God and Science
In modern times science has become the chief idol of humanity. It is seen as the only reliable means to knowledge, both of the world and of ourselves. It alone gives truth, or so runs the contemporary narrative. But what if it were a false idol (all idols are false, of course) and led not to an increased understanding of life but to a narrowing of vision, a loss of true values and eventual death? That is my view but it is definitely a heretical one according to the accepted canons of modern belief. It would not only be dismissed as absurd and ignorant by secular authorities but would also be rejected by many religious leaders who fail to see that if you try to ride two horses going in different directions, one of them will inevitably have to follow the other.
So why is science so highly regarded and why do I reject its authority? To answer the second question first, it's very simple. I reject its authority because it is wrong. If science were not materialistic by default that would not be the case, but it is or certainly has become so. Therefore it denies all truths not open to its own limited means of research. It has identified itself so completely with materialism that it cannot break that connection without diminishing itself and its unique authority. Of course, individual scientists do not necessarily all think in this way but the discipline as a whole does.
So, to be clear, I do not reject science so much as its materialistic bias, but nowadays the two are locked so closely together that they cannot be prised apart. And I reject this bias on practically every ground I can think of, be it those one would expect such as tradition, revelation, religion, experience, intuition, imagination, faith, but also those that are regarded with approval by scientists themselves such as reason and logic. For materialism is irrational in that it can explain nothing fundamental in itself but still won't accept the obvious, namely that the universe is set up and governed by intelligence. It has to deny this intelligence because to accept it would be to undermine its own position of pre-eminence. Thus when science looks behind the veil of existence at such root realities as life, consciousness and intelligence, never mind all those troublesome things not definable in terms of mathematics like beauty, love and goodness, all it sees is basically nothing. Literally nothing real in the latter case (i.e. these things are just subjective), and nothing existing independently of determining material processes in the former.
As for why science is highly regarded, there are various reasons. Firstly, it is relatively new. According to our current way of looking at the world anything recent is likely to be regarded as more advanced than what came before. As, in some respects, it may be. Then there is no doubt that science, through its practical application of technology, has changed the world radically and, in many ways, for the better. It has got results and made our lives much easier. It has also explained some things that were mysteries and corrected some ideas that were incorrectly understood. It has vastly increased our intellectual understanding of the physical and, to some extent, psychological worlds. All this is undeniable. But there is also the equally undeniable fact that science appeals to those who wish to reject God which means those who are motivated by pride in their own independent intellects. From this perspective, at least, science can be viewed as a product of the Fall, and one, I don't say directly inspired by, but certainly exploited by that being who was the agent of the Fall and the first to reject the authority of the Creator.
Even those who recognise that science has overstepped its boundaries from the 19th century onwards like to say that this is not the fault of science as such. It is simply a misuse of science. But I wonder if the aspect of misuse is not actually implicit in the discipline itself. Science, after all, is something that depends on the analysis of the material world and the use of the rational mind. It is fundamentally anti-spiritual in its conception from the outset so unless it submits itself to a higher authority, whether that be God, the soul, revelation or spiritual intuition, it will always end up in the way it has. And the majority of its adherents will always resist anything that threatens their hegemony and position on top of the intellectual pile.
What science fundamentally does is break things up in order to look inside them. That is the way it understands them. Now this is effective up to a point but something essential is lost that way. What it is is hard to define (particularly in scientific terms precisely because it is not open to the scientific method of exploration), but we can call it the spirit or soul or quality of the thing, and anybody with the slightest bit of imagination will know what that means. But science won't accept imagination as in any way pointing to reality because it operates outside of its domain. I am not dismissing the scientific approach but I am saying that, taken to excess, as it is now, it is highly damaging to the proper development of a human being. It must be accompanied by, in fact subordinated to, a more visionary mode of perception which approaches things intuitively and is able to look through and behind and beyond externals without chopping them up into their component parts but seeing them as wholes. For science may be able to manipulate matter but it cannot see the reality of which matter is only an expression.
If we take the birth of science in the modern sense as being in the 16th century (a somewhat arbitrary date but more or less accurate), we can see that, whatever the reasons for its initial awakening in the Western consciousness, it soon began to regard itself as the rival to religion rather than its companion and ally. The spiritual worldview founded on faith, which, properly understood, is the openness that encourages the development of intuition, was replaced by a strictly rational approach that rejected anything that could not be confirmed by the senses or proved by reason. I simplify to make a point but this is a broadly correct description of what took place during the course of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Scientists came to believe that mathematics could describe reality, failing to see that mathematics can only describe that limited aspect of reality which it describes, which aspect is but a fraction of the whole; one that leaves out whole swathes of reality including the essential part. This part is known through the imagination and intuition, confirmed by scripture and revelation and can be accessed by following the traditional spiritual path and disciplines. However, being beyond form and quantity, it falls outside investigation by a science which limits itself to the external world or that which is immediately apparent to the senses and the mind as normally conceived. Science simply denied what it could not investigate by its own methods, and rejected any other methods or means of approach to reality. It hobbled itself because of its lack of vision, but also because of the unadmitted though quite evident desire for power of its priesthood. In effect, science became the authoritarian church that, in part, it had originally come into being to contest. The religious worldview of the time needed to be supplemented or balanced, but balance requires equilibrium and pretty soon the scales became weighted far too heavily on the side that favoured fact over meaning.
Now we have a situation in which the scientific worldview is the orthodox one, and heretics are either ridiculed (which admittedly is better than being burned) or dismissed as unintelligent. Even religious people (other than fundamentalists, of course), because they have grown up in a world in which we are all conditioned by the authorities to follow a certain way of thinking, give precedence to science in more and more areas. To the extent sometimes of allowing it to determine how much or how little space should be accorded to their religious beliefs. The undoubted achievements of science on the technological side and the fact that it has made our material lives considerably easier also influence us all to give it our intellectual allegiance when perhaps we should be more discerning.
For there is a problem. Notwithstanding its achievements in the material world and its exposure of much superstition and ignorance, modern science rests on a falsehood because it denies, or sees no reason to acknowledge, metaphysical reality. That is not, of course, the way it would look at itself but it is a truth known to anyone who, either intuitively or through faith, sees that the basis of life is spiritual. This has enormous consequences for how we understand and live in the world, but it also means that science doesn't even understand its own field of operation, the material plane. Why? Because without metaphysical knowledge you cannot even comprehend the natural world properly as you will see what you expect to see according to your pre-existing assumptions which in the case of modern science are entirely materialistic.
This why I maintain that the adoption of the scientific worldview is a calamity for humanity. I say this because it has resulted in a catastrophic separation of Man from his true being. It has cut us adrift from spiritual reality and led us into an unrecognised hubris, the hubris of a creature that denies its Creator. Now, it is true that the great majority of people are passive victims of this mindset, it being the accepted orthodoxy of the day and therefore hard to resist. But there are some who are active promulgators of this false doctrine and they, whether they know it or not, are doing the devil's work. Very possibly because they share his main vice and besetting sin which is intellectual pride.
For there are some atheists who are so not for supposed rational reasons (mistaken but honest) but because they do not want to live in a universe in which there is a God. One in which they will have to acknowledge a Creator. And these people use science to bolster their prejudice not for a disinterested view of the matter. And they can do this because science is not disinterested, not disinterested enough anyway, as it wants to extend the field in which it has power and authority as far as possible, squeezing out any rival it may have in terms of knowledge. Since religion and metaphysics claim an authority beyond the realm open to science they must be dismissed, preferably as archaic relics from humanity's childhood.
There are, of course, plenty of scientists dedicated to the pursuit of truth as they see it, but they are fatally handicapped by the basic materialistic premise of science as it is understood today as well as their over-reliance on the human intellect. This is why I maintain that the dogmas of science (and it certainly has them) corrupt the mind. For science is concerned only with outer things, but outer things are transient and ultimately unreal except considered as the expression of inner spiritual archetypes which are the only true reality. Consequently scientists will never get to grips with the true nature of things until they abandon their prejudices and preconceptions and humble themselves before the divine.
None of the points I raise here mean that I don't recognise that in the greater scheme of things, and in the context of the times in which it arose, science had its part to play. However we are currently trapped in a period of over-dominance by science, and its basic premise is a profound metaphysical error that needs correcting. The good that a purely earthbound science could do, it has done. The evil that it has brought about now needs to be addressed, and urgently. Humanity needs to move on into a future in which science will still play its part but only once it has been radically reformed and brought into line with spiritual wisdom. There is no doubt that it has helped correct previous errors and oversights, but it is now responsible for the greatest error of all which is the denial of spiritual truth.
We live in times of great spiritual ignorance and denial of the truth, and anyone who sees that has a responsibility to point it out. However I am not writing to attack or condemn anyone but to support those whose intuitions are crushed by the culture in which they happen to live. Increasingly, materialistic science assumes the status of orthodox dogma and dissenting voices are marginalised. I think of children growing up with little or no exposure to any kind of valid spiritual teaching and nothing to nourish their spiritual imaginations. Is it over-dramatic to think this a crime? Of course, some atheists claim it's a crime to teach young children about a spiritual world when there's no proof (to their way of thinking) that such a thing exists, but what if it does and access to it is withheld? What then? What if children are not even given the opportunity (through lack of information) to believe in a spiritual reality? Is this not a form of abuse?
As a matter of fact I regard the very question "Do you believe in God?" to be a wrong one since it implies an unbiased choice can be made in this matter. Often the way a question is framed contains certain inbuilt assumptions and preconceptions which have an influence on the answer. As far as God is concerned it is not a question of belief. God is a fact so the question should not be "Do you believe in God" but "Do you see the reality of God?" The truth of God is stamped in every heart and either we acknowledge that or we don't. Doubt is permissible but to actively deny God is always a sign of egotism and pride.
Despite my polemic here about modern science I would not want it to be thought that I have no appreciation for the revolution in thinking it brought about. When the scientific method first arose it brought a fresh approach to the study of reality, which study is one reason for our existence on this Earth. Old ways had become stale, corrupted by superstitions and false beliefs, even if the truth was still there under several centuries' worth of man-made accretions. Ignorance abounded in many departments of life but it's hardly worth me saying that as it's obvious. We needed science to clear away intellectual cobwebs and stimulate new ways of thinking, never mind the technological advancements which have liberated humanity in many ways (even if they have enslaved us in others which is becoming ever more apparent). I would never dispute any of that. But the fact remains that science exceeded its brief. It may have corrected wrongs and imbalances of the past but it created new ones. It may have given us great power over nature but it robbed us of a spiritual home. It expanded certain horizons but it lost the centre. It opened the mind to new ways of thinking but ruthlessly closed off the old ones when we needed a balance between the two. The problem, then, is not science, but scientists not acknowledging the limitations of their science, and stepping beyond their legitimate boundaries.
Science, considered as the system of knowledge we have today, can be regarded as a step on the journey that leads humanity from the consciousness in which subject and object are not yet experienced separately, the so called participation consciousness, to one in which they are completely separate to one in which there is a fully conscious awareness of the unity of the one and the many with both given due recognition and reality. It was a necessary step in the separation of consciousness from its primeval state of being embedded in nature, begun long ago but only completed relatively recently, but it forgot the basic rule of the new which was enunciated by Jesus when he said "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them." The old ways should not have been rejected but assimilated and then integrated with the new. You might think it inevitable that for the new to be established properly the old must be discarded but it need not have been so. If science had not reduced the imagination to a purely subjective faculty, if it had respected the integrity of the whole human being, if it had not looked at nature from an almost completely quantitative point of view and if it had not pursued power and control to the degree that it did, then it might not have made the errors it has made.
So science was a liberating force in many respects, certainly to begin with, but the so called Enlightenment was not all one way. It also brought a darkening of consciousness, with the result that materialistic scientists are now the ones preventing proper progress. They are the modern day believers in a flat earth for the world they have created is a barren wasteland, stripped of meaning and without true hope. We may not see it that way because we are seduced by the technological appliances that science has provided us with, and lulled into a false sense of ease by the physical comfort its discoveries in the material world have given us. But these will ultimately prove to be without real substance. Scientists have forgotten that knowledge must always be subordinate to truth. They need to open their minds to the greater reality that lies beyond their instruments, equations and theories, and perceive the world as the expression of a Divine Intelligence. Only then can their science become a pure approach to the world and be what it should be which is a hymn of praise to the Creator.
Science means knowledge. That's all it means. It is, therefore, good. The pursuit of knowledge is a large part of what it is to be human. It is our destiny and duty to seek to know. But, as every spiritual aspirant understands, there is a knowledge of the head and a knowledge of the heart, and contemporary science focuses entirely on the former while ignoring the latter. The knowledge of the head is made of individual pieces connected together and built up gradually by purely rational means but the knowledge of the heart is direct perception. And, while the first means that the knower and his knowledge are always separate, in the knowledge of the heart they are one. The knower is his knowledge and vice versa. Our contemporary science needs to discover or rediscover this truth and realise that true knowledge, the knowledge of inner realities, can only come from the heart. That is not to dismiss outer knowledge but simply to point out that it is outer, and that the head can have knowledge but it can never know truth.
Thus we can say that science is a noble pursuit when practiced with the idea that behind physics there is metaphysics, but when practiced without that vision, or the clear understanding that the natural world is but the outward manifestation of a greater spiritual reality, it will not lead to the more abundant life but only death.
Let me leave the last word to the Masters. "Reason less and accept more. It is not necessary to chase after the many mysteries of existence. Live simply in the heart and all mysteries will in time become known to you. Do not be as those who seek to penetrate to every corner of the universe but do not know themselves." This is advice scientists would do well to consider.