Monday, June 11, 2007

Is Religion Still Relevant?

I think that question is quite appropriate. After all, science has told us all there is to know, and religion wasn't included. To quote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe, "what's the use of our debating the existance of God when tomorrow your machine will give us his phone number?"

Well, the problem is that science has not told us all there is to know, it has only told us some of what we asked. And, the answers it has given us are limited by our own understanding.

If you had some sort of a sealed black box which plugged into the wall and had an on/off switch, you could measure how much electricity it used when it was off, and how much it used when it was on. You might take its temperature when it was on to see if it was putting out heat. You could put it on a scale to see if its weight changed when it was on. You might try making the room completely dark to see if there was any light coming from inside of it; or maybe probing it with a stethoscope to see if it made any sounds when it was on. You could put a ruler next to it and see if it changed size. If you were ingenious, you might come up with some more tests ... put some smoke around it and see if it created any air currents when it was on. But sooner or later you would run out of things to test.

If the box did something which you could not detect, if it somehow teleported a rock from Venus to Saturn every time you turned it on, and teleported it back when you turned it off, you would never know what the box did, and would probably conclude that it did nothing but hum a little. You do not have the ability to measure what it is doing, nor would you probably think to measure that particular function, even if you had the ability to make those measurments.

The scientific method is a tool, a powerful one, but it is limited by our ability to use it properly. It is also limited by our ability to ask the right questions and correctly interpret the answers.

So, science by no means negates religion.

But, that does not mean religion is relevant.

What purpose does it serve?
What influence does it have in our daily lives?
What influence should it have in our daily lives?

This is where religion finds its relevance ... or more appropriately, this is where we find it relevant.

Religion serves us. It tells us why we are here. It tells us of our importance in the grand scheme of things. It tells us that, in the eyes of our creator, we are all the same, because we all came from the same source. It tells us how to and how not to treat each other. It give us the courage to do that which we know is right in the face of that which we fear, because it gives us hope of a life that is not limited to our frail, mortal existance.

We serve religion. We have a responsibility to obey the laws which our religion commands us to obey. We are ultimately answerable to our creator above all others, even our religious leaders.

Religion also binds us together. We have a common belief, something that transcends the glitter and thorns of this world we live in. When outside pressure is telling us to pull away from our brothers, our religion tells us that they are our brothers and not to abandon them.

Our brains build on the foundations that science affords them but our hearts build on the faith of our religion.


1 comment:

David M. Smith said...

Very thoughtful Buz!

I'm glad you keep blogging.