Open Discussion Group - Has Science Become the New Spirituality?

  • June 21, 2014 · 6:00 PM
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Many of our past discussions end up touching on science in one way or another, whether it's drawing correlations between quantum physics and eastern religions, or even applying the laws of physics to the power of human thought. 

But how many of us have actually been in the drivers seat of a particle accelerator?  (Which I assume looks more like a computer terminal than a drivers seat) How many of us have witnessed an experiment in which the atom is split?  Has anyone watched a neutrino pass through their body without touching any part of us? Or has anyone viewed the vast empty space which makes up most of the matter we're made of?  Science is full of assumptions which are not easily conceptualized, and not easily proven.  And certainly, the majority of these concepts are not readily visible in daily life - yet in the name of science they are accepted, embraced, defended, with deep conviction and passion... Remind you of anything?

Now take religion, or even spirituality in general.  FULL of assumptions which are not easily proven, if any are provable at all... and yet we are far less likely to take anyone's word for it, much less likely to 'buy in' to an idea simply because of one person's testimony... 

I'm not saying science is bunk and we shouldn't believe it.  But certainly there is evidence that science is still evolving and is not all-knowing.  In a similar fashion, I'd like to discuss how religion and spirituality likely hold some relevance to understanding this world, especially in places where science seems to agree with age-old teachings.

Bring your thoughts, ponderings, and an open mind for another great discussion!


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  • A former member
    A former member

    I think we are drawn to science because its in our nature to seek truth. Science by definition means knowledge, but just having knowledge without understanding it can lead to incomplete conclusions.
    When we merge knowledge with understanding, we can reach an enlightenment. In this way it is "Spirituality", but I don't view it as "New".
    Science at its core is done by observation of the physical world. My research into mythologies and religions shows that they have the same core: Observation of the physical world. It is the what we do with our understanding of these observations that separate them.

    1 · July 7

  • Jothan

    "What we may have thought our private pathway to salvation, was intended all along as a collaborative enterprise, though we often miss the point. The confusion is understandable, since our current generation's preference for "spirituality" over "religion" is often a slight of hand that confuses true discipleship with self-absorption." (Terry and Fiona Givens, The God Who Weeps) --- I woke this morning thinking of this quote and haven't been able to sleep. Let me state that this is a broad generalization and that it's not my intent to be dismissive of what some have shared as their spirituality. I see a depth of experience in any one individual and know that motives and consequences for personal spirituality are varied. I'm also not trying to debate spirituality vs. religion. From my perspective these are, or at least should be, one in the same. I might add to my own definition of religion "applied/shared spirituality."

    June 22

    • Tiffany

      Whatever ones truth is, so be it....I have found, thru experience, that religion will judge or "pray for our souls" if one does not believe as they do...and my truth is to accept people where they are and just love, though I would not choose to follow their beliefs, I can respect their choice....

      1 · June 28

    • Doug T.

      I don't know if Charlie is referring to my comments so I am going to leave what I said (coming from my own personal experience) just as I said it without any additions or subtractions. Tiffany, I think you and I agree on respecting others' beliefs. But, I can also safely say, as a former preacher, that true critical thinking as I now understand it was not a part of our beliefs.

      1 · June 28

  • Chet S.

    I also agree with Charlie that spirituality can’t be institutionalized—what a great statement! For me, our emotional nature expresses the human spirit. That is, without feelings to satisfy, we would have no spirit, much as an individual who suffers from serious dementia is without spirit—or at least without the spirit the individual once possessed. In that I believe the human spirit—our emotions—expresses the survival wisdom of our species, it follows that if spiritually can’t be institutionalized, then neither can life. I have no proof for this, but, if true, it answers a couple of fundamental questions about human existence. As subjects of institutions, ourselves, it explains our general state of unhappiness. It also explains why all attempts, throughout history, to institutionalize human existence have cyclically failed, via the rise and fall of civilizations.

    June 28

  • Chet S.

    I agree with Charlie that religion and spiritually are not mutually exclusive. They are both entities through which humans hope to discover a truth that answers fundamental questions regarding our existence. But, other than the fact that we indeed exist, I don’t see how our existence has anything to do with truth. There is no truth in the universe, for instance, that says we should exist—not as far as I know. Life continues to exist only because animate beings feel like behaving in ways that optimizes the likelihood of life’s success. The will to live, for instance, is a feeling on which life absolutely depends. Life also exists because animate beings feel like eating, loving, accepting, rejecting, expressing anger, sacrificing, and killing, but only in situations in which such activities support life.

    June 28

  • Charlie B.

    Excellent discussion with sharp minded people with diverse observations.

    1 · June 24

  • Ryan T.

    Lots of open minds and great discussion.

    June 22

  • Jothan

    Anyway, thank you for allowing my perspective, and for sharing yours. Most meetups probably exist with people looking for like-minded connections. I'm open to that, for sure, but also open to stepping further into what I gain and give with different-minded connections. Thinking critically and the search for truth would perhaps call for that.

    2 · June 22

  • Craig H.

    Covered a lot of ground. Great Discussion.

    1 · June 21

    • Steve S.

      I am sorry I blocked the list you started reading, but it had to be done. I would still like to hear or read the rest of the list.

      1 · June 22

  • Brent

    Unfortunately, I'm going to have to miss the discussion tonight. Sorry for the late notice. Until next time....enjoy!

    June 21

  • Sandee

    On our way, dinner ran a little long! Will be a few minutes late.

    June 21

  • Sandee

    On our way, dinner ran a little long!

    June 21

  • Craig H.

    I am not too much of a fan of either Sagan or Neils, but this is a good article for our discussion. It touches on some of why I don't like Cosmos.

    http://www.geek.com/science/cosmos-is-a-fantastic-show-about-ideological-conversion-more-than-its-about-science-1594177

    1 · June 12

    • Doug T.

      If you mean Neil Tyson DeGrasse, I actually like him because he leaves room for a higher power. He seems to know his stuff in the science world, he's a rock star, and that makes Cosmos the best science class I have ever had!

      1 · June 13

    • Craig H.

      I tend to agree with the article and I stopped watching the show. He leaves room but is still trying to convert people to science in ways I am not all that comfortable with. The science tends to be a bit old and orthodox and does not touch on recent discoveries enough. Science really is an ongoing investigation and presenting it in a way that makes it too rigid to counter the religious rigidity is just as bad at the mistake Fundamentalism make in trying to co-opt the Bible to Science by making it scientifically and historically infallible, of which it is neither and was never written to be so.

      1 · June 13

  • Rick

    Oh come on, Ryan, how can you seriously equate the hard won results of science to the unprovable claims of religion? The point is this: Religion has NOTHING BUT unprovable claims, while science is based completely upon the falsifiability of its claims. That is, science is subject to change along with the latest evidence. When was the last time the bible or Koran were updated?

    2 · June 11

    • Bret S.

      And anytime we settle for "either/or" thinking we take away the possibility for "both/and"

      3 · June 13

    • Doug T.

      When it comes to reality, I'll defer to science; religion (spirituality) makes me feel good, and I seem some connection in the realm of energy, but superstition is way too subjective for me.

      June 13

  • Doug T.

    Not going to be able to make this one- gonna be out of town with my sweetheart. We will miss y'all.

    June 12

  • Rick

    "Bullshit science" is of course, not science, but bullshit.

    June 12

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