Held by an image of our outer space:
Spots, dots, and whirls of white and red,
Time-tunneling in silent grace,
Parsecs where only thought can tread.
Blue blazes of the younger fire,
Red smudges of the ancient mist,
Vast mergers of the flowing gyre
Down ages of the world persist.
These distant forms of space and truth
Work back upon the thoughts we frame;
Prayer puzzles through a shaping sieve:
Dead words or else a larger name.
Still, quietly ask the teeming sky:
Draws over there that which can love?
Lights there a dance which can rejoice?
Rests there a hold of things above?
In America today, and increasingly in other parts of the world, you can see the above-right image (a fish with feet) proudly displayed on car windows, bumpers and the like. It is intended to signify support for rationality over superstition in general, and in particular for the Darwinian evolutionary account of biological history over the wish by some people to bring in miraculous “explanations”. However, the image is also a deliberate subversion of a Christian symbol (the fish, drawn a certain way, as shown above left), so it also implies or suggests a piece of pure illogic.
The above image by James Woodend, UK can be found at Images Inspired by Nature. It is the winning image in the Royal Observatory’s annual Astronomy Photographer of the Year award, 2014, in the category Earth and Space.
This week’s entry got delayed by the beginning of Oxford term and some other writing commitments; apologies about that. Also, this is a week in which people have been much concerned with issues surrounding freedom of speech and its violent opponents. A brave champion of human rights that I would like to mention is Raif Badawi, now a prisoner of conscience in Saudi Arabia and subject to barbaric and unjust forms of “punishment” for actions that, as far as I can tell, were in fact balanced and truthful.
How to write a blog about science and religion in a world where things like this are going on?
How much we all need to champion reason and rationality, along with all the other components of a full and grown-up humanity!
This essay, as I said in my previous blog post, is about the fact that reason and rationality are not alternatives to trust in the “Father” spoken of by Jesus of Nazareth, but, on the contrary, they are its partners. They are championed by such faith.
This blog has a “science and religion” theme because it is helpful for a blog to be focused: you can’t take on every issue at once. Of course science and religion do touch on pretty much every issue, but when they are mentioned together this tends to focus on interest in rationality and the questioning of religion.
There are three types of issue that tend to come up in this area.