thing is true about religion. I am not saying that
>there have not been religions and religious personages that have claimed to
>have all the answers, but any religion that is able to survive more than few
>generations posits itself as a collection of seekers of truth not as a
>collection of purveyors of truth.

I guess this clashes with my understanding of Christianity. From what
i can tell, Christianity hinges on the divinity of Jesus and to a
lesser extent, the infallibility of the bible. But maybe i am just
biased by life in the south.