Monday, June 29, 2009

Scientific Understanding and Morality

On "Exploring Our Matrix", there was a blog entry which correlated Scripture's "strong and week" to those who believe in evolutionary thinking. It was argued that using Galatians or Romans depended on which one was using the argument. But, a response in the comment section argued that arguing for or against circumcision, a religious rite, was not to be compared to the science/religion debate. The science/religion debate is based on "fact", whereas, circumcision is based on "faith".

In the context of a religious community, the science/religion argument as to the strong would stand, whereas, generally, it would not. Scripture is not to be used as a proof-text against "knowledge" in general, as the fundamentalist argue, as this would take the individual books of scripture out of original context.

Scientific understanding are based on the facts of reason and not on faith, although one can adhere to faith in reason's understanding, without upholding an allegience to reason's understanding in an absolute sense. Reason's understanding is always historically bound, because science is always enlarging our understanding and our views. We have to revise and re-formulate what and how we believe and understand. This re-formulation and revision is part of growth, intellectually and morally.

Behavior, which is based on understandings of morality, is understood within a certain context. Different denominations understand faith differently (beliefs), and therefore, behavior is understood within that context. Each denomination uses "reason" to understand and defend a specified way of "seeing". And membership in a particular denomination means that one "belongs".

In our open and free society, we understand that one's view of behavior is limited by the laws that define what is "right or wrong". These laws are "hammered out" in Congress or decided by our "Supreme Court". We are a people because we are defined by the "rule of law" and not the Divine Right of Kings.

It is first and foremost important to uphold freedom of conscience, because without it, we will limit another's freedom, which may just as well limit the basis of our society. The difficulty facing the West today is how does one uphold our liberal democratic ideals, when certain religious fundamentalists want to subvert liberty for another. Where do civil liberties end without undermining the basis of society itself?

The discussion is a two-edged sword. How do you define liberty and law?

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