The unified theory of the father, son & holy scientists
For too long, simpler souls have treated provable science and religious faith as mutually exclusive. This has presented gross opportunities for the greedy to pervert both fact and faith.
I read last week where political pressure is keeping evolution from
being taught in many schools. The heat comes from the same people who
condemn public education for doing a lousy job. When political pressure
dictates what gets taught, what do you expect?
I reserve profound respect for anyone who scrupulously lives by a code of conduct. However, taking rules to extremes can land you in jail. You can find biblical passages calling for execution of children who sass their parents.
In the Good Friday edition of the Tribune, a local person of the cloth contributed a clever wordplay about absolutes. "The moment you say there are no moral absolutes, you make one, which proves (?) the inescability of moral absolutes," wrote the Christian gentleman.
Where might we find such timeless truths to live by? In the preachments of the particular faith promulgated by the wordsmith in question, of course.
He did all this in an attempt to stand with Aquinas, Mr. Spock and others who tried to arrive at some logical insight into the mind of God.
I've always preferred the Roman Empire's attitude: render unto
Caesar, then you're free to do your own thing. There's plenty of room in
the pantheon for everybody's god. We don't let that kind of stuff get in
the way of business.
As I recall, Jesus of Nazareth basically agreed. He knew you could
pay your taxes and the government would leave you alone. The various
branches of his organization today pay no taxes at all. The carpenter's son
thus pioneered a very effective management philosophy of success through
non-confrontation and the separation of church and state. Makes me wonder why so many wars have been fought in his name.
Religious faiths all start out in pretty much the same way a despised minority, trashed as a fringe cult, sticks to its beliefs and eventually gains mainstream acceptance. Alas and alack, it then usually proceeds to persecute the next cult which comes along.
Last week, PBS aired a four-hour Frontline series entitled "From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians." It traced the history of the first three centuries of western Christianity. To me, it was just a good video refresher of my junior year in high school.
I thus caught a glaring error. One of the eminent divinity professors interviewed stated that there was no big meeting where the early church hierarchy sat down and decided what would be formally added to the existing Jewish rule book.
Perhaps he never heard of the First General Council of Nicea in 325. Those guys made the final cuts as to what went in and what went out of the current Roman Bible. The Protestants made more revisions 12 centuries later.
I cheered when I saw the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas given substantial network airtime. That particular work never had a chance at Nicea. It said - heaven forbid - that to find God, you should look within yourself. Some other famous guy once said the kingdom of God is within you, but apparently he didn't get taken too seriously either. After all, traveling too far down that road might lead some poor pilgrim to conclude that churches are absolutely unnecessary to the practice of religion.
No burgeoning business is going to teach people that they can live without the product or service provided by the purveyor at a profit. So the prophets of looking within were kicked out.
I've got a simple suggestion: accept that everything every religion teaches is true. Next, accept proven science as true. Third, open your mind to the idea that there is no contradiction between the two.
Some awesome power could have created all that we see around us just 60 seconds ago. Such an entity could have easily placed us within billions of years of physical history to provide us with a continuum along which to exist and expand. Perhaps we all constitute part of that entity as our ante into the game. Why not?
If there are indeed absolutes, then absolutes can exist in the realm of science as well as in the bailiwick of religious belief.
Which brings me to the law of conservation of matter and energy. It's a fact, which is a heap better than the next rung down, a scientific theory (defined as a well-substantiated explanation).
That law, about the only thing I remember from high school physics, states that matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed, they only change form.
Perfect. Applying that physical fact as a working theory of everything, you can unify all religions and even include agnostics and atheists. Changing form covers everything from the reincarnational beliefs of easterners to the death and transfiguration aspirations of westerners. Agnostics who feel the existence of a god cannot be proven will certainly accept the factual physical law of changing form.
Believe in an immortal soul? Come on down. When you die, your matter changes form as your energy goes elsewhere. Where that elsewhere may lie, I leave to your faith. Atheists can fit right into this all-inclusive scenario.
Happy Easter and Joyous Passover, fellow travelers on the superstring of this temporary temporal plane.
Be well. Raise hell.
© Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a member of CWA Local 9413. He is a Reno-based syndicated columnist, a 29-year Nevadan, editor of U-News and campaign manager for Democratic candidate for Governor, State Senator Joe Neal.
Barbwire by Barbano has appeared in the Sparks Tribune since 1988 and parts of this column were originally published 4/12/98.