- Religion - Science Development Discourse Health Care Knowledge

Poverty and Revelation

Poverty is as ineradicable as the house-fly! The misguided conviction that material resources exist, or can be created by scientific and technological enterprise, to entirely eradicate poverty is a myth of global scope. Social scientists are hardly necessary to uncover the reason for this manifest paradox: scientific  and  technological research pursue a  set  of  priorities set by financial interests and corporate investors. This elite technocratic minority is pursuing its own vision of middle class consumer desires and marketing entertainment. Science and technology therefore are the pet projects of a wealthy elite and their professional priorities. If scientific research does impact the lives of the masses it does so because it is tangentially related to the real interests of the generality of humankind.

A radical reordering of these priorities will be required if the burden of poverty is finally to be lifted from the world. Such an achievement demands a determined quest for appropriate values, a quest that will painfully purge humankind of both its spiritual mis-orientation and scientific structure. Religion must lead the way in setting new priorities, with humankind and the generality of the masses as its beneficiaries. The agenda must be set by the most dire and widespread of global human needs. With research topics that identify agriculture, education, sanitation, infectious disease, and other issues as the thrust of scientific and technological advancement.

Mainstream religion will be severely handicapped in contributing to this undertaking as long as it remains a prisoner to outmoded traditions, sectarian doctrines which cannot distinguish between metaphors in their scripture designed to motivate people, and stories told to 6th graders to keep them from misbehaving in the teachers absence. Contentment and mere passivity are not the same thing, and mainstream religion must learn to express the distinction which entails keeping up with modern trends in social justice and moving beyond an obsolescent past of sexual and racial prejudices.

Ascetic interpretations of mainstream religion which teach that poverty is an inherent feature of earthly life, the escape to which lies only in a world beyond, deserve to pass like the tide of eurocentric prejudices that we have passed beyond already, into the next world. Humanity no longer requires ancient religious practices to inform its scientific agendas, research values, or social priorities. To participate effectively in the struggle to bring material well-being to humanity, the religious spirit must find — in the Source of inspiration from which it originally flowed — a new commitment to life in the 21st century. New spiritual concepts and principles must be conjured up, or if none can be found then new religions must be embraced.

Religion with Authority Divine in origin; religion with Revelation satisfying in volume; religion with administration democratic in representation; religion with followers selfless in unity; religion with education first rate in its caliber and accessible globally — religion with values worthy to restructure the priorities of scientific research, is needed to answer the question of poverty.


- Religion Discourse

A New Discourse on Religion



- Language - Religion - Science Discourse Knowledge

Language and Civilization

Reality has physical and spiritual dimensions.  Indeed, the world civilization that beckons humanity is one that will achieve a dynamic coherence between these two requirements of social life.  If reality is more complex than just the physical universe, then a limited description would be inadequate to fully explore and understand it.  In recent times, because of the relative success of the field of science, particularly physics, the prevailing thought is that science is adequate to explain reality.  The assumptions implicit in this belief are that 1) reality is purely physical or material; 2) science, alone, can explain the mysteries of this purely material reality.  But, again, these are just assumptions.  There are alternatives as well – equally plausible – that have been advanced throughout this blog.  1) Reality includes levels beyond matter – including social dynamics, human consciousness, and spiritual reality; 2) if reality includes both physical and spiritual components, then both science and religion are needed to understand its mysteries; 3) understanding of reality does not equal reality itself – understanding evolves.

With the understanding that words influence both thoughts and actions, and with the above assumptions in mind – that science and religion are two complimentary systems of knowledge that, over time, gain understanding of our complex reality – the topic of language takes on paramount importance, particularly the language of science and the language of religion.  The next few posts will explore this topic.

Language, for the purposes of discourse, must be rich enough to explore issues at a depth that accompanies action.  It is the medium through which we communicate observations, create models of reality, articulate theories of dynamics, explore sentiments, describe the world’s operations, and even prescribe relations and behaviors.  Crucially, it allows for shared understandings to exist between one individual’s mind and others’ minds.  Otherwise, collective knowledge about the objective reality that exists outside of our minds would be tremendously difficult to generate, and our connections to each other would be extremely limited – to the point where we wouldn’t really have society.

To advance civilization is to construct a new social reality, and social reality emerges through language – words are the building blocks of civilization. In other words (pun intended), social reality is the operational expression of words and the meanings of them that society has agreed upon.  However, it is important to note that language is itself a social construct – a component of social reality.  Thus, like all social constructs and conventions, it can be changed.  And a change of language becomes a change of civilization.  Therein lies the power of discourse.


- Religion - Science

Underlying Assumptions

There are commonalities between science and religion as systems of knowledge that help conceptualize them as complementary and reciprocal.  The first is that they both derive from  assumptions and articles of faith.

Religion assumes the existence of a Divine and Transcendent Reality, an Unknowable Creator referred to as God.  Religion then assumes that, although humanity cannot know God’s essence, we can perceive attributes of God and intimations of Divine will through revelation.  Religion further assumes that we can learn to apply these revealed teachings towards the betterment of humankind.

Science assumes that the phenomenal world, apparently chaotic, is actually governed by universal laws and principles which constitute a hidden order.  Science then assumes that humanity can increasingly understand these hidden laws and principles through systematic and rational methods.  Science further assumes that we can apply this knowledge towards the betterment of humankind.

These articles of faith are almost identical – in one system, applied to physical reality; in the other, to spiritual reality; though in both, being applied to human social reality.

How do you see these common assumptions operating in your field?

- Oppression - Religion - Science Knowledge

Crisis of Knowledge

The advancement of a civilization aiming to achieve a dynamic coherence between the material and spiritual dimensions of reality recognizes that science and religion are the two reciprocal knowledge systems that impels its advance.  History gives rare, yet significant instances when these two systems have been complementary in their practice, and the resulting productivity of that society has been immense.

What is the state of these two systems today?  Few would argue that they are in crisis.  For religion, obvious signs include an almost endless fragmentation into irreconcilable factions and sects; the spread of religious intolerance, prejudice, and violence; the increasing corruption of its institutions; and its close-minded rejection of science.

For science, signs are less obvious, since it has brought humanity accelerated rates of technological advance.  However, science, too, has experienced a severe fragmentation as competing fields and disciplines view the world through their increasingly reductionist perspectives; it has created prejudice against anything associated with spirituality or religion, in a blind and close-minded fashion; it has disempowered most of humanity, who now view the generation of knowledge as exclusive to specialists and experts; it disproportionately serves the interest of a privileged minority by being directed by concentrations of wealth and power; and the priorities and values imposed on it have produced efficient methods for mass manipulation and weapons of mass destruction.

Clearly, fresh conceptions of each are overdue, conceptions that recognize their complementarity and coherence.