Science Versus Religion on Our Ancient Origins: What if They’re Both Wrong?
"The universe began when God said, 'Let there be light'!"
"No, the universe began with the big bang!"
"God created life as we know it largely in the forms we now recognize!"
"No, evolution is the key to explaining how life developed to its present state!"
For the last two hundred years the argument has continued. When Charles Darwin's theories seeped into western culture a great divide seemingly split asunder any hope of reconciliation between two camps that came to be known as “Religion” and “Science.” For a long time, religion had the upper hand, using the tools of the Inquisition to stifle scientific argument. But in modern America and Europe, science seems to have carried the day, at least when it comes to the teaching philosophy of the school systems. In academia, “God talk” is now equated with superstition unless you're a giant like Stephen Hawking who is allowed to metaphorically seek “the mind of God.”
How did we get here – will we ever know? ( Public Domain )
But the argument won't go away. It still simmers beneath the surface, erupting now and again when it comes time for local school boards to decide about upgrading science textbooks.
At the root of the issue lie a few profound questions: “How did we get here? Where are we going? Who and what are we, really? By what process did we get to our present state of human development?”
Science insists it has facts on its side and simply cannot comprehend how anyone could believe otherwise.
Religion says there are too many gaps in the theory of evolution, including the biggest of all: How did “something” originally appear from “nothing?”
Our Origins Explained in Quantum Reality?
These days, however, there is an ever-growing number of scientifically trained folks who choose to label themselves “spiritual” rather than “religious” and are beginning to seriously question both sides of the argument. Led by such writers as Deepak Chopra, Ervin Lazlo, and Dean Radin, they examine theories arising from quantum reality which seem to imply that there may be mysterious answers yet lurking in the background. Ancient traditions such as Hinduism have long insisted this to be the case. So, could it be said that modern physics is thus providing some common ground wherein two parallel lanes of philosophical traffic can, at long last, merge into one superhighway? Are “facts” and “magic” beginning to converge?
First - some background.
God of the Gaps
In the beginning, “God” was a simple answer to any complex question about origins.
And so it went. Wherever a seemingly insurmountable gap in human understanding appeared, it was filled by inserting a miracle from God. Thus was born the popular term, “God of the Gaps.” It was a way of letting science have its fun while insisting that whenever a mystery showed up—from so-called "missing links" to the inscrutable "first cause"— it was proof of the existence of God. It stated that God is the unexplainable, unknowable force that we can ever understand. It's a safe principle and a convenient one. Whenever we are faced with a seemingly unsolvable riddle we can attribute its solution to God.
The problem is that as science answered more and more questions the gaps got smaller. When we no longer needed Zeus to explain lightning or Apollo to make sense of the sunrise each morning, God suddenly got less and less maneuvering room. The God of the Gaps came to be referred to as “magical thinking.”
Survival of the Fittest?
Meanwhile, science didn't fare much better. It’s insistence that evolution is a steady but sure process, with one form predictably preceding from its predecessor, hit some severe bumps along the fossilized highway.
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Jim Willis is author of nine books on religion and spirituality, he has been an ordained minister for over forty years while working part-time as a carpenter, the host of his own drive-time radio show, an arts council director and adjunct college professor in the fields of World Religions and Instrumental Music. He is author of Ancient Gods: Lost Histories, Hidden Truths, and the Conspiracy of Silence