Which is the better path to unlocking the mysteries of the universe: science or religion?
Inspiring stories are more appealing
Charles Gruber, Lawrence resident, is a student of Zen Buddhism, Sufism and Judaism:
In response to this question, let me offer a story I heard recently.
Once upon a time, a young girl was walking in the forest. She discovered a butterfly that had impaled one of its wings on a thorn and was struggling to free itself. The girl gently helped liberate the butterfly.
Once free, the butterfly turned into a genie and told the girl that because of her spirit of generosity, the genie would grant her one wish. The girl said, "I just want to be happy." The genie whispered into her ear, and from that day on, the girl was known for her authentic, consistently happy nature.
Many years later, a young man asked her what made her so happy. The girl, who was now a grown woman, recounted her story of the butterfly and the genie.
"What ever did the genie say to you?" pleaded the young man.
The woman gently whispered into the young man's ear, "The genie said 'Even though people appear to be secure and strong and confident, everyone needs you.'"
There was no scientific methodology applied in unlocking the mystery of happiness. Rather, the answer resided in the realm of emotions aroused in response to the story. The emotions themselves are not quantifiable, predictable or verifiable.
Most religions rely on the mytho-poetic tradition. When I want to access my feelings, a spiritual path replete with inspiring stories appeals to my needs more than a scientific explanation of phenomena.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it because, as the scientist in me knows, the cohesion factor of the various vectors of emotional response is equal to or greater than the disintegration coefficient of my personality.
-- Send e-mail to Charles Gruber at email@example.com.
Religion, science necessary to soar
Mehdi and Farhang Khosh, doctors of naturopathic medicine and owners of Natural Medical Care, 2601 W. Sixth St. They are members of the Baha'i faith:
A major source of conflict and disunity in the world today is the widespread opinion that there is some basic opposition between science and religion. Many believe that scientific truth contradicts religion on some points and that one must choose between being a religious person (a believer in God) and a scientist (a follower of reason).
One of the key teachings of Baha'u'llah is the harmony of science and religion. The Baha'i faith views religion and science as two different aspects of a single reality. Human beings have both a material component and a spiritual component, so science and religion are vital interests for us.
Baha'i writings mention that religion and science are the two wings upon which man's intelligence can soar into the heights. It is not possible to fly with one wing alone. Should a man try to fly with the wing of religion alone, he would quickly fall into the quagmire of superstition. On the other hand, with the wing of science alone he would also make no progress and would fall into the despairing slough of materialism.
Baha'u'llah affirmed that man's intelligence and reasoning powers are a gift from God: "This gift giveth man the power to discern the truth in all things, leadeth him to that which is right, and helpeth him to discover the secrets of creation."
-- Send e-mail to Mehdi and Farhang Khosh at firstname.lastname@example.org.