It’s 5:30 a.m. and it occurs to me that I should really, really, make a list of topics and either chose one the night before or when I get up. I think choosing one the night before might be a better idea as then I can sleep on it. I think today I will write about science and religion; again.
Science is organized rationalization; in the sense of being based on the rational. Religion is organized faith. The problem is that things are done in the name of religion and faith that seem despicable. They seem to be the actions of close-minded people. Perhaps I should start with clearing up in my mind what I perceive to be faith, and what I perceive to be religion.
What is faith? Like many questions, it seems easy to ask and easy to answer in that it hints at its answer. It is like the story told about Augustine and the concept of time. He is said to have proclaimed: “What is time? If you don’t ask me I know.” For time substitute the word faith. Of course, the subtlety is that by asking the question we have moved into the realm of science. Science is all about questions. Whereas faith seems to broke no questions.
But is that really true? Maimonides said of the question of God, whenever you think you have arrived at a description of God you haven’t. God is always that which is just beyond your understanding. That which is beyond understanding seems to be the area that faith encompasses. But in order to get there, one has to keep asking questions, one has to push the limits of understanding. That seems to be the realm of science. Ironically the thing that fuels science seems to be faith.
It’s difficult to pin down faith. It doesn’t seem to be a concrete thing like a table or a rock. It does seem to be more like an emotion; like love, anger, happiness. But I don’t want to say it’s a feeling. Feeling is too vague. After all one can feel love and one can feel cold. Love and cold are not the same types of things. The problem is the confusion. If we ask someone if they are cold they will say yes and describe it as a physical feeling as a reaction to the temperature. If we ask someone if they are in love they will say yes and describe it as a physical feeling to the object of their desire. Both descriptions seem the same but we “feel” that they are talking about different things. We would say love is transcendent. We never say that cold is transcendent. We feel very confident about measuring cold. We are not sure about measuring love. We don’t even know how to go about it.