Faithful to Science

blog on science and religion

Category: reconnection

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“Look! The cat is afraid of the cucumber.”

“Oh my god!”

“Look! The man fell off the table.”

“Oh my god!”

“It was full to the brim and I swallowed all of it!”

“Oh my god!”

“Oh my god! I can’t believe you did that!”

“And then he was like, “I don’t know”, and I was like, “what, never?” and he was like, “no.””

“Oh my god!”

 

“I would like to be a bit more shallow every day. Oh my god!”

“I would like to squash the whole of everything down into my little box. Oh my god!”

“I would like to repeat and repeat a certain word, I want to blurt it and burp it and snort it and fart it until I have pummelled and pummelled it into utter submission; until it has no meaning left at all. Oh my  god!”

“Oh let me be deaf, oh let me be dumb. Oh my god!

“Oh let me be blind. Oh my god!

“Oh let me be bound to the will of the day, oh let me be mute. Oh my god!

“Oh let me have nothing of meaning to say. Oh my god!

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my let be empty of seeking and sense. I am worth it and oh, my god.”

 

Song for Down Syndrome

I saw you, person who has the syndrome called Down’s syndrome (it is also called Down syndrome), and I wish to say simply that you are my brother or my sister. I am glad to have you around. I saw that you needed some extra support, but not as much, I noticed, as the support given to the rich by their hoards of servants and employees. I saw that some time and money goes in your general direction, but not as much, I noticed, as gushes through the pipeline to the successful, the “professional class” and the super-citizens, the “leading X of their generation”.

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Religion is a Fourier Transform

Fourteen statements to help people see what religion is or can be

If you just want to see the fourteen statements, click here, otherwise, read on.

14

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Rats, peace and ingenuity

a moving story from Sub-Saharan Africa

This week I watched a lovely episode of the BBC documentary series, Ingenious Animals (Oxford Scientific Films), presented by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The episode was about examples of animal intelligence, and the most beautiful example concerned a great big rat.

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Theism

[image from https://www.instapainting.com/requests/56455ed390f1f8204b8b45c7]

In this post I want to offer a short definition of the word ‘Theism’. I think I am some sort of theist, but I find that most of what is written on the wikipedia page for this word is quite alien to me. It says there that theism is “the belief in the existence of …” where for the dots you can put some sort of entity called a ‘deity’. But that is not how it works in my experience, and that is not how a lot of careful thinkers and writers have expressed it. The thoughtful theist does not consider that there is another ‘thing’ to be added to the set of all things, after one has exhausted what there is in the physical universe. It might seem like that, but I find it to be more subtle and hard to describe. The one Whom we learn to encounter is not ‘another thing’ but that which makes all things possible. As I say, it is rather subtle and quite open-ended.

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Questioning the question: Religion and rationality

We all know that asking questions is important. Asking the right questions is at the heart of most intellectual activity. Questions must be encouraged. We all know this. But are there any questions which may not be asked? Questions which should not be asked? Although many a young undergraduate might initially say “no: never! All questions must be encouraged!” I think most thoughtful people will realise there is a little more to it than that.

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Compassion gathers where it’s needed

This is a short post to announce that I have added a further page to the “talks” section of this blog. This is a sermon that I gave two weeks ago at Lady Margaret Hall college, Oxford, at the kind invitation of the chaplain Dr Doig. The sermon is an approximately twenty minute talk which looks at cosmology, and briefly discusses the structure of scientific explanation in general, with a view to showing that these things point towards further layers of meaning in the world, without being able to provide them. It can be found here.

I included in the sermon a brief reaction to something that I know bothers many people, and I decided to display that part here as a “thought for the day” for anyone who does not want to read the sermon. The thought is about whether we matter to God.

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Issa’s Cricket

 

 

 

On a branch
floating downriver
a cricket, singing.

 

 

Issa (Japan, 1763-1827)

[translated by Jane Hirshfield]

From the web site From Spiritual Poetry – 22 poems about spirituality and enlightenment, selected and with comments by Jane Hirshfield [http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/articles/detail/68606].

 

Demonizing religion

The attitude I am promoting in this blog is to admit that what passes for “religion” in the world is a mixed bag, some of it bad, terrible; some of it good, wonderful. It runs to both extremes (and so does atheism). I have also offered other words as a help to get at what “religion” is meant to be about. I have offered the word “reconnection”, for example, which I got from Brian McLaren’s helpful book, “Naked Spirituality”. My own favourite word for it is “recognition”. You can see a longer definition on the Home page of this blog.

In this post I want to comment on the practice of demonizing religion. To “demonize” is to portray as wicked or threatening, and the term is especially appropriate when this is done thoughtlessly or automatically, as if it is an agreed thing.

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