Posted by: KG | Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A dialogue between sensitivity and authenticity

At the core of rationality’s conflict with religion is a lack/presence of trust. What is the kind of trust that should we place in our fellow beings? The attitude of Science is to say, well, we don’t believe something happened unless there is enough evidence for it. The weight of the evidence is on the person making a claim. The evidence required is as tall as the claim itself. This, I feel, is an essential mistrust, an important tool in pursuing truth.

Was reminded of this when I came across a theologian/philosopher, Richard Swinburne’s idea of trust, a more loving, a more communal idea of trust, of course.

  • Principle of Credulity – with the absence of any reason to disbelieve it, one should accept what appears to be true (e.g., if one sees someone walking on water, one should believe that it is occurring, unless one is under the influence of a hallucinogen).
  • Principle of Testimony – with the absence of any reason to disbelieve them, one should accept that eye-witnesses or believers are telling the truth when they testify about religious experiences.

When I come across something like that, I say, Hmm.. that is a problem.

There can be a middle way, of course, not always, but definitely ways in which science can correct religious overreaches of trust, and religious thought can correct science’s lack of trust. Science, perhaps can suspend judgement in stead of showing a lack of trust. Of course, scientists are reputed to be great at this. But I haven’t seen evidence of this in the glorified *public intellectuals* of our times. They are too quick to judge, and beat down, from within their prejudices. Perhaps awareness of these prejudices, and the consequent self-restraint is a start. (Identification with the false-ego)

Can/Should religious pursuit be done away with if we continue to have fundamental disagreements as this? You see, when you deny a fundamental nature of an organism by restricting or looking down upon certain aspects of it, lets say, by some or the other form of force, it reappears in other forms and with attendant issues. So we can dispense with categories such as rationality/religion by not discussing them, by staying away from them, but they will come back at us.

Personally, I would rather suspend the categorization of religion or science, and try to integrate them as much as possible, remove the parts that don’t make sense, remove the parts that confuse rather than clarify, but in a conversation, it is not just my own choice that matters.

Of course, ultimately, any form of pursuit is first, and foremost, a personal thing. This is the realm of silence, not science or religion. The conversational aspects of science and religion must cease at a certain point, to let silence speak for itself. To let the dance reveal itself in stead of trying to dance, or to see if the dance is perfect/this/that..

Thats all I have to say for now.


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