I’ve been thinking…
…and I’d like to suggest that the study of God ought to be understood as a science because the study of God is also the study of the nature of reality. Theology explores subjects arising from the idea of God expressed in-the-world. Philosophy explores the meaning and essence of both God as nature of reality and God in-the-world. (I am aware that what I have just written is an incredible vulgarisation of these areas and disciplines but I’ve got to start this train of thought, somewhere).
Ultimate Reality has many names depending on which religion you follow. I use the name God because I follow Christianity. I also follow certain Buddhist practices so, in my private life, I often refer to ultimate reality as Nirvana or Dharma. But here and in future posts, I will refer to ultimate reality as God.
I see the God-question as an issue that does not belong exclusively to religion. It also belongs outside of religion. It is a subject for the secular and scientific mind as well as the religious mind.
Why do we study the reality of God? Primarily we study the reality of God to improve our understanding of ourselves . Also to improve our understanding of the nature of the world. And there has never been a moment in time when a better understanding of these areas has been more needed.
There are, of course, many scientists and philosophers who are also religious. Often their work is influenced by their particular religious tradition. They continue to work within the confines of certain religious texts and doctrines. I suppose what I’m suggesting is that we need to develop a sort of sacred-secular mind from which to study God. From this perspective we may begin to interpret ordinary experience and religious experience, differently.
Human experience is the best place to carry out a study of God. To study God from, for example, Christian experience, would be bias towards the Christian understanding of the nature of reality. Human experience needs to be studied from people of all religious traditions and of none. Data derived from scientific experimentation can give us an idea of the structure of reality but not the experience of reality. The actuality of God is , surely, discovered in experience and not in structure.
Our prevalent belief at the moment is that scientific knowledge + technology will save humanity from repeating the mistakes of the past: famine, war, death and disaster can be avoided if we follow the path paved with AI, robots and Apps. I’m genuinely not sure this is true. Human experience is more than the sum of it’s parts. The nature of reality is more than the sum of it’s parts. Science needs also to study what is not on the data sheet as well as what is on the data sheet.
Now that’s a challenge….
I’ll stop thinking now, and get on with my work 😉