“The great believers in the wonder of the universe, as revealed to us by science, seem to have considerable difficulty in either galvanising us to social solidarity, or providing us with true solace. I’ve yet to hear of anyone going gently into that dark night on the basis that she or he is happily anticipating their dissolution into cosmic dust, nor do I witness multitudes assembling in order that they may sing the periodic table together, or recite prime numbers in plain chant. By contrast, religious beliefs continue to offer many people genuine succour, and they do this, I think, as Dostoevsky realised, not because of the specific concepts they appear to enshrine –such as an afterlife or eternal judgement– but because they place the human individual in a universal context, and thereby give her life meaning.“
But is social solidarity what science is about? Maybe it’s about answering questions we don’t know the answer to.
Well if science is about answering the questions we don’t know the answer to, why not questions of our destiny? So maybe science just isn’t there yet. Maybe it’s still figuring those things out.
And if nothing else, maybe religion is a suitable substitute management system for society until then, to give answers to those questions for the time being if not forever, to keep people from robbing banks, and to make children clean up their rooms.
But then how is it that Mafiosi see themselves as devoutly religious? How do Muslim militants cry for Allah’s blessing as they kill others? How do stockbrokers front-run their clients and then still believe they are devout Jews? It seems there’s a blind disconnect between the lessons of religion and life practice, as my Cousin Mike often points out. It seems some people don’t even consciously realize or recognize this either, maybe because it’s not to their advantage? So their religion is really a matter of convenience and not orthodoxy (at least until they’re close to death).
My father passed, truly believing that we do just become cosmic dust because, as a true and honest physicist, he didn’t have any evidence to the contrary. In my opinion, God could be anything from the orthodox ‘God’, to our ancestors overseeing us (as Asians believe), to a system of other dimensions we pass into, to just a great mathematical formula from which everything derives…
My dad said we need ‘wetware’ for the pathways we use to think, and have consciousness. But then there’s the question of so why can’t we reanimate the dead? (before their neurons deteriorate) I do notice that when we are put under anaesthesia, our soul is rendered unconscious, as well as our ‘wetware’. Why and wherefore? So in that case what is a ‘soul’ made of besides just a concept? Nothing yet recognized by physics, that’s for sure.
Whatever God there is, it seems He is a non-interventionist (witness: good people, children, killed in traffic accidents, murdered)… in which case there’s no use in both football teams praying that He’ll favor one side or the other (lol), or us praying for a raise. Prayer may well be a communication with God which He can and will act on, but in any case it almost certainly helps in one way; giving us the confidence we need that we have done all that is possible.,'after' => '') )