For centuries, philosophical debates were focussed on the question ‘Does God exist ?’. It is time, we leave this question behind, for several reasons:
1. Everyone agrees, something cannot come into existence out of nothing. It is a matter of most fundamental and simple logic, there must be an ultimate cause/source of all existence.
2. As we cannot observe this source/cause, we have to investigate it through the connections with it, we experience in reality.
3. These connections can be classified in categories of mental and physical phenomena.
4. The mental phenomena are not a subject of structured scientifical research.
5. The physical phenomena – laws of nature, and the origin, the source of order, the composition of the universe – are being investigated by science.
6. From 4 and 5 results a duality between science and religious beliefs.
7. From 5) and 6) results a lack of a holistic perspective.
Science might incidentally investigate a certain mental phenomenon, but will not relate it to other phenomena, not will it look for common characteristics in subjective experiences. A few examples: It is a common characteristic of humans, to want to find meaning in the way things in reality relate to each other; this is a fundamental difference with animals. It is a common characteristic of humans, to have no natural restraint against physical needs. Again a fundamental difference with animals. Near death experiences are considered some sudden brain activity due to a lack of oxygen; but the fact those experiences have common characteristics and are not just random dreams is overlooked. People have memories of past lifes. People experience sudden knowledge, other than through the senses. Etc.
Theologists are biased towards their own religious beliefs. Therefore, amazing common facts in scriptures from different beliefs and revelations from prophets are also completely overlooked. This is sad, as finding and relating those common facts in different religions are a basis to build theories upon as to laws of nature and as to the human conscience/mind/spirit, to be investigated and possibly confirmed through science.
So, isn’t it then time to concentrate on some common truth, instead of concentrating upon trying to correct each others false perceptions in an endless debate? Agreeing upon an ultimate source – or cause, if that would be a better word – of all existence, some subtle energy that sustains all, causes order, brings life, could be a good starting point to unravel the secrets of the universe to the limit of what can be known, as well as the secrets of the human conscience/mind/spirit; the rest being a matter of inference and ultimately of faith, to be experienced by each and every person in their own free way, without debate over a Name.
Certainly, it must be possible to take one step aside and communicate unbiased. Although some religions cannot reconciliate creation and evolution, there is a way out of this duality by looking at it this way: From the viewpoint of the Creator, existing (in a realm) out of time, everything was made in an instant. From our viewpoint, through the eyes of time, we observe evolution.
What is it, that makes it possible for us to perceive? Of course it is a whole system, but if you break that system down, it comes down to the fact that you wouldn’t be able to perceive if not for a system of small particles (in your brain), each of them fulfilling some role. Their ‘acting’ is quite complicated; they have spin, vibration, charge, they are sensitive to temperature, they decay or transform into other particles, all together they show a behaviour dependent on their environment and get their impulses from forces created by energy… it’s not so easy to conclude, they are inanimate.
So those small particles also have perception. Their perception is the combined reception of forces. Their reaction takes the form of changed states which in turn influence or invoke forces to be received by other particles, so there is a whole conversation going on. This ‘communication’ results in particles forming structures, in which they start cooperating and binding themselves to one another. The result is a structure that starts acting as an entity, cooperating and binding themselves to other structures, resulting in ever more complex systems…until finally through billions of years those systems evolved into organisms being able to express themselves through speech. Communication through speech could have led to this sense of self, of individuality, so self-consciousness; contemplation; curiosity; investigation; human intelligence.
So far, human intelligence could simply be the result of evolution. Yet there are some remarkable facts. The first is the human need to find meaning in what we observe in reality. It doesn’t only lead to a religious predisposition*, but also to test results where humans score worse than animals, simply because they cannot accept some pattern without trying to find the meaning in the pattern. Another fact is, animals live by natural laws and restraints; human beings have to use their conscience as somehow they came to lack this natural way of living. An animal living free in its natural environment, will neither drink nor eat excessively, nor will it have sexual intercourse other than for reproduction, and it will not fight unless its territory is being threatened. But humans do not have this natural, inbuilt restraint. Somehow, we are in danger of overeating, drinking ourselves sick, reproducing at a rate too fast, and fighting too much. If loosing this natural guidance would be a mistake of evolution, we would have extinguished ourselves long ago. But we have a conscience, a mental warning system against wrongdoing. And this is maybe the most miraculous part of the whole of evolution. Everything else could be explained as simply structures evolving from previous structures, even though the question, where the algoritm/design that causes evolution originates from, still remains. But how to explain the conscience? Morality is the secret of human life; and it is very unlikely, morality being the central message in all religions would be a coincidence.
Many people believe in the fact, ultimate knowledge sometimes comes to the mind of enlightened persons, messengers, prophets. They believe in the truth of it. Others considered the above, and it led them to the conclusion, there is indeed a design behind everything, and this must come from God – without having a clear concept of what ‘God’ is. Some religions believe, God is the Creator. In the Qu’ran, Allah is the source of existence, life, and that which sustains all. Some religions believe, God also has a physical body. As we cannot know more than what we can infer and observe, there will always be a rest that cannot be known. We have to concentrate on what we can know, instead of wanting to know the impossible.
What we know is this: The universe is not perfect; its design is not fractal, evolving in perfect order. There is imperfection, deviation, seemingly caused by gravity; maybe caused by time itself. The very reason, imperfection exists, is also ultimately that what gives us free will. If we were perfect, then what would there be to choose? Even though free will is limited, as most of what we think and say and do is determined by our individual abilities and talents in combination with the environment we have grown up in and are a part of, it exists. It exists as a result of imperfection.
Until we know more, it would be best if we would take as a starting point the existence of an ultimate source – or cause, if you’d prefer this word – of all existence, some subtle energy that sustains all, causes order, brings life. As we cannot observe this source or cause, we have to investigate it through the connections with it, we experience in reality. So science should seriously investigate phenomena concerning human experiences and the human mind; and religious debaters should find the common truths and facts in the wealth of religious writings, instead of quoting from one scripture. It is important, religions and science start cooperating in constructive ways to answer some basic questions, instead of being stuck in centuries old debates about creation versus evolution or whether or not God exists. And science and religion should start to speak each others language, and see through the biased meaning some words have come to get.