Faithful to Science

blog on science and religion

Tag: reality (page 2 of 2)

The New Mariner

 
 
   The New Mariner
 
In the silence
that is his chosen medium
of communication and telling
others about it
in words. Is there no way
not to be the sport
of reason? For me now
there is only the God-space
into which I send out
my probes. I had looked forward
to old age as a time
of quietness, a time to draw
my horizons about me,
to watch memories ripening
in the sunlight of a walled garden.
But there is the void
over my head and the distance
within that the tireless signals
come from. An astronaut
on impossible journeys
to the far side of the self
I return with the messages
I cannot decipher, garrulous
about them, worrying the ear
of the passer-by, hot on his way
to the marriage of plain fact with plain fact.
 
 

This poem by R. S. Thomas was originally published in Between Here and Now (1981) and can be found in Collected Poems: 1945-1990, R. S. Thomas.

What is the story of life on Earth?

Well, it is the evolutionary story, of course. The story of simple beginnings, and gradual development; the story of characteristics inherited through genes, with slight adjustments that accumulate over the generations. The story of finite lifespan in an environment offering limited resources, with the consequent filtering process known as natural selection. All this can be discovered by scientific research, and it has been so discovered by all the people who joined in with the mainstream scientific community.

But what is the story of this story? What kind of a narrative do we have here? Is it tragedy? Or a comedy of errors? Or a heroic epic? Or farce? Or is it a tale of boundless exploration? Or a triumph of the aggressive? Or a triumph of the adaptable? Is it the story of brute force? Or is it the story of courage in spite of brute force? A story of increasing depth of experience? Is it a good story? Is it a story of good? Is it good?

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Making something of the world

So far my posts in this blog have been concerned with treading carefully around the meaning of words like “religion”. I have pointed out the dangers of tribalism, and I have offered the term reconnection for anyone who has been taught to equate religion to superstition and tribalism. It is time to say something more about the good that is continuously finding expression in the world, and also continuously being thwarted, but responding with generosity and, in people who campaign for justice, creative anger. This good is what we embody when we are at our best. This is what we fail to live up to when we are at our worst. This is what makes demands, and can legitimately make demands on us, because to recognise the legitimacy of the call to make the world better is what being fully alive involves. Continue reading

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