It has been a number of years since I sat in or read my husband's course on Science and Faith, as it affects society. He won a John Templeton award for it a number of years ago. So, I don't remember many details, as I have been doing my own thinking and coming to terms with faith and reason.
I think coming to terms with one's faith, is addressing many issues that concern one personally, as well as the meaning of these concepts. How these all "fit together" is a quadmire of "mystery", at least, to me.
I understand how our environments are "supposed" to affect us, but how is it possible to assess that each and every individual processes information the same way? There are so many variables concerning our choices, understandings, and the prioritizing our values.
I think that if I spent the rest of my life trying to understand this subject, I would never exhaust the subject, but possibly I would exhaust myself. But, isn't the pursuit of truth what man was made to pursue? The reality is that it takes courage to face what one thought was "real and true" and universal is somehow questioned and questionable. This is the way of learning, and growing and enlarging oneself, so that one can "be" and "become".
I do agree that one's faith "fills in gaps" in a person's psychological make-up, if one has not been brought up to identify with a certain tradition. The basic needs of man are understood and met within the different frames of of understanding. This is where the psychology of religion meets the philosophy of religion, as it answer the question of how one understands or comes to "faith", at least this is how I am thinking it 'happens".
We all have early images that make up the meaning of life. These images are represented by "words". And since our experiences with these images and thier meanings have different understandings, depending on our "connections", then we react or respond differently to the same stimuli.
Reason understands things in "flat language", or "one dimensional language", as each discipline is "one language among many" and each language, even within a discipline has many "languages". It has almost become impossible to communicate between the specialties because of the difference of focus of the discipline.
Understanding an individual takes a lifetime, as any married person knows. There are so many aspects to the personhood of the person, that is negated and missed when one trivializes "meaning" and value. This is why it is so hard to bring about reconciliation between those that see things so differently, as each has their own reality and to deny that reality, is to deny a basic tenet that makes up their personhood and identity. But, how in the name of "reality" or "real history" is there to be a reasonable resolution to those who insist the Holocost did not happen. Or we ask those who have been denied a voice in their life to deny their very "need" for a voice, to deny it for the other? This is human cruelty, and yet, the world must function on some basis of understanding in formulating foreign and domestic policy.
I have found that the questions and quandaries are greater than any answer where it concerns faith and reason. But, it is a fascinating endeavor to pursue "truth" anywhere one finds it.
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