Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Betwixst and Between

My husband and I just got back from a Science/Religion conference this evening. It was geared toward "religious responses" to Darwinian evolution. I found several things interesting, but one especially so, the "is" and the "ought".

The emphasis on the "religious response" was due to "fear". A "fear of the power of the religious" in America to form policy around "religion" and not the "facts of science". This is what was called the "is". The religious were to remain inside their domain of what is called the "ought".

While facts are based in real reality of the everyday experience and scientific endeavor, the religious are given a "place" of handing out platitudes and metaphors, which do nothing to change reality, except in someone's head. Is this enough?

I find it hard to defend an "ought" or a "should". An "ought" or "should" means that the reality that exists should be changed, but the question is not about change, but "how" and "what"! How does one view the change that would make life different or better? These are questions about values, and not ideals of "shoulds" and "oughts". Values are based on personal conviction and are given priority according to their importance. Values form one's personal ethics in prioritizing one's moral choice.

"Shoulds" and "oughts"may or may not bring about a "right", whether of needed change or ethical decision. The "right" is limited by cultural definitions, at times. And these cultural definitions may or may not be "enlightened". There are only personal choices, not universal ones.

Revelation has been touted by the religious as a means to the 'ideal" or the "shoulds", "oughts", and "right". But, revelation should be "grounded" by "enlightening" one's mind to what "is". Without understanding that what we know is limited about the mystery that is in this universe, we will act presumptutously, arrogantly, pompously, irrationally, or radically. This is not to say that science, nor religions do not give us some understanding of the mystery. But, we do not have but a part of the whole. We must deal in the "is", as this is the only way to really communicate about and make a difference in the "real world". The real world consists of the political and the public, as well as the personal and the private.

Therefore, I think reason is the best way to approach reality and others, so that change may come through shaping policy, making decisions, and committing one's life.

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