Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Trust, Faith, Hope

“Progress is the life-style of man. The general life of the human race is called Progress, and so is its collective march. Progress advances, it makes the great human and earthly journey towards what is heavenly and divine;”    Victor Hugo

Since the beginning of human awareness, of writing, history, and an awareness of the progress of time, the desire in the elite of humankind for progress has existed.  And there are of course exceptions, but, progress can be measured by technological advancements, intellectual achievements, and societal progress in the form of lower mortality rates amongst children, lower mortality rates amongst women giving birth, longer life spans in each gender, and other important but less statistically testable progress.

"Human progress is furthered, not by conformity, but by aberration."  H.L. Mencken

You didn't read there that I mention a growth in the religious wisdom or progress, or anything similar, right? As much as I personally value highly the contributions of faith to progress, and of faith to the better social progress in particular, many people do not.  ((My bias should be known, I talk about it a lot, I am a man of faith, in the Christian faith, of no particular denomination, but somewhat Lutheran in flavor. ))  There is a fair reason for some of this desire to leave faith from the equation of progress. There have been many wars of religious affiliation, wars of crusade, wars of conversion, wars of genocide, in the name of "God".  Although, undoubtedly, many of the wars would have happened under different guise, such as racism or national identity, those who carry faith of many sorts bear a burden of the past.  These continue in the present, wars of religious identity, and the past and present both, and memory of that have destroyed much of the progress, if perhaps only the perception of, that religion has contributed.

Stepping past that question, I ask, if you have to trust, the religious would say they trust God completely, and they would do so with a feeling of certainty about their trust.  The atheist, or agnostic would reply that trust in science can be proven, while God cannot be.  In addition, science exists and is able to be tested without the need for faith, trust or hope.  This is mostly true.  The recent debacle of false test data in the vaccination/autism controversy, and the accusations regarding the data involved in global warming, whether it is true or not is not the point, science has its dark sides too.  (I believe in Global Warming, and I had my son vaccinated.)  This is a point only to say, nothing is so clear cut, so black and white with regard to such big views.  The most intelligent people I've met were all agnostic, which to me was honest, they felt that without proof you could not deny or declare proof.  So I am aware that the Trust in Science views are not altogether wrong.  They aren't wrong.

“Furnished as all Europe now is with Academies of Science, with nice instruments and the spirit of experiment, the progress of human knowledge will be rapid and discoveries made of which we have at present no conception. I begin to be almost sorry I was born so soon, since I cannot have the happiness of knowing what will be known a hundred years hence.”   Benjamin Franklin

No one can or has proven that God exists.  But, from my experiences, from my witness of others, I have seen things that others would call "coincidence" or "unproven" or not miraculous.  I honestly know from experience what others cannot experience.  OR I should say, haven't experienced.  I am not an apologist for faith, either.  I am someone who exists and who has a story about his life that has been a miracle, for reasons most people will never know.  Not for asking, but, so much of what I've experienced is not something I can give to another person.  But I am writing this blog to expose my soul, in every way I can, so that when I am dead, it cannot be said that I failed to try to do that very thing.

Science is not inconsistent with faith, or belief, unless one requires their beliefs and trusts to be completely consistent.  If you are a person who only believes in what you can prove, then I am sorry for the things you've been missing, and will miss.  But as you've told me, (people who believe this way) I am the one who is going to learn in the end, how very much I lost by believing in ghosts and that funky Jesus magic.

I trust science, and I believe that God could have brought about life upon the Earth or Universe through the process of evolution.  I believe that every aspect of the discoveries of science are not anti-God, but rather, by confirming that there is a law/order about the world, beginning at the pre-atomic level, that something magnificent must be responsible.  I am content that this won't be shared by either side of the debate of Science or Faith.  But, frankly, I don't care.  I believe in a big God who can do anything.  For me this is not self confirming inductive studies, it is something much deeper, and much less false in goal.  I do not lie to myself in any way.  I know I am somewhat fat.  I am emotional.  I am not able to deal with the business aspect of existence.  I've never cheated upon my wife, but I've lusted other women, I do that rather often in fact.  I am a small being, who has his whole life seen the magnificent power of God.  I've never heard a news report and thought Holy Shit, God doesn't exist or anything similar.  Science was a means to find out about the world and universe.  God gave us brains.  He obviously expects us to use them.

I say all this not to prove I am some big ass great Christian.  I am just saying, life offers us a path to something much bigger, eternity.  I plan to know the mysteries that I now am frustrated by.  I plan to see planets born, and galaxies blossom.

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

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