Science and Religion
All of humankinds myriad diverged lines of inquiry in Science and Theology are really asking after the same mystery and all the seemingly separate puzzles are really different aspects of the same puzzle. So that one answer contains all the answers and one key unlocks all the doors. Science long seen as the antagonist and adversary of Religion, all along was its friend and helper; encouraging the abandonment of nonsensical doctrines and leading Religion closer to the truth about God. The full unification of Science and Religion will produce better Religion and a more complete Science. True Religion is completely reasonable and it was always the destiny of Science to be made Sacred.
Today in the World there seems to exist an irreconcilable rift between the domains of Science and Religion. This state of affairs hasn’t always been the case and doesn’t need to be so in the future. When we examine religion closely then we discover there are two sides to World religiosity. One side will never be compatible with Science and Reason but the other perfectly integrates with reason and the Scientific Method. The side to Religion that doesn’t square with Science, also prevents the different Religions of the World from ever being compatible with each other. It is here that we find the fantasies, fairy tales and fables of Religion, together with those aspects of faith concerned with senseless rules, rituals and regulations. On the other hand there also exists an esoteric or hidden mystical core in all the World’s great faith traditions. It is here that we find much more commonality of belief and also complete harmony with Scientific ideas and thinking.
This chapter is essentially about the schism between science and religion and how this divide can be eliminated. We will be showing how it is that indeed Science and Religion can and do integrate into a coherent whole. We'll describe how it is that far from science being the anti-thesis of spirituality, instead it is the destiny of Science is to made sacred. We’ll be discussing some ideas at the cutting edge of Science that are paving the way for the return of certain core theological truths. For key discoveries in Science help us to better understand some timeless mystical truths and vice versa ancient spiritual understanding may also help to unravel some of the biggest puzzles scientists are grappling with today.
The Relationship between Science and Religion in the Past and in Antiquity
In antiquity there didn't really exist the separation between the fields of knowledge that we find today. The different specializations of science, philosophy and theology didn't really exist in the same compartmentalized form that characterizes humankind's pursuit of understanding in the modern age. So for instance the philosopher Plato would readily delve into religious issues and someone like the great sage Pythagoras though best known for his mathematical theorem was also a philosopher and explored the nature of the Universe. Indeed he is even thought to have coined the words 'Philosopher' and 'Cosmos' in the first place and was even revered as a religious figure in his own lifetime. So there certainly wasn't an incompatibility between Religion and Science that is evident today. Though not all people in the past were religious and there were certainly more than a few thinkers of the ancient world who totally rejected spiritual notions, it was however back then much then easier to be religious, philosophical and scientific without any apparent contradiction.
Later on in history during the Renaissance we find in the figure of Francis Bacon the total integration of the scientific, the philosophical and religious. Though helping to lay the groundwork for the empirical sciences he was none the less a mystic, Rosicrucian and Freemason. He once said 'I take all knowledge to be my province'. Other great thinkers who were living around this time and slightly after, such as Galileo and Copernicus though contributing greatly to the early advancement of science nonetheless remained devoutly religious. Even Isaac Newton who succeeded in integrating all the scientific knowledge that preceded him into a coherent mathematical framework spent more time thinking about spiritual and religious matters than he did about science. We now know that he had a keen interest in the Kabbalah, Alchemy and Prophecies, spending more time engaged in these pursuits than in Science. For him his science was not something that replaced God, rather an investigation into the logical beauty of God’s creation. In his view the Universe was like an intricately crafted mechanism that still needed a supernatural entity to put it into motion.
However around the time of the enlightenment in the 18th century a split started to occur between Science and Religion. During this period influential thinkers were advocating Reason as the best means for establishing an authoritative system of ethics and aesthetics. Furthermore Reason and Science were put forward as the only means by which humans could gain understanding of the Universe and existence. It was an intellectual movement that sought to irradicate irrationality, superstition and tyranny. Inevitably it would come to undermine Religion and begin the process of secularization or the falling away from Religion. Later on this decline of Religion was further accelerated by the publication of Charles Darwin's ‘The Origin of Species’, which expounded on his theory of
Evolution by Natural Selection. If Newtonian mechanics seemed to explain the heavens then Darwin's ideas seemed to explain the emergence of all the living things on the Earth, apparently doing away with the need for a creator God in the process.
The Relationship between Science and Religion in recent and present times
In more contemporary times we find a situation where many but by no means all scientists are antagonistic to Religion and the idea of God. There are some notable exceptions, for instance Albert Einstein who talked about a sense of the mystical as the source of all true Art and Science, also famously said that 'Science without Religion is lame, Religion without Science is blind'. However without a more detailed definition concerning the exact relationship between science and religion his statements didn't really mean very much for most scientists. It probably didn't mean very much for a lot of religious people either. More recently the celebrated cosmologist Stephen Hawking even sought to eliminate God as the primary cause of existence in the first place, seeming to explain away the point at which the Universe began. And in the life sciences the widely read evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins energetically champions the ideas of Charles Darwin, while at the same time also zealously promoting a Materialistic and Atheistic viewpoint.
On the other side of the fence we also witness today among many religious people and especially those of a Fundamentalist persuasion, a real antagonism towards many areas of Science. In particular in relation to the idea of Evolution, Genetic Research and also with respect to theories concerning the origins of the Universe and of the Earth. To these people the rise and power of Scientific Rationalism is closely associated with Secular Humanism. Therefore it is seen as a threatening and undermining thing, something to be resisted and argued against at all costs.
So given the divisions between Science and Religion what hope can we have if any for a future unification of human understanding, or a bringing together of Science and Religion. Is it possible that the Secular Humanist may one day be reconciled with Religious Fundamentalist and will the Scientist and Spiritualist ever find common ground? The answer to these questions is a firm yes, indeed there is a way by which Science and Religion may be unified. Furthermore through this unification of all human understanding we are given the means and the opportunity for bringing together the opposing factions in world society consisting of the Secular and Scientific versus the Religious and Theological. But then how may all this come about?
The important distinction between the Exoteric and Esoteric aspects of Religion in relation to the aim of unifying Religion and Science
In our efforts to help bring about the integration of Science and Religion the first thing we need to do is to make a distinction between the Exoteric and Esoteric sides to Religion. The Exoteric aspect of Religion involves the Outer Mysteries and it is what most people normally understand as Religion. It is here that we find the rules, rituals and regulations of Religion. Also the Miracle stories, Fables and Fantasy Narratives can be considered as a part of the Exoteric aspect of Religion. Also that superstitious side to Religion involving magic charms and super natural powers can also be considered aspects of the Exoteric or Outer Mysteries of Religion. In one sense this is the part of Religion which was created to provide a simpler and easy to grasp religiosity for the masses. It is this side of Religion which will never reconcile with and be compatible with Scientific Understanding and Reason. For instance the Christian doctrine of the Virgin Birth runs completely counter to what we know about human biology, reproduction and the laws of physics. Also the idea found in Christianity and Islam of eternal life as a literal physical bodily resurrection isn’t very easy to reconcile with a scientific world view.
For there to be any unifying of Science and Religion, then these Exoteric or Outer Mysteries of Religion need to be jettisoned or massively revised. Alternatively we might relegate their status from being absolute and literal truths to that of being allegory and indirect expression of a higher less obvious meaning. It is the Outer Mysteries of Religion that Atheists and Secular Humanists find ridiculous and rightly so. This is especially when they are promoted so zealously as literal and absolute truths by the Worlds Religious Fundamentalists of various persuasions. It is also these outer mysteries of religion that create all the divisions and irreconcilable incompatibilities between the different faith traditions of the World. For instance, in Sunni Islam there is the idea that the first four Caliphs or leaders of the early Muslim faith are infallable and to say otherwise is still punishable by death in some countries. On the other hand in Shia Islam(A rival sect) there is a rule which says that a Shiite must curse three of the four original Caliphs before every prayer session. This situation presents an obvious contradiction and cause for disagreement. Similar sorts of divisive dogmas exist in the World’s other major religions which cause and perpetuate sectarian divides in their respective faiths. So the down playing and eventual elimination of the senseless rules, rituals and fairy tales of Religion is not necessarily a bad thing at all.
In contrast to the more well know outer aspects of Religion, there also exists in the Worlds great faiths an Esoteric and less well known hidden dimension, sometime referred to as the Inner Mysteries. So for instance in Judaism we find the Kabbalah, also know as the hidden teachings of Moses. In Islam we have Sufism. In early Christianity there were the Gnostics and in Hinduism we have the Tantras. Finally Buddhism has the Vajrayana or Diamond Vehicle also known as the hidden teachings of the Buddha. It is here that there is a lot of commonality of belief on some of the key issues of Religion. Also it is in these Esoteric beliefs found at the heart of all World Religion that we find assertions about the nature of God, which are completely compatible with Reason and a scientific outlook. This I’ll be demonstrating a little later on in this Chapter. For now the point being made here is that all the Worlds Religions a two tiered and have a dual aspect, the Exoteric aspect versus the Esoteric one. The Exoteric aspect comprising the more fantastic or miraculous aspects of religion and also its meaningless rules, regulations and dogmas; will never sit comfortably with Science. This side of Religion will always be challenged by scientific inquiry and rightly so. However there also exists an Esoteric side to Religion and it is this side of Spirituality that will unify with Science and even make for a more complete, consistent and all encompassing Scientific view of the true nature of things.
So there exists two sides to Religion, one side, the Exoteric, will never reconcile with Reason and a scientific outlook. The other deeper and more mysterious side to Religion, i.e. the Esoteric aspect, is able to completely integrate with scientific understanding and indeed may even provide answers for some of the most important questions in Science. Later on we’ll be discussing how it is that the central idea behind the Esoteric Inner Mysteries of all World Religion, i.e. the notion that a person’s real identity is ultimately God, provides the key to the final and definitive unification of
Science with Religion.
The ‘God in the Gaps’, that Science hasn’t yet explained is the True God that was waiting to be uncovered all along
In contemporary discussions concerning the relationship between Science and Religion there is a concept which is often mentioned called the ‘God in the Gaps’. It is the idea that God is to be found in those gaps in human understanding that Science has not yet uncovered or explained. It goes together with the idea that God has progressively been eliminated from those areas of inquiry and realms of existence that have been fully elucidated by Science. For instance as we have come to understand the sky, the stars, the biology of life and the evolution of the species of animals and plants on the Earth; so at the same time, it seems as if God has been banished from these realms of existence and made irrelevant. The concept of the ‘God in the Gaps’ is usually used by Atheist Scientists in such a way as to deride Spirituality and Religious Belief. For the implicit and unspoken assumption is that eventually one day Science will fill in all the gaps and therefore God and Religion will eventually be made completely a thing of the past. Sometimes this belief in the exclusive veracity and eventual complete dominance of Science is expressed quite openly by Atheists and/or Scientists, particularly by the so called ‘Militant Atheists’ who take a more active stance in promoting their views. To these people it is an unquestioned assumption that Religion will never be reconciled with Science and can only be negated by the advance of Reason and the Scientific Method. To many Atheists and Secular Humanists the concept of the ‘God in the Gaps’ is merely what is left for Science to fill in before the whole notion of God can be completely eliminated altogether.
However there is another interpretation of the ‘God in the Gaps’. It takes the view that the advance of Science has been a great thing in that it has challenged superstition and unrealistic notions about the divine. Science and Reason has completely discredited the fantastic and supernatural aspects of Religion. Also it has also undermined incorrect views of the World and the Universe. And as a by product of this process of revising our ideas about ourselves and the Universe, it has undermined many of the existing institutions of Religion, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
But at the same time instead of seeing Science as the anti-thesis of Spirituality we can see Science as a necessary process which forces us to evolve our understanding of what is God. Seen in this way, the ‘God in the Gaps’ contains the conception of God which has survived the progressive process of negation and eliminination which has forced us to abandon previous incorrect and limiting ideas concerning the nature of God. Taking this process further we may conjecture that through this process of elimination then we’ll be left with a certain subset of possibilities concerning what we may conceive concerning what is the truth about of God. We may discover that when this process of elimination is taken to the limit, then we may be left with certain ultimate metaphysical truths concerning the nature of reality and God. We may even discover that these metaphysical truths are completely convergent with key ideas found at the Esoteric Heart of the World’s Religions. We may discover that the gaps in scientific understanding find their completion through the incorporation of timeless spiritual notions and that the answers to some of the biggest puzzles in Science are to be found in Universal and Ancient Mystical Truths. So the ‘God of the Gaps’ is then the True God that was waiting to be discovered all along.
Present Day Science starts to converge towards the Mystical and Spiritual
Previously we discussed the notion of the God in the Gaps and introduced the belief that a better understanding of the Divine is waiting to be uncovered as Science attempts to fill in the last big gaps in our human understanding of the Universe. These final pieces of the Scientific JigSaw puzzle also touch upon some of the most timeless and most profound questions of them all. That relate to matters such as the beginning of the Universe, the Nature of Time, the Nature of Reality and also the Brain and how it works. Another gap in our understanding that in recent years has attracted the interest of Scientists is the Mystery of Consciousness. We’ll be showing how at the cutting edge of Science, which is seeking answers for some of these larger questions, we are seeing that modern Scientific thinking is staring to converge with ancient metaphysical ideas and mystical truths.
If it is the case that the truth about God is waiting to be found in the Gaps of human understanding that Science has yet to unravel then we should perhaps find some sort of correspondence between these final puzzles and existing metaphysical assertions made concerning the nature of the Universe and that of God in World Religion. That is, of course, assuming that there is a God and also that the World’s Religions actually have something significant or useful to say about God. We do assume this to be the case and also that Science and Religion can actually mutually support each others corresponding ideas. That is we may find not only that Science provides confirmation for ancient spiritual ideas, but vice versa, that ancient spiritual wisdom can help Scientists in formulating their theories and help to fill in some of the missing gaps. Next we’ll provide examples of how this is indeed the case, that a fuller understanding of the Universe and God comes about through the integration of the Scientific and the Spiritual.
Science and the Illusory Nature of Reality
Our first example of how Scientific thinking is converging with Religion concerns an idea that was already mentioned in an earlier chapter called ‘Everyone is God’, that is the notion that reality is illusory and not what it seems. This idea is most fully elaborated upon in Hinduism in the doctrine of Maya. In Buddhism we have the corresponding concept of Sanyatta. Also similar notions are found in Taoism and Plato’s Parable of the Cave also addresses the same idea. It is in the area of Science called Quantum Physics that we find results and lines of thinking strongly suggestive of the notion that Physical reality is illusory. So what is Quantum Physics?
Quantum physics is the study of reality at sub atomic scales and is only a quite recent development emerging early in the 20th century. It studies the substrate of the physical universe at an extremely fine resolution, indeed, at a sub atomic level. What Quantum Physics has discovered is that the material world of matter is very strange and not what we think it is. When we examine matter at the subatomic level then our normal assumptions about what it is to exist become challenged. In this realm things have only an indefinite ‘ghostly’ sort of existence, sometimes seeming to exist in many different places at the same time. There is the famous Shrodinger’s Cat thought experiment that was invented to illustrate just how baffling the situation with Quantum physics is. In the paradox of Schrodinger’s Cat according to laws of Quantum physics, we have a situation where an animal is in a ‘superposed’ state of being both alive and dead at the same time. An obvious contradiction that doesn’t square with our normal experience of reality.
However what we have in Quantum physics is the most verified and experimentally supported Scientific Theory of all time. Without getting into too technical a discussion, some quotes from some of the greatest physicists of recent times, help to illustrate the situation. For instance, quantum physics so puzzled scientists that the Nobel prize winning physicist Richard Feynman said that “if you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don’t really understand it”. It is a theory which challenges our assumptions about the nature of the Universe.
The late great John Wheeler who worked with Albert Einstein and is widely recognized as one of the greatest physicists of recent times; summed up what Science is telling us about physical reality by saying that according to Quantum Physics, “There is no out there, out there!”. That is, we have the assumption called Materialism where we believe that there is a physical World ‘out there’, that is the ground of existence and from which our Subjective Reality and Consciousness arises. But Quantum physics is challenging this assumption and forces us to consider otherwise.
It has really exposed the cracks in our existing structures of belief, namely Materialism, and opens the way for other ideas to be considered. It has made possible the return of ancient spiritual ideas which view reality as being illusory to be entertained as possible solutions to the Quantum conundrum. In the same way that advances in astronomy and navigation started to challenge the idea that the world is flat or the belief that the Sun revolved around the Earth. So it is that Quantum Mechanics is challenging the incumbent assumption about the nature of existence called Materialism. It is suggesting to us that Reality may no be what it seems and is confirming the ancient Mystical idea that the Physical World of Material existence is really illusory.
Quantum Entanglement and Mystical Oneness
Staying with Quantum Physics there is another way in which, in this field, we can find agreement with Spiritual Truths. This concerns the mystical idea of metaphysical Oneness, the Oneness of God and all existence. Not only is Quantum Mechanics telling us that that the physical world is illusory, as already mentioned, it is also suggesting that the entire Universe is really a unified & inseparable oneness. When we consider the strange phenomenon that scientists have discovered called Quantum Entanglement then we see why this is the case.
This is the quantum mechanical property where two sub atomic particles existing in the same point in space and time will become coupled to one another in such a way that they become like one entity. So much so that even when these two particles are separated by great distances, then these two particles will still be able to affect each other instantaneously.
This then gives rise to the phenomenon called ‘Non-Locality’, whereby these two particles may influence one another instantaneously even if they are both located at opposite ends of the universe. Though separated in space they seem to have instant communication with one another, as if they were a unified oneness. It is as if there was no longer any space separating the two particles hence the expression non locality. For if the idea of space and separation become meaningless then so does the idea that something can be local.
This property is so mysterious and baffling that even Einstein considered it an impossibility. However experiments have repeatedly proven Einstein wrong, and have shown that Entanglement and Non-Locality are indeed properties of the physical world. Counter-intuitive though this seems, Entanglement and Non Locality are none the less experimentally verified facts about the nature of the Universe.
Things get interesting when we consider that the entire Universe started from a single point, the so called ‘Big bang singularity’. Because the entire Universe occupied the same point of space, every single atom in the Universe is entangled with every other atom. So even though the Universe which started with the Big Bang expanded and separated out to what we can see and measure today, it also exists as a single unified and inseparable whole. So the entire Universe and everything in it is likewise entangled and therefore consists of a single unified ‘oneness’. In this way again we find Science converging towards a timeless ideas from Religion concerning the oneness of all things and the oneness of God.
It is interesting to note that the terms God and the ‘all’ that is the Universe are often used interchangeably in religious scriptures. Now, this idea of God’s oneness is perhaps the central tenet of the so called monotheistic religions including Judaism, Christianity, Islam and also Zoroastrianism. And the oneness of God is attested to in other religions and is really a universal truth behind all the World’s great faith traditions. This notion of the oneness of God was discussed more at length in Chapter 1.
Without a doubt all of this is not intuitive and runs counter to what we normally assume about physical reality. It normally seems to us that there is a physical reality ‘out there’ populated by separate and distinct objects, so how can these objects really be a single entity? But that’s the whole point. Quantum mechanics is forcing us to re-examine our existing assumptions. It is suggesting to us that we consider the possibility that reality is not what it seems, that it is really illusory. That our normal perception of a Universe of separatedness is somehow not as it seems. It is as if Quantum mechanics is inviting us to start entertaining the idea of the universe as being a ‘oneness’ and further still that we are that ‘oneness’. That is, we are that oneness reflecting upon itself. This is a key and central mystical notion which we’ll be more fully expanding upon in later chapters.
These results from Quantum Physics which tell us about the unity and inseparability of all existence, encourage us to perhaps see or at least consider the validity of the claims that people have made through the ages about ‘Being at one with God’ or ‘Being at one with the Universe’. Instead of seeming like insane claims, seen in a different light, what all these people are talking about is the experience of Oneness that Quantum Physics is telling us is the true nature of things anyway. Therefore according to these remarkable results from Quantum Physics we may come to assume the following. The experience of being One with God or being One with the Universe, far from being a delusion, is really to see through what is really illusory i.e. physical reality and to perceive what actually is, i.e. an all encompassing oneness that may be called God.
The Cyclical Universe and the Reversal of Time.
We now discuss our next example of how modern Scientific thinking is paving the way for the evolution of Science into something that is able to incorporate ancient spiritual notions. It has to do with the Nature of Time and the Mystery of the Beginning of the Universe, we’ll be showing that these two puzzles are inter-related and that their solution can be found be considering ancient metaphysical ideas concerning the nature of Time and the Nature of the Universe. We’ll also be showing how certain lines of thinking at the cutting edge of Science are really reiterating and substantiating this wisdom from the past.
In Science there exists a problem relating to the direction of Time and why it is that time flows in the direction that it does. This problem exists because all the laws of physics are time reversible, everything from Newton’s Laws of Motion to Einsteinian Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. This means that they don’t just work going forwards in Time, as we normally perceive it, but also work perfectly well going backwards in time. A world running backwards in time would seem like a film reel or video reversed, where people are seen to walk backwards and things instead of falling to the ground, lift up into the air. There is nothing in the laws of physics themselves which suggest why it should be that time should flow in the direction that it does. Even though a Counter Clock Universe, where time is reversed, will seem very different from the way we normally see things, according to the laws of physics, it is just as valid as the Universe we inhabit. This is the puzzle of the Arrow of Time or the problem of understanding why Time flows in the direction that it does.
I believe that the puzzle of the Time’s arrow and directionality is resolved when we consider some ideas from the very forefront in modern day thinking concerning the mystery of the beginning of the Universe. Many people are familiar with the idea of the Big Bang, when from a concentrated point, called a Singularity, the entire Universe exploded into existence. This is usually thought to be the point of the beginning of the Universe. However there is a new viewpoint that has emerged from both of the two leading contenders for the title of Grand Cosmological Theory of Everything. They are what’s know as String theory and a less well known approach called Loop Quantum Gravity. They both introduce the notion that instead of a Big Bang what you really have is a ‘Big Bounce’, so that the Universe actually existed before the Big Bang. And therefore what we considered to be the beginning is really the point of reflection and a mere intermediate stage of a process that was already in motion. So therefore the Big Bang expansion and the Universe as we see it today, is now being thought of a bouncing back following a preceding epoch where the Universe was undergoing a contraction phase.
The idea of the Big Bang as the Big Bounce lends support to an idea that had already been entertained by a lot of the World’s Physicists. This is the notion that the Universe is cyclical, where there is a continuous process of expansion and contraction, expansion and contraction etc. etc. It had been known since around the middle of the 20th Century that the Universe is expanding. When Physicists applied Einstein’s theory of Relativity to what they knew about the expanding Cosmos, then they arrived at several future theoretical scenarios. In one of those scenarios, due to the pull of Gravity, the Universe stops expanding and eventually starts collapses into itself whereby the entire Universe compresses itself back into a point. This eventuality has been called the ‘Big Crunch’. It had already been speculated that perhaps this ‘Big Crunch’ will then lead to another Big Bang and thereby enable the postulated process of Cosmic recycling. What the new results from String Theory and also Loop Quantum Gravity give us, is the theoretical explanation of how the ‘Big Crunch’ will turn into the Big Bang, i.e. via a ‘Big Bounce’. The proponents of the ‘Big Bounce’ view of things also recognize the Cyclical view of the Universe of eternally recurring cycles of expansion and contraction as one of the possible candidates for the description of the dynamics of the actual Universe that we inhabit.
We can clearly see here parallels with ancient cosmologies from some of the World’s religions, particularly Hinduism, where the Universe is seen to undergo a never ending cycle of creation, destruction and rebirth. Some Hindu scriptures directly hint at a repeating Cosmic process of expansion and contraction. So we have another example where Science seems to be converging with Religion.
But there is a far more interesting and significant consequence to this line of thinking, relating to the Arrow of Time and the ‘Big Bounce’, with regard to the aim of using Science to support timeless spiritual ideas. It has to do with the idea that at the point of the ‘Big Bounce’, then we find a reversal of the Arrow of Time, which links back to what we were discussing a little earlier about mystery of why Time appears to flow in the direction that it does. The answer we are about to elaborate upon is that Time flows forwards but also backwards too and neither direction is privileged. So that what we tend to think as an absolute and immutable property of the Universe, i.e. the direction of the flow of Time, is only really a manner of seeing from a limited perspective. And that time equally flows in the other direction too, but in a previous primeval epoch, that is the period before the Big Bang or Big Bounce. As we shall be exploring, the implications of this idea are huge and turn upside down our intuitive assumptions about cause and effect. This expanded view of time also fully accomodates and even suggests certain spiritual or religious notions such as Purposefulness, Synchronicity, Destiny, Providence and Prophecy in the sense of fore telling the future. We’ll be explaining why a little later on.
In our normal view of time and the Evolution of the Universe we think in terms of a given starting point and set of initial conditions, i.e. the Big Bang which then over billions of years evolves over time towards some future state which is unknown to us. We normally regard this Cosmic unfolding as happening forwards in time. So from the Big Bang and the expansion of the Universe, the Universe evolves forwards in time with the formation of the Galaxies, Stars and Planets. Then as we continue along this process we see the emergence of Life ,the Evolution of Life Forms onto the emergence of Society, Civilization and Culture. Scientists generally regard this process as purposeless, random and without ultimate meaning. The past is given and the future has yet to come to pass.
But if we consider the idea of the Big Bounce with the Big Bang being not the beginning of the Universe but merely the point of reflection and time reversal then a very different picture emerges. In this view what we normally consider as going forwards in time is really going backwards, and also what we consider as the future is really the past. And because the Big Bang is the point of reflection and time reversal then it is really the mid way point in the evolution of the Universe, i.e. the point at which the Universe bounces back to it’s origin. Therefore as we seemingly go forwards in time towards our future then we are actually going backwards in time towards the beginning and returning to the source. Therefore everything that will happen in our future has already happened but in a time reversed manner. And everything we see unfolding around us, going forwards in time from our perspective, has already happened but going backwards in time in the Cosmic Epoch before the time reversal and Big Bang or Big Bounce. So that the Evolution of the Universe which from our point of view is heading towards an unknown and unprecedented future, is really the Universe returning to its original state of being.
There are a few necessary theoretical conditions that need to be met to allow for this Time Reversal and future as the recall of the Past, view of the Universe. They are that time does indeed flip or reverse itself in a symmetical manner and secondly that information from the Cosmic Epoch before the Big Bounce is perfectly preserved such that after the bounce we get a perfect replay of the unfolding of the previous Cosmic Epoch, but in time reversed order. Though Scientists are earnestly addressing these important questions there is currently a lot of debate and disagreement on the matter. However there is reason to suppose that our required conditions may hold. One theorist has already found support for the idea for a perfectly symmetrical reflection of space and matter, at the point of the Big Bounce. There are theoretical reasons why a symmetrical reflection of space will also be accompanied by a symmetrical reflection of Time. And with regard to the matter of information preservation at the point of the Big Bounce, again there are theoretical reasons having to do with the ‘Physics of Information’ and Conservation of Energy Laws, why it is reasonable to suppose that indeed all information will be perfectly preserved at the Big Bounce and point of Time Inversion where the flow of time reverses. Also we’re not talking about a normal physical process, that Scientists normal consider here, but a total and complete reversal of Time. At the point of inversion we are basically taking the state of the Universe at that moment and then reversing the direction of the Arrow of Time. Because all the laws of physics are perfectly time reversible then there is no reason to suppose that any information would be lost. Therefore the Big Bounce and Time Inversion should produce a perfect back to front replay of the initial Cosmic process of the Universe before the point of time reversal. So that it is this reverse, return to the source, evolution of the Universe that we see unfolding now. What we think of as going forwards in time is really going backwards.
I believe this is one of those occasions where a bigger Cosmic picture can help to inform theoretical considerations. Where the recognition of the validity of spiritual truths can help us to choose between different theoretical options and guide further scientific speculation.
This Time Inversion view of the Universe which sees the Big Bang is not the beginning but the point of reflection and Time Inversion may seem like an obscure and relatively inconsequential proposition. But as we’ll be showing, the implications of this way of looking at things are dramatic and far reaching. This we’ll be discussing at length a little later on. But next we’ll be discussing an important part of our Counter Clock view of Time and the Universe.
What is the True Origin of the Universe and also the Ultimate Destiny of Cosmic Evolution?
A natural question which emerges when we entertain this Counter Clock time reversal view of the Universe, where what we normally perceive as going forwards in time is really going backwards, where Cosmic Destiny is also the Cosmic Origin and where what we usually understand as the beginning, i.e. the Big Bang, is only really the half way point; is this. If the Big Bang is not the beginning then what is? If by going forwards into the Future, we’re really going backwards returning to the Origin then what is the nature of this Beginning that is also the End.
There is an answer to this question and it is one which is obtained through a simple process of extrapolation. We take from what we know about what has been happening on the planet and use this to fill in the picture for what will be happening in the Universe as a whole. There are Scientific and Mathematical reasons why this should be a valid approach to take.
For instance in a Science today we see the use of Fractal Mathematics which describes objects that are self similar. This is the property whereby the shape of the parts that make up some object, reflect the the shape of the whole object. Where the nature of the components reflects, but on a smaller scale, the nature of the entire composite. Since the invention of Fractal Mathematics in the mid 1970s and its subsequent widespread adoption by Scientist, it has been discovered that practically all natural phenomena are Fractal or Self Similar in nature. We also know that this is so even at the scale of the entire Universe, from recent research that has shown that the distribution of matter in the Cosmos is likewise Fractal.
So it is not unreasonable to suppose the processes that have been taking place on this planet over the past few billion years or so, may reflect the Cosmic Processes that are and will be unfolding across the entire Universe. Also there is no reason to suppose the opposite, that this process is necessarily limited to the Earth and constrained within the boundaries of the Planet. But what then is this Cosmic process and how has it unfolded upon our own planet?
This Universal and all pervading process of which we speak is called life and when we examine how the process has been working on the Earth then we can derive an idea of how the same process will continue into the far future but on a wider and grander scale. The proposition being made here that we can extrapolate this process right up to the end of time, as we know it, in order to gain a insight into what the ultimate destiny of the Cosmos is going to be. And given our Time Inversion view of things, also what is also the true Origin of the Universe.
So what is the overall process of life on Earth, from the wider perspective? Well it involves a lot of processes but for our purposes the aspect of the process of life that we’ll focus on are the two complementary processes of divergence and integration or coming togetherness. The process of divergence is the tendency of life to go forth and multiply, to replicate itself and spread out all directions in space. The process of coming togetherness is the complementary tendency by which the multitude of diverged life forms come together to form conglomerations that help the participating organisms to survive better and which can also give rise to new species of organism that emerge through this coming together process. A label which we may loosely use to refer to this Cosmic process is ‘Complexity’. This is a branch of Science, though ill defined, studies exactly this sort of thing.
So for instance bacteria get together to form bacteria colonies and single cellular life forms combine up to create multi cellular organisms. The process continues with multi-cellular life forms getting together to form herds, shoals and tribes. Continuing this process of coming togtherness we eventually start to see more advanced organisms forming more complex confederations, such as Kingdoms and Nation states. On the planet today we are witnessing another point of transition or phase shift, where all of humankind across the entire planet is being integrated in a single One World Order, sometimes referred to as the Global village.
The basic idea here is that these twin processes of divergence and coming togetherness, carrys on and continues into outer space. So that life proceeds to go forth and multiply, thereby diverging and spreading throughout the Galaxy and eventually spreading out through the entire physical Universe. At the same time the process of integration and coming together will continue so that interstellar confederations will form in various parts of the Galaxy and then come together to span the entire Galaxy forming a pan-Galactic entity. Which in turn combine to form inter-Galactic conglomerations integrating a large number of Galaxies. Then taking things to their natural conclusion, this process of life will finally form a single integrated entity that spans the whole Cosmos, encompassing everything in the Universe.
This is actually an idea which is quite ancient and also one which various modern Theologians and Scientists have entertained. In Hinduism we have notions of a Universal Vishnu or an incarnation of God whose body is comprised of the entire Universe. In Buddhism we have ideas relating to Celestial Buddhas or manifestations of Buddha nature on whom the dynamics of the Cosmos depend. In Christianity, the New Testament describes God as the ‘All’ that is in all and society as being the body of Christ or God. We’re basically saying that a future society which spans the ‘All’ that is the Universe, is also the Body of Christ. Also the Christian theologian Pierre Tielhard de Chardin talks about a Teleological or purposeful process of Evolution in the Universe, that leads to and is being drawn towards the emergence of the Cosmic Christ. In Science the Physicist Frank Tipler is most associated with the notion of an Omega point where sentient life eventually pervades the entire Cosmos, integrating into a single conscious entity. Similar ideas have also been explored by various Science Fiction writers such as Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov.
So through a simple process of extrapolation of what we know has been happening on the Planet, to the entire Universe, we can arrive at a idea of what is the destiny of the Cosmos and the ultimate conclusion to the process of the Evolution of Life in the Universe. This idea is fairly obvious and several contemporary and recent thinkers have been proposing similar viewpoints along the same lines. Also very relevant to the subject matter of this chapter, i.e. the integration of Science and Religion, is how spiritual texts and sources have also been talking about the same thing. So this Scientifically feasible idea of an all encompassing Cosmic entity at the end of time including within its being the entire Universe is another way that Scientific ideas are converging with ancient spiritual cosmological notions.
When we fit this concept of a single universal organism, whose body and substrate is the entire Universe, with our Time Inversion view of the Universe then it is this all unifying being and integrated Cosmic entity that is our Origin and at the same time also our ultimate Future. The source of creation and the purpose towards which life in the Universe evolves through our process of diverging, going forth and multiplying coupled with the complementary process of Converging and Coming Together. This is what the Universe and process of Evolution is heading towards in the direction of time as we experience it, so that it is the end. But it is also the origin because it is from this state of physical Oneness and Cosmic Unity that set in motion the process and the dynamic of the Universe before the Big Bounce, Big Bang or Time Inversion that is taking us back to the original state of Oneness and Unity. But then the big question which follows from all this is, ‘What is the nature of what is happening in that epoch immediately before the Big Bounce or Time Inversion, which sets up the initial conditions of the Big Bang and the subsequent evolution of the Universe as we are experiencing it?’. This is something which is a mystery to the Scientists, particular those physicists researching String Theory and LQG(Loop Quantum Gravity), who concern themselves with these sorts of questions. What is the process happening in the epoch of the Universe where time is flowing in the opposite direction to what we are experiencing in the current time inverted epoch? I believe that again ancient spiritual ideas can provide for us clues and also guide our thinking.
There is a recurring idea in Religion particularly in the Esoteric traditions that the process through which the Universe is created, is one by which all the life forms and all of creation comes about through a process of progressive Emanation. A process whereby from a point which may be referred to as God Head, the entire Universe radiates and branches out to bring into being all the myriad and separated diversity of existence that exists in the Universe. These notions became incorporated into Christianity and prior to that, were particularly elaborated upon by a school of Mystical Philosophy called NeoPlatonism. Also in Jewish mysticism or Kabbalah we find identical ideas. A related idea which is relevant for our purposes, is a recurring theme in Hinduism where the Physical Universe comes into being through a process whereby God is Sacrificed and God becomes the Physical Universe. But then in complementary manner, the Universe evolves to become God again. This is seen to be happening in an eternal ever recurring cycle consisting of the body of God becoming the Universe and then the Universe becoming the body of God again etc. Furthur there is an idea which comes up again and again in Religion and Mythology. It is that the process of life and civilization is the process of regaining something perfect and ideal that was lost in the distant past, but which must be re-obtained. For instance we find this idea in myths such as that of Atlantis. And of course we have the Biblical story of the Fall from the Garden of Eden, in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. When taken together with the idea of Eden effectively regained at the end of the age, contained in descriptions found in the last book of the Bible, i.e. Revelation; then again we see echoes of the same idea.
I believe that all these different spiritual and mythic strands are really talking about the same thing. They all depict in various ways an aspect of the Cosmic process and something of the Nature of the Divine. The process by which that which is whole and perfect, through a process of fracturing, emanation and dissolution, becomes that which is separate, differentiated and imperfect. It is this ancient spiritual notion of how the Universe comes into being, which I believe is the key to answering the question of what is the process that was occurring in the epoch and stage of the Universe that came before the Big Bang and Big Bounce. With a little interpretation, this then gives us an outline of a what a complete Cosmic Cycle looks like. It goes something like the following.
Starting from a state of completeness where all matter and energy in the Universe is integrated as unified whole, i.e. the Omega point, Universal Vishnu or Body of God that we were talking about earlier; we postulate that there is a primary state of Consciousness associated with this single integrated entity that comprises the entire physical universe. This is in the same way that Consciousness is associated with much smaller physical entities called humans. We may give this original Conscious state various names such as ‘God Alpha’ , ‘Absolute God Head’ or perhaps even ‘God Cosmic Creator’. From this beginning, matter and energy separate, and the physical components of this Cosmic entity fracture, separate and dissolve. The whole subdivides into parts, and these parts in turn subdivide into smaller parts and so on. This process continuing until the Unity and wholeness of Godhead and the all encompassing Cosmic being is reduced to atoms and sub atomic particles. Once completely divided and dissolved, all the myriad fragments that constituted God Head are in a state of disorder and separation. What was perfectly patterned and organized is now formless and disorganized. The Primordial all embracing Order has become primeval Chaos.
And so this process continues whereby that which has become dispersed across the all of Space is once again brought together but this time through a process where Space itself contracts along with everything contained within it. The disintegrated Cosmic chaos that the Universe has become, starting from its origin of perfectly integrated order becomes drawn eventually into a point or a singularity. This is the point of time inversion, the half way point and what Scientists mistakenly call the initial conditions and origin of the Universe. Here the Arrow of Time reverses from its initial direction during the primeval epoch to the direction of time that we currently understand. And this is also the point when the Big Bounce happens, so that what was contracting will start to rapidly expand in a what Scientists call the Big Bang.
So the Counter-Clock epoch begins, which is that of the Universe that we are inhabiting and experiencing now. The initial process of dissolution and emanation that gave rise to the conditions of the Big Bang and Big Bounce is now played out in reverse. Where instead of wholes being fractured into parts and composites being broken down in components we have the situation described earlier whereby parts become greater wholes in a process of complexification and coming together. This process of Cosmic evolution leading inevitably to the return and reconstitution of the body of God. A point where the entire Physical Universe has become a single integrated Consciousness entity and which ultimately experiences Enlightenment. This is the Omega and end point of the Universe where Consciousness has become God and that Consciousness corresponding with a physical manifestation of God that is also the whole Universe. A so a new beginning, the Omega is also the Alpha and cycle repeats.
Science accomodates Purposefulness, Meaning, Synchronicity, Providence and Prophecy
Once we adopt this time reversed view of things together with the notion of a specifically ordered state of the Universe, i.e. the Cosmic organism just described, that serves as the origin and also the conclusion of the Universe; then religious ideas such as Prophecy and foretelling the future are no longer scientific impossibilites but rather merely the recollection of things that have already ‘happened’. And concepts such as Fate, Destiny, Providence and Synchronity become obvious and inescapable conclusions. Furthermore the idea of a purposeful Universe with ultimate Meaning becomes understandable. Because if the Universe starts from a set beginning that is also the same as the set conclusion in the future that we are ‘Bouncing’ back towards, then everything that happens in the Universe has its meaning in relation to this ultimate conclusion. And by the same token everything that happens in the Universe as we go ‘forwards’ in time towards our future is purposeful in inevitably serving to bring about the set conclusion. For this set conclusion, which is really the set beginning, initially gave rise to everything that happened in the first place, that we’re now experiencing in reverse, and also set up the initial conditions of the Big Bang.
In this Counter-Clock view of time, where what we think of as going Forwards in time towards the Future is really going Backwards in Time towards the Origin, then our normal notions of causality can be seen in a completely different light. So that instead is thinking in terms of cause and effect instead we may think in terms of purpose and necessity. So instead of thinking in terms of such and such event ‘causing’ the other to happen, i.e. that event A is ‘causing’ event B to happen, we may alternatively think of event A needing to happen in order to serve the purpose of bringing about event B. In other words we have a sort of backward causation where things in our past become set up in order to bring about a set conclusion in the future. In this way we don’t have a Universe where things happen randomly or contingently. Instead we have a view of the Universe where everything that happens is purposefully and preordained to recreate specific conditions and circumstances. Given this way of looking at things, mystical ideas such as Synchronity, i.e. uncanny coincidences that suggest intelligent arrangement and Religious notions such as Providence and Prophetic foretelling of the future; become integral and intrinsic aspects of the way the Universe operates.
The Implications of the Time Reversal View of the Universe for the Mystery of Consciousness
There are some implications that our Time Reversed view of the Universe has for the important Scientific question concerning what is the nature of Consciousness. Most importantly, for our requirements, is that the viewpoint we have been discussing has the effect of undermining an certain argument that is often used by Materialists to support the almost universally accepted, but mistaken I believe, idea that Consciousness arises from the Brain and is therefore reducible to Neurophysiology. This arguement is also used by Atheists as a way, they believe, of negating the idea of a Soul or any notion of an existence that is above and beyond the material.
The arguement goes like this. Because various physical interventions, such as psychoactive drugs, brain damage or direct electromagnetic stimulation, can alter our states of Consciousness in either subtle or dramatic ways. Therefore we are causing those states of Consciousness to arise through our physical interventions on the physical substrate called the brain. Therefore Consciousness must arise from the brain as there is a clear chain of cause and effect, i.e. our manipulation of the brain is causing changes in brain physiology which is then causing alterations in our states of consciousness. Therefore together with this sequence of cause and effect there is also a chain of arising. i.e. that Consciousness is arising from brain states and that certain brain states are arising as a result of our physical manipulations. Therefore Consciousness arises from the Brain. This arguement has been used by Scientists such as Stephen Pinker and the Militant Athiest writer Matthew Alper. It is used and presented in such a way as to seem totally certain and incontrovertible.
However there is a flaw in the arguement and it has to do with a limited perspective and a mistaken assumption. The argument is set in the limited perspective that our view of the direction of Time is somehow privileged and absolute. And it is based on the unquestioned assumption that the Past is causing and giving rise to the Future. But as we have already discussed there is another way of looking at things which is being suggested by results and lines of thinking at the cutting edge of Physics. i.e. the idea that it is the future which is really causing the past and also that what we think of as going forwards in time is really bouncing backwards in time, back towards the origin.
Given then this revised view of the Universe, Time and Causality, the particular arguement of the Atheists and Materialist, which they believe proves absolutely that Consciousness arises from the Brain, no longer holds. For our normal notions of cause and consequence are then no longer absolute and immutable truths, but rather just one way of looking at things, merely a manner of seeing. So we can no longer say we are causing brain states to cause Conscious states. We can only say that there is a certain correspondence with Consciousness and brain physiology and therefore also merely a correspondence with any physical manipulations we produce in the brain either directly or through our senses. When we adopt this time reversed, counter clock view of Time and Cosmic evolution then we may equally say that Conscious states are causing physical states to happen in a back ward chain of causation. From this perspective we may just as equally say that any physical interventions we make on brain functioning in order to alter states of consciousness were themselves caused by those conscious states in the first place, in that these interventions needed to happen for the purpose of producing such and such state of consciousness.
Taking this line of reason to the limit we may even say that Consciousness is primary and the entire physical Universe ‘exists’ for the purpose of helping to specify the form and content of subjective experience. And that everything that ‘happens’ in the Universe is in order to produce interest storylines that are manifested as conscious experiences. Where it is Consciousness that is ‘real’ and where physical reality is illusory. This is exactly the view that we take and in later chapters we will be fully demonstrating how this can be so in the Chapter entitled ‘The Nature of Reality’. We will show how starting with the assumption of a single unitary Consciousness and the idea of Mathematical or Platonic existence we may produce a complete alternative to the dominant assumption concerning the nature of existence called Materialism and show that instead of Consciousness arising from the Brain we may have a better perspective where the Brain and the entire Physical Universe arises out of the One Consciousness. This One all encompassing and all manifesting Consciousness may rightly be called God which takes us to the next and our final example of how Science is converging with Religion.
The Mystery of Consciousness and the Mystery of God are really One the Same
Many Scientists & philosophers have a strong intuition that Consciousness is highly mysterious, but have no idea how far that mystery extends. We propose here the astonishing hypothesis that the Mystery of Consciousness and the Mystery of God are one and the same. That Conciousness, far from being a mere epiphenomena and by product of brain physiology, is instead the Primary Condition and Ground of all Existence that is God.
In support of the idea that the Mystery of Consciousness and Mystery of God are one and the same, when we consider the properties ascribed to Consciousness then we find parallels with descriptions made for the properties of God. God is universally described in the Worlds Religions as being Immanent yet Transcendent. So too is Consciousness Immanent and at the same time Transcendent.
For instance God is universally described as immanent and within us, in all the World’s great faiths, i.e. the ‘Christ within’ of Christianity, the ‘Krishna within’ of Hinduism, the Buddha within in Buddhism and in Islam God is described as ‘closer to you than your jugular vein’. In the Adi Granth the Sikh holy text we find the passage, ‘The One God is all pervading and alone dwells in the Mind.’ In all these instances, what said about the nature of God could equally well apply to Consciousness. So with regard to Consciousness, in an obvious sense it is within us in that it seems to be located within our physical bodies. And there is nothing closer to us, that indeed is us, than our Consciousness. Even closer to us than our jugular viens.
Furthermore the Worlds Religions describe God as being somehow transcendent, existing above and beyond the Physical Universe, while at the same time within it. Embedded within the material realm and reflecting physical reality, but at the same time unaffected by it. So in the same way Consciousness is also Transcendent and somehow above and separate from the material world. The Transendent nature of Consciousness is something that Materialist Philosophers and Neuroscientists have been encountering in their frustrated attempts to reduce Consciousness to the Physical Substrate of the Brain. This is the so called ‘Hard Problem’ of Consciousness. That of reducing ‘Qualia’ or the essence of subjective experience to the physical substrate of the brain. In contrast to the ‘Easy Problem’ of Consciousness, which is the more straight forward task of finding physiological neural correlates to aspects of Conscious experience. No matter how hard they try Materialist Philosophers and Scientists cannot solve the ‘Hard Problem’, they cannot reduce Consciousness to neurophysiology and brain functioning. They never stop to think that perhaps their entire working assumption is wrong, that instead of Consciousness reducing to a physical brain, it is more the case that the entire physical Universe including all physical brain like structures contained therein, reduces to Consciousness.
The proposition here is that what on the one hand Philosophers and Scientists call the Mystery of the nature of Consciousness, and on the other what Theologians and Mystics called the Mystery of the nature of God, are really one and the same. Two mysteries that are the same mystery and two puzzles that are really two different aspects of the same puzzle.
This is reason why Reductionist Materialist Philosophers and Neuroscientists have found it so difficult to explain Subjectivity in terms of neurophysiology and have failed in their attempts to reduce Consciousness to the physical substrate of the Brain. Because rather than Consciousness arising from the Brain instead the Brain along with the illusion of a Physical Universe actually arises from Consciousness that is God.
The idea of Science supporting the idea that physical reality is illusory was discussed earlier. Given this fresh perspective then it is absurd to try to reduce something we have certain knowledge of, i.e. our Consciousness and Subjective states, into something that is illusory i.e. the physical Universe including physical brains. A physical Universe which according to some of the great Philosophers such as Descartes, Kant and Berkeley, we can never have direct knowledge of. So therefore something we can only ever take the actual existence of, as merely an unprovable assumption.
So if Physical Reality is illusory and not what it seems then we can’t assume that Consciousness will reduce to brains that are a part of the illusory Universe or assume that subjective states arise from brain states. But how can the physical Universe emerge from Consciousness or God? If the Physical Universe is illusory then what’s behind the illusion or how does the trick work, which creates the appearance of an Objective Reality comprising an entire Physical Universe? The answer to this question is fully elaborated upon in a later Chapter called ‘The Nature of Reality’. In it I put forward the case for Idealism, which is the Ontological viewpoint in Philosophy, i.e. concerning what is the nature of existence, which states that existence is Consciousness. The great Ontological debate about what is the true nature of existence breaks down into two opposing viewpoints. The first is called Materialism which supposes that the nature of existence is based on matter and is the most commonly held view. The other is called Idealism which is the belief that all existence is really consciousness. It is the position of Idealism that is convergent with ideas from the world of Religion and Mysticism. Also in the later Chapter ‘The Nature of Reality’, I introduce the notion of Platonic or Mathematical existence and by using a new discovery from the world of Mathematics, namely the Mandelbrot set, I show how Physical Reality exists in the same way that Mathematical objects such as the Mandelbrot set ‘exist’. Then I show how everything is Consciousness by reducing everything to a Singular One Consciousness, that we may call God. And how this One Consciousness or God, uses a special mathematical equation which contains within it the description of the entire Physical Universe and all possible Universes, in order to generate Subjective Experiences and Life Stories.
In the meantime though and to bring this Chapter to a conclusion we’ll next be bringing all the ideas and insights we’ve so far discussed to present a picture of what a future integration Science and Religion will look like.
What wil the future integration of Science and Religion look like?
In this Chapter we have been putting forward the idea that there exists a way of reconciling Science with Religion. What we are suggesting is that there is a Mystical Core common to all World Religion, that is completely compatible with Science. Furthermore we presented some examples where we find correspondence with some cutting edge scientific concepts and ancient metaphysical ideas about the Universe and God. We showed how Science seems to confirm ancient spiritual wisdom and also vice versa how ideas from Religion can provide Scientists with useful suggestions for future theoretical developments.
If we take this process of integrating Science and Religion to its conclusion then what will the final result look like? What form does a Completely Scientific Religiousity take? And back to the idea of the ‘God in the Gaps’ we explored earlier. If there is a God waiting to be discovered in the Gaps remaining in Science, then once all the Gaps have been accounted for, then what will this Science look like? What we are talking about here and will be seeing in the future is what Philosophers of Science call a Paradigm Shift. There will be a reworking of Science where certain assumptions become revised, others remain intact and perhaps also augmented. The enterprise of Science will evolve. So what will remain and what will be discarded?
Those aspects of Science which will be retained will be things like, the process of experimental verification/falsification and peer review. Also the rigorous use of reason and logical deduction, together with the description of Scientific Theories using concise Mathematical language.
Then there are those aspects of Science which will be abandoned and in the future seen as unsupported assumption and unnecessary philosophical baggage that actually hinders Scientific progress. So for instance the idea of a Universe that is Purposeless and Contingent can be replaced by one that sees the Universe as Purposeful and Necessary. Also a Science that is exclusively Reductionist, i.e. trying to explain things by reducing them to they parts; is instead complemented by a Wholistic methodology which tries to explain things in terms of the purpose that they serve within the wider context, i.e. components are explained in relation to the function that they perform for the composite.
Most importantly though, what will need to be revised is the commonly held assumption of Materialism. The belief that existence is material and that subjective reality is dependent on and arises from an external objective Universe comprising of matter and energy. What will come in it’s place will be a Scientific Idealism as opposed to what we have now which is Scientific Materialism. At first this notion may seem extremely odd and far removed from Science as we know it today but really it is only small shift in perspective and a continuation with what Science is already about. We’ll elaborate on why this is so next.
Scientific Idealism is Science based on the assumption that existence is primarily Subjective and manifest as Consciousness. It takes the view that Physical Reality is Illusory, a viewpoint that we discussed earlier in this Chapter which also seems to be what is being suggested by certain experimental results and lines of thinking in Science anyway. But importantly Scientific Idealism supports the notion of Platonic or Mathematical existence. The idea the Mathematical objects ‘exist’ in a transcendent realm of pure ideas and abstract concepts. But here’s the twist. Scientific Idealism also sees the Physical Universe as also existing in this Platonic Mathematical realm, i.e. it ‘exists’ in it doesn’t really exist independently but is only manifested and brought into actually being through Consciousness.
This will sound a bit perplexing. However the idea of Platonic or Mathematical existence will be fully explained in the next, but one, chapter entitled ‘The Nature of Reality’. In this later Chapter we’ll be fully explaining how it is that the Universe can be a Mathematical object. For now we’ll merely point out that this idea of the Universe only existing as a Mathematical Object has only recently been entertained by some Scientists, most notably MIT Physicist Max Tegmark. So, in a sense, some progressive Scientists at the forefront of Science are already on the threshold of becoming Scientific Idealists.
This crossing over from Scientific Materialsm into Scientific Idealism doesn’t involve a change in the techniques, methods or day to day practices of Scientists. In fact the description of the natural World in the language of mathematics is what scientists are doing anyway. And Physicists, such as Paul Davis, speculate that one day Science will obtain a Cosmic Mathematical Equation that is able to describe the entire Universe, capture all its laws and initial conditions etc. So we have in the Scientific enterprise today a process where Scientists are trying to reduce the Universe and Physical Reality into Mathematics anyway. There is almost an implicit Scientific Idealism already in place, the next step is to jettison the assumption of Materialism and to suppose that the Physical Universe actually exists mathematically. And that what ‘Breathes Fire into the Equations’ is Consciousness or the One Consciousness that is God.
So what Scientific Idealism ultimate is and the key idea behind it is that existence is Consciousness and that the Mystery of Consciousness and Mystery of God are one and the same. It is really the idea that Science is the process by which the Universe that is God comes to understand itself through the use of the experimental method and the development of Mathematical models, just as in Science today. But without the Materialistic assumption that existence comprises Matter and Energy, replaced instead with the notion that existence is really Consciousness bringing into existence the appearance of an objective physical Universe, that only really exists in the same way Mathematical objects do. It is the Scientific Idealistic outlook that froms the basis for a complete integration with the Core Esoteric Inner mysteries of Religion with the results and methods of Science.
The Destiny of Science to be made Sacred
Today, Science seems to have come full circle. As we discussd at the beginning of this chapter, when we look into the history and origins of Science we discover that the first scientists, or the proto scientists, were almost invariably mystical in their outlook or else religiously inclined. Initially there was no separation between Science, or Natural Philosophy as it might been known in past times, and Religion. We then described a Shism between Science and Religion, which was came about through a process that really got going in earnest around the time of the Enlightenment. And which continues to this day.
But now we are seeing how the cutting edge of science is starting to confirm timeless mystical truths that exist at the heart of all the World’s great faith traditions. I have given a few examples but this is really the tip of the iceberg. I believe that this is a trend which is set to continue whereby we may expect to see in the future a continuing and progressive convergence between Science and Religion. What I am not talking about is the substantiation through Science of those aspects of Religion which has caused sensible people to abandon organized Religion in droves, i.e. the senseless rules, the rituals, regulations together with the unconvincing fairy tales and fantasies presented as absolute truth. These are the so called Outer Mysteries of Religion and comprise what comes to mind to most people when they think about Religion. Instead I am talking about the Inner Mysteries, the Esoteric hidden truths and the mystical heart that exists within all the World’s great religions. Within these Inner Mysteries we discover a constellation of beliefs that are common to the Esoteric core of all the World’s great faiths. For example the belief in the state of union with God and the associated idea that God is within us. Also as discussed earlier is the recurring idea of the unity of God, the oneness of all things and the oneness of all people. It is these inner mysteries then that Science is confirming and vice versa it is these inner truths of Religion which may help us to understand and integrate some of these discoveries happening at the forefront of humankind’s quest for knowledge.
In the long run I believe we can expect to see a full and complete integration of Science and Religion. It will be realized that Science, long seen as the Adversary and Antagonist of Religion, was in reality all along Religion’s friend and helper, encouraging religion to abandon outdated doctrines, reject the fairy tales and question some of the senseless rules and regulations. Also Science has been a help to religion by undermining existing Religious institutions which were often corrupted or else had lost their original purpose and meaning anyway. Furthermore Science has forced Religion to evolve into something better and closer to the truth of God. So that it is when Science and Religion fully embrace each other that we obtain better Religion and a more complete Science. Science is often seen as the anti-thesis of Religion when in actuality it was always the destiny of Science to be made Sacred.