I’m Richard Lloyd Jones, and this is TWSEH.
Oil and water. Black cats and white sweaters. Neckties and bowls of soup. Some things just aren’t made to go together. Like being given plastic cutlery at a Brazilian barbecue restaurant, they’re all a bit difficult to reconcile. Some more profound examples could include faith and doubt, humility and self-confidence. And what about God and science?
Today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head, Bringing Together Theology and Science.
This is a prickly subject I’m embarking on here, I’m aware of that. But I feel I would be doing a dis-service if I didn’t address the subject. I say this because of the fundamental questions that can only be addressed if we wade into these controversial waters.
Questions like, what is the origin of life and the universe? What is the purpose of life anyway? And more existential even … why am I here? We can’t begin to tackle these questions without a consideration of today’s topic.
These questions don’t occupy our conversations much these days, if they ever did. The Facebook posts we read seldom broach the existential beyond the collective questioning we embark on after a tragedy occurs or a famous person dies. I was recently visiting my aging parents in Canada and their diminished quality of life has caused no small reflection on my own life and purpose. So there are times when we venture into the reverie that generates this discussion. Although it’s rare. Especially in recent years it appears. We’re not much for the deeper considerations in our materialistic and consumerist society of today, and I don’t think this has been positive. “What’s it all about, Alfie?” seems a faintly anachronistic and old-fashioned question today, doesn’t it?
Or is it that we’re just embarrassed to admit that we ponder those questions, admittedly late at night when no one’s watching? There’s precious little reflection of life’s mysteries in our modern art. The poets and song writers mostly seem intent on considering love only from the “how am I going to live without him or her?” position.
In that light, I just finished reading Leonard Cohen’s biography, and was touched by the deep yearning he has had over his long career to explore the profound and the profane, so I know it’s not completely uncool to pose the deeper questions.
Well, in fact, who cares if it’s uncool to be involved in understanding the human situation. I’m not sure when displaying profundity became unmodern, but I’m all for returning to a time when the artists considered they were conversing with the beyond and a human being wanted to consider his short life as fitting within some larger purpose and design.
In large part, I think what’s going on here is a result of the splitting of science from theology and philosophy over the past 500 years or so – culminating in our 20th Century position that there’s no way to marry the three. Science has become a strictly materialistic pursuit perfectly represented in Einstein’s famous formula – the most famous of the 20th Century – that E=mc2. In other words, no matter, no energy, making Einstein’s theory arguably one of the most materialistic in the history of science. I’m sure that wasn’t his intention, of course, but it’s hard to escape the stark materialism of his proposal.
It’s also difficult to distill a coherent spiritual philosophy from the Quantum Physics camp. Parallel realities. Alternate universes. Unlimited realities awaiting your choice to come into being. How to make sense of that in any practical way? I watched What the Bleep do we Know a couple of times and, I must confess, couldn’t make head or tails of it. It seems sexy to consider that universe a series of possibilities awaiting my choice before unfolding reality, but I somehow can’t quite conclude that reality actually bends to my will despite my wishing it so.
The Architect’s speech from Matrix Reloaded is a classic example of how confused we’ve become by this separation of science and theology. Critics call it “profound” but “confusing”. And it is that. Listen:
“The first matrix was perfect … flawless, sublime. A triumph equaled only by its monumental failure.”
What does that mean? And since when did confusing become profound? No, we need a better starting point than this. A starting place that can be found in the work of Norberto Keppe. His Analytical Trilogy is the synthesis of science, philosophy and theology that has been missing. Keppe considers philosophy to be the mother of science and theology the grandmother, and it’s very illuminating to look at reality through Analytical Trilogy eyes.
Let’s do that today … try to bring the incredible wisdom from 5000 years of theological and philosophical study back into science. Or at least, start the process of understanding that. Keppe’s books will fill out the knowledge. If you’re interested in more, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bringing Together Theology and Science, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.