This I Believe

Thorvald - Roseburg, Oregon
Entered on January 11, 2007
Age Group: 65+

All the world’s religions will merge into one and this one religion will no longer be at odds with science and these two aspects of human intellect will complement each other, this I believe.

Early humans were curious and awed and frightened by fire, wind, earthquakes, the sun, a blooming flower, the birth of a child, and other manifestations of life. They wanted to understand these things so they observed, examined, and experimented. Their efforts led to an ever expanding understanding and they recorded their findings. But some things they were unable to explain. Humankind very much needed explanations of frightening and catastrophic events such as floods, illness, and particularly, death.

The leading intellectuals of the day pondered the existing evidence, made educated guesses and theorized. Certain individuals had mystic experiences and visions that they felt explained the hitherto unexplained occurances. Others took a more pragmatic approach believing only in those explanations supported by logical thinking and hard evidence. Both found support in the populace. The teachings of the mystics and visionaries filled a troubling void and many people came to have faith in, and benefited from, those who believed in the supernatural. The teachings of the pragmatics led to improvements in health and the general well-being and attracted those who valued skepticism and logical thought.

But as the inquiries and analyses continued, contradictions occurred in the explanations put forth by the faith-based group, Religion, and those of the pragmatic group, Science. Then further disagreements within these two main groups caused the formation of subgroups. Organizations now arose with elaborate hierarchies, and self-serving goals. Additional controversies now occurred based solely on organizational patriotism, historic prejudices, rivalries in recruiting members, and other issues largely unrelated to the reasons these groups originally were formed. So it is today.

One of the primary hinderances to the merging of the world’s religions is the insistance by some groups that some beliefs are absolute and not subject to review or change. All the data that are the basis for both religion and science have been collected and chronicled by humans and, therefore, subject to error. History records that changes have been made to religious teachings and beliefs in the past. More needs to be done to correct ambiguities and contradictions still found in religious scriptures. During this process the similarity of all the existing religious groups will become apparent. The present rivalries will then end and so will the attendant controversies and violence.

From the beginning science was less subject to splintering than religion because of its pragmatic basis. However, scientists are critical of groups that do not adhere to the “scientific method”. Yet some of the current science theories such as the big bang, existence of a parallel universe that mirrors ours, and string theory with its eleven dimensioned space, seem to be just as amorphous and maybe more incomprehensible than religious theories of a heaven, a hell, and a supreme being. Scientific explanations have limitations as all scientists will acknowledge, but they must also acknowledge that theirs is not the only way to help humankind.

Science and Religion will then complement each other and the world will be a better place because of it: This I believe.