As a child - being raised in a Christian minister's/ writer's household - I asked for the wisdom of Solomon to be my greatest gift. Although I've been called "precocious" in life, I always felt that I was merely stumbling through. Having been pulled back and forth between the physical world and it's rules and limitations (the finite), and the unseen spiritual side with it's multi-levels of rules and without limitation (infinite), I have come to understand the common rift people find and focus on between science and spirituality. But this rift is just an expression of their own genetic-makeup, culture, and personal beliefs.
Most people tend to be (mostly) either:
Left-brained (auditory/linguistic, mathematical, logical, squared, literal, physical, MALE)
Right-brained (visual/spatial, artistic, abstract, circular, symbolic, spiritual, FEMALE)
Religious beliefs tend to follow these trends. Unless people were strictly raised under a certain religious umbrella and fear too greatly to stray from that, then you'll see a natural trend for people who are right-brained tend to gravitate toward eastern philosophies, and left-brained people to gravitate toward western philosophies. Typically, the more right-brained, the greater the freedom of accepting universal beliefs (New Age, the esoteric, metaphysics, an androgynous God, etc.) and the more left-brained, the greater the restriction from accepting universal beliefs (Fundamentalism, literalism, humanism, even atheism). Some (few) people are balanced-brained, and have equal use of both hemispheres. The more people cling to one view, over the other, and do not attempt to harmonize (balance) these two realities, then the more off-balance they become. For more information on the male-female aspects of the universe, our brains, thinking and believing styles, etc. click here.
For instance, a fundamentalist (left extreme), seeking to understand spiritual matters (right extreme), is simply an attempt to find that balance between the opposites of the swing of that pendulum. But if the seeking is not done out of a pure heart, and love, but fear instead (fear of losing one's religion), then the fruit of that will be the harboring of prejudice and hatred for other religious views, or even hatred (blindness) for the science that is a MATCHING type and shadow of that spiritual reality. Then imbalance will be evident in the individual, and standing there will be a religious hypocrite, a misnamed "spiritual fundamentalist" (a fanatic, extremist, such as is found in terrorists who claim to be working for a God of love, when in fact they are hate-groups). Consequently, one can be a right-brained extremist and lack complete discernment about the spiritual world, and the physical one in which they are trying to grasp. The free-for-all religious cults that focus on "love" (sensual love - the Greek "Eros" - not "Agape"... and this [physical] sensuality is the attempt to balance out the right-brained extreme) without discernment or discipline; which are also out of balance and wind up spiraling into chaos. The balance is found in the middle of both extremes, where the pendulum can lay at peace, in the stillness of our minds and hearts. Love is found where balance and harmony are found. Once this is discovered within, one can live out of that and move to either side at will. Either extreme, by itself, is out of balance, and can be fanatical.
Science (left-brain) by itself, can be fanatical; and humanism, atheism, extreme rules/laws, and closed-mindedness towards anything spiritual is it's fruit. Science "controlled" by fear is the "control freak" mode.
Spirituality (right-brain) can be fanatical; and chaos, lack of discipline, religiosity, and scatter-brainedness towards anything in the physical world is its fruit. Spirituality "controlled" by fear is the "out of control" mode.
Interestingly enough, people who are extremes of the above tend to gravitate toward each other (polar opposites) like opposite ends of a magnet. They will attach until balance is found. Such is the case with controlling, explosive, and abusive relationships where one is the tyrannical controller/dictator, and the other is the out-of-control epitome of victimization. Until the victim is raised out of that, and the controller is reduced out of their role, then balance will not be found. Once balance has been found, then equal SHARING (not biased dominance) between both sides will become evident (when one lacks, the other takes over, and vice-versa, back and forth).
Science balanced with love of the spiritual is the goal.
Chaos ensues until this balance is found.
Expect turmoil in experiences and circumstances.
If love of the spiritual is never sought, then imbalance prevails.
Spirituality balanced with love of science is the goal.
Confusion ensues until this balance is found.
Expect turmoil in thoughts and beliefs.
If love of science is never sought, then imbalance prevails.
BALANCE OF THE EXTREMES
Once balanced, then both hemispheres can be readily and easily accessed, pulling from one side
to balance the other, when needed. Discernment is available at this level of harmony and is why there is harmony.
Remember! As above, so below. Heat expands.. expansion is symbolic of the cosmos, the heavens, and spiritual things (spirituality, right-brain). Cold contracts... contraction is symbolic of atoms, matter, and physical things (science, left-brain)
Spiritual (dealing with the unseen, immaterial, improvable) and scientific (dealing with the physical world, factual, provable) realities are both equally valuable. The symbolism of one reflects the other. An example in one reality will provide clues in the other. This is why Jesus taught in parables using "real world" examples to teach a spiritual principle (he was probably one of the most perfectly balanced-brained individuals - able to see and understand both realms/realities equally). This is also why scientists can use a drawn picture (symbol) of an atom (the invisible, but scientific fact) to teach a scientific principle to students. In contrast, people within extremes have a hard time communicating effectively without such balance in abilities/thought processes. This is also why many schools teach multi-disciplinary approaches (balance) in their requirements (core-curriculum including Art, Math, Science, English, History, Political Science, etc.), for a well-rounded education, rather than having students become specialized in only one field, while remaining completely ignorant in other fields (imbalance).
The Good and the Bad of All Three Ways:
All sides of the pendulum (actually viewed as a circle) actually have positive and negative attributes. The good of the science extreme is that more knowledge can come forth, but the consequence is that it may occur in a negative way if not balanced with love/compassion. The good of the spirituality extreme is that a higher understanding can come forth, but the consequence is that it may occur in a negative way if not balanced with thought/control. The good of balance between the two extremes (wisdom) is that discernment (leaning slightly to the left) ensues, or that compassion/forgiveness (leaning slightly to the right) ensues... but the negative way of balance is that lack of discernment (wishy-washiness of leaning neither way at any time, refusal to make decisions (the sign of Libra - the scales of harmony)) ensues when one needs to make a choice, but chooses to stand on the line/fence and becomes lukewarm rather than choosing the hot or the cold in any particular circumstance.
True harmony is not in endless pendulum-stopped stasis,
but the ability to transfer information equally between the two extreme opposites.
This is what being balanced-brained (activity) means... not to be brain dead (inactivity)!
Where do you fall on this circling pendulum concept? Remember the pendulum picture I showed earlier? When one is "set" (with no movement) in one place, it's natural tendency will be to swing to the opposite side, and to an almost EQUAL DEGREE OF THAT OPPOSITE. This is the concept of the polarity of all things that are out of balance.
For instance, take the fundamentalist Christian religious beliefs (let's say the Mennonite religion as an example - I am allowed to pick on this since my family came out of a long history of being part of that religion). Since we are talking about religion, vs. humanism/science, this would fall into the orange zone in the right-brained area. Normally we'd see this a a religion that is full of love for the people, willing to forgive those who repent, turn the other cheek if wronged, promoting non-violence, doing positive things like going to church, singing, growing and maturing in spirit, etc. But on the opposite side of the pendulum we also see opposite traits, that fall within the fundamentalist orange zone on the left-brain side... promoting obedience to God (to fear God, rather than obey out of love), following rules and laws of the church/religion (whatever they tell you that is, depending on their own factional teachings/interpretation of scripture), being "cast out" if you do not obey these rules (so much for forgiveness!), not willing to change their beliefs regardless of what the spirit of God may move His people to do in the world, and bringing literalism to the table - women being required to wear hair coverings, dresses (no pants allowed), etc. Where a religion moves further and further into extremes of fundamentalism, the more tyrannical the rules become, the more extreme, and so it moves out of the zone of love, or even transition, and into one of fear-based beliefs. Finally, a person may get so entrapped within the confines of such a religion that the pendulum gains speed (for them personally) too erratically and will actually swing around and over the top (rather than underneath) to the opposite side. At this point, the person may have a change of heart, and refuse to accept that religion any further, and will go to extreme liberalism for a while, until then settle down (if they ever do) into a more balanced belief-system later on. I have heard of Satanists doing this very thing, but in reverse order, where they go from extreme fear-based and fear-loving devil worship (red zone - extreme liberalism), and suddenly "get saved" as a Christian and become a fear-based and fear-driven God worshipper (one extreme to the its opposite), but are still entangled within an extreme fundamentalist group. Have they really been balanced? According to the pendulum, this is the natural consequence, so yes, at least until they are "full" or grow tired of that lifestyle and finally come towards peace and love, rather than fear-based religions (of any kind). All in all, it boils down to two things... Love, or Fear.
These charts are really too simplistic to deal with all the extremes (and their polarities) of religions, but you get the idea.
Closing the Gap in Science and religion:
There seems to be a huge gap between science and religion, at least in western society, and particularly within sects of Christianity. For whatever reason (education?) this problem does not appear to occur as often in other cultures or religions. Most times, whatever is discovered by science does not conflict with the religious beliefs of the majority of the world, but verifies it instead. However, in fundamentalist (Biblical literalist) groups around the United States there is a huge portion of people (within and outside of these groups) who accept every single thing that the church teaches as "fact" when in reality the church is supposed to be there to promote spirituality (which is not fact-based at all, but nonmaterial principles of "living a Godly life"). Forms of the Theory of Creationism were taught by many early on in this country's founding, although as scientific advances became evident, and the Theory of Evolution became more and more the accepted view of how earth was formed, rather than a Biblical "creation" by an unseen and elusive God. This imposed a rift between the teachings of science, and the teachings of religion, at least within Christianity. The cause of this was, of course, not the scientific facts (which have nothing to do with faith-based "belief" but by evidences proved again and again via multiple scientific disciplines), but in the beliefs of the people in fundamentalist religious groups who were afraid of "losing" their religion that they were taught was "true" and "factual." Herein lies the problem... taking the abstract principles contained with spiritual teachings and attempting to make them literal (factual) was the mistake of these factions of Christianity. By taking a spiritual and symbolic story of creation, and turning it into something literal, tangible, and real, then pulled the pendulum from the right hemisphere, into the left one, which deals with the physical world rather than the spiritual. Suddenly, religion was not concerned with love, but those within its confines feared the loss of the manmade doctrines and creeds that they'd pushed for centuries as true. Concerns were that earth was not just made by God, but was made in a literal 6-day time, regardless of what science had proven otherwise.
This rift between science and religion continues today. The Gallup poll from the 1990's showed a decrease of Christians within the United States having a belief in a "young earth" (that Creationists typically teach). 47% of the nation believed in a young earth (about 6,000 yrs old) and that number went down to 43% by 1997. Was this due to evolution being taught "more" or "better" so as to overcome that mere 4%, or does that have anything to do with it at all? Christianity is still growing, families are still going to church, people are getting saved and joining these churches, so whether the percentage of "young earther's" increases, or decreases, is still out for debate. It should be noted that in scientific circles (those who are educated in the natural sciences such as geology, biology, etc.) the belief in a young earth is almost nonexistent. In this case education does make a difference! Does that make those scientists lean toward atheism? Hardly! It just means that they've reconciled their knowledge of the earth and life on this planet with any spiritual beliefs they may have, and that they have no rift between them (or very little). It is much harder, however, for those who have a huge rift/gap, between science and religion. "Young earth Creationists" think that if one believes in evolution, then one CANNOT believe in God. If they were to accept evolution (that it was made by "chance" and without intelligent design) then they would have to slap God in the face and say that God is not the one who created the earth, or life on this planet (hence the rift). A "young earther" might even admit to having a fear that everything they were taught is a lie, if they were to believe in evolution. They would think they were turning their back on God, and their religion. The greater the rift, the greater the fear. Fear is the way of the tyrant, and the victim; and what a narrow view of God and His world this is! In such a view there is no room for God to do anything because we can't "believe" it to be any other way than the way we were taught by organized religion, mankind's overbearing doctrines and creeds, and the heavy-weighted lies of the church systems. Perhaps, if religiosity were replaced with spirituality things might be different. Some might even question the notion of spirituality since it is also subjective.
So how are science and spirituality synonymous in such a case where the rift is so large???
Perhaps it is the ideal, the goal, the greater wisdom in understanding why there is a rift, and that it is based on fear, rather than acceptance and love that is the key. Prejudice and narrow-mindedness, and downright willed ignorance fills that void/rift between the areas of science and religion. The more one thinks they might be "wrong" in their beliefs, the more worried and fretful and desperate they become. They start going into the red zone of the fundamentalist view (dangerous!). Their desperation leads to a natural tendency to want to swing the pendulum back to the other side, so they start searching for answers.... but unfortunately they start looking in the wrong area (ultimately, even though this is a necessary step in overcoming these fears), because they came from the wrong area to begin with. Instead of dropping gently down to the science area (remember that fundamentalism/literalism is already on the left-brain side) their incredible imbalance causes them to swing way over to the abstract, to fallible interpretations, and religious doctrinal beliefs that is called "Creation Science". This is not science at all but faith-based efforts to try to "prove" that the Bible is literally true... and so this causes perpetual swinging back and forth to "verify" their point, when in reality fear is the driving force, and imbalance is the result/consequence. This kind of pseudoscience is a far cry from the real TRUTH, and just confuses its readers (and believers) more.
Perhaps someone is reading this and feeling insecure about their beliefs now, or perhaps they feel angry for me coming right out and saying that science prevails over doctrine, but honestly, the real key here is seeing what is really happening within the minds of people as they realize they are really just looking for the truth, and balance in all things. The swinging of your own pendulum is merely your efforts to understand the far-reaching edges of the truth that already lies within you. But who holds the so-called truth outside of us? Science, or religion? The answer is easy.... BOTH! Remember that both the left and the right hemispheres of the brain are but manifestations of the male and female aspects within us all. Both are equally valuable, and should be used accordingly, in a balanced and honest manner. If there is a rift between religious beliefs and scientifically proven facts, then one ethically should review their beliefs and alter them to match the facts. If the information that one is adhering to is found to be faulty (this happens even in science and IS the "scientific method") then one should naturally change their viewpoint to match what is justified true knowledge. Even my father, who is a minister, has changed his beliefs as he's learned more and grown more, spiritually speaking, over the course of his life. The same goes for me. If none of us ever grew, or matured, then we would become stagnant, and blissfully ignorant of our own shortcomings.
We should aim to continue to grow, to continue to seek, and knock, and hope that one day those doors that contain the answers we are all looking for shall be opened to us. For me, a simple course in physical geology (not pseudoscience or biased religious versions of it) answered most all of my questions that I had had for most of my adult life. I feel that I can speak on the subject of earth's origins and history with discernment, mostly because I have been on both sides of the fence regarding this subject. I have crossed from the "high pendulum" fear-based fundamentalist views, to the equally high fear-based spiritual ones, and then back to the harmonious scientifically-based ones, and also to the harmonious spiritual ones. I have seen why the Bible should be considered a spiritual book, as a guiding hand to understand greater and much higher things than just the literal interpretation people try to put on it (therefore lowering its value immensely!). Literalism is not spiritualism, but its opposite! As a Christian example: It is like the difference between the law of Moses, and the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross to eliminate that law in favor of forgiveness and love. Today, a growing number believe that God made the world, and that He did it in His own way, and in His own time (not ours with our lack of true vision), and that Evolution is merely the process which He used to do it. For me Evolution = Creation. There is an orderly design in evolution, if we have the eyes to see it. There is negentropy (negative entropy) in evolutionary processes, just as the teaching of creation defies entropy. What is creation? The building/construction/formation of the universe, and solar systems, and planets, and it includes life, from its simplest organism to the most complex one, all in a logical and amazingly accurate manner of sequential order. This order is seen not only in the fossil record and the geologic column, but also in biology, embryology, genetics, and a host of other disciplines of science. Are we so blind that we cannot see the truth because of our fear of what it might mean for our false beliefs?
People once believed in a flat earth (some still do, basing this literalist interpretation solely on the "four corners of the earth" mentioned in the Bible), but science has provided us the knowledge to move beyond that. Because of science we know the earth is round, and that geocentricity (earth being the center) is easily replaced with heliocentricity (the sun is the center). We know now that anthropocentricity (ourselves being the center of attention, selfishness) must now also be replaced by God being the center/source. As we learn more about our world, through the science that God has only recently allowed us to grasp, our world is keenly envisioned as a far greater place than we ever could have imagined it otherwise! We understand about atoms and quarks, and dimensions. We understand about global warming, the ozone layer, earthquakes and seismic data, tectonic plates, volcanism, meteors, and planets. We understand about organismal biology, microbiology, water on Mars, and why satellites in orbit around the earth don't fall on our heads. In our future, we will understand space exploration in a whole new dimension, and will have flying cars, transporters for travel between cities, and will be rid of cancer and other diseases that still plague humans today. Will any of that ruin our religion? Perhaps, but it should enhance our spirituality (know the difference!).
My motto is that all things, ALL THINGS, given enough time, knowledge, and technology can be known, explained, and understood (even by intuitive/ spiritual means); that "miracle" is a word used by those who cannot explain scientifically (yet) what can done spiritually (because there are no such things as "miracles" to God (whatever one's version of God is), as that is a term only used by those who lack what He/She/It/Spirit/Collective/Universe has or knows); and that:
Science and spirituality are compatible, if not completely synonymous, in explaining reality
(especially concerning what is being discovered in quantum physics now about "reality")
I, therefore am at peace within by having bridged the gap between science (left brain hemisphere thinking) and spirituality/ symbolism (right brain hemisphere thinking), and that:
The only rift that occurs and matters at all,
is one that is manifested within each individual person via their beliefs
One of my goals is to help people to realize that all feelings of separation begin within, and also end there. This is part of humankinds' natural evolution and spiritual maturation. Eventually so much more than we can even imagine today will be understood, and accomplished, although I feel it is a plan of the ages, rather than a feat that will be accomplished within only one lifetime... and each of us play a part in that story whether we realize it or not. Balanced (advanced) individuals show the way by teaching harmony between extremes, and extremist individuals act as the example to teach what imbalance means to those who were previously ignorant. Awareness of this, and who and what part we play, is the first step to personal maturity... maturity in knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and spirituality.
(c) Sharon (Eby) Cornet 2011