19 February, 2007

Guest Post: Science and God

Note: A guest post by Charmaine. Hope you like it... she'd like to have feedback for sure. :-)

Picture this: a world where most beliefs, even fundamental ones, are transient, uncertain, might be disproved in a matter of days. That’s what a pure science world would be like for me. That’s why I believe in blind faith in God – it’s something to believe in without question. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some kind of fanatic. I don’t believe in ID, I haven’t read the bible since I left my Catholic Primary School and I’m not in the habit of praying for God to give me what I want (I do pray – I just pray for the strength to get it myself). I don’t even think he/she/it could, or would, give me what I asked for even if I did pray for divine intervention.

But don’t take my blind faith that there is a God as some sort of affirmation that I have such strong faith in the Catholic Church (to which I frankly just pay ‘lip service’), half the stuff I ‘should’ do I just… don’t. The rules I live by daily have nothing to do with my belief in science (which I adore) or religion. In daily life I believe in being nice to people regardless of what they themselves believe (what they do, however, is a different matter. Even I can’t abide intolerance, prejudice, discrimination (the bad kind) and just plain meanness). I believe in being nice because being nice makes the world just that little bit nicer.

By “nice” I don’t mean some ridiculously extravagant gesture. I mean smile, be pleasant, helpful, don’t say anything overly mean (unless provoked, of course), give to charity if you can, show your friends and family you love them just coz you can. It’s sort of intuitive and people should be doing it anyway. I mean if it’s likely to be hurtful or destructive don’t do it and if it’s likely to be helpful and constructive do it. Even a little gesture can cheer someone up immensely J (That’s not to say things won’t get tricky, of course they will. And I’m not a saint; I have been known to be quite a bitch if I’m stressed. All I’m saying is you should at least try to be as nice as humanly possible and do what’s right as often as humanly possible)

Anyway, back to science – believe I mentioned I adore it – you may be curious as to how someone, who supposedly loves science, could be so blatantly unscientific as to blindly believe in God without tangible proof of his/her/its existence. The answer is simple – and no, it’s not ID, the beauty of nature or the miracle of birth – it’s just that I keep both beliefs completely separate. I don’t apply science to God and I don’t apply God to science. To do so I’d have to, for lack of a better analogy, mix proverbial oil and water (without a surfactant and we all know that just doesn’t work… God! I’m such a nerd!). Because if you did mix God and science you’d have to make certain concessions, and that’s, like, a totally unfair betrayal of both beliefs. Both science and God should be believed wholeheartedly, without question (well, you should ask questions if you’re a scientist. I mean the scientific method when I say “science”). You can’t say “I believe in God if science says it’s ok” or “I believe in science given that it’s supporting a ‘reasonable’ God related theory” because if you really think about it you really don’t believe at all if you do. A fundamental part of believing in any deity is complete faith that he/she/it exists even when there is an apparent lack of evidence and even the most slack 7th grade science student knows that things have to be proved with repeatable, controlled tests (i.e. Evidence).

But I’m not saying all this to sell God, science, or any kind of belief system (no moral code, no meaning of life – sorry, I may be 18 but I don’t know everythingJ). I’m saying this because ultimately it doesn’t matter what I or what anyone else believes (although I do think people should have something to believe in.). What matters is what people actually do. So frankly I don’t care if you think I’m a bit of a ditz after reading that. But please don’t say it. All I want is for you to just be… nice.

Ps. if it’s further incentive to be nice, let me just say that being nice to mean people makes them feel childish and small. It’s actually quite fun to annoy people with your positive attitude J


  1. That is a great message, Charmaine. "Be nice".

    I rather think there should be a system of morals not based on any religious book, not proclaimed as the "word of God", and followed by millions. Maybe Buddhism comes closest to this. But, for normal people, "be nice" is a good enough guide.

    Science and God can't be mixed, I think. They're just too different in their systems. God cannot, by definition, be subject to the scientific method.

    Cool essay, Charmaine. Keep writing ;-).

  2. I had to chuckle at "I may be 18, but I don't know everything". This is exceptional indeed!

    Loved the post. There is indeed nothing illogical about believing in a deity and adhering to the scientific method, as they are not in the same realm. It is people who can't grasp this concept of another realm that are so adamant about either insisting on proving God, or declaring religion invalid because you can't prove existence of God scientifically.

    I also liked how you tentatively discern between believing in religion and believing in God, which are indeed two completely different things. Religions are man made, God, by definition, is not. To believe in a religion is a bit of an odd concept to me, and the word "believe" in this sense is of a different connotation than the belief one can have in a deity. It is more like believing in a Government or a person; when you say "I believe in this Government/this person" it is in the sense that you think the entity is capable of managing something, whereas when you say "I believe in God", "believe" is in the sense of thinking God exists, rather than not.

    As to being nice, yeah! wouldn't it be nice if people were just nicer... Yet being nice isn't always the most helpful, I think. There really are situations where not being nice is most effective to ensure the good of the people in the world on the longer term (this also applies for a smaller scale than the entire population). But in general I completely agree that often people fail to be nice when there would hardly be any effort involved and it would be very rewarding for them, and it would make such a difference.
    Had to smirk at your last comment too... indeed, that TOO is a reward, although the motives aren't that exalting, lol we're still only humans after all.

  3. I have said this before in one of the earlier posts, that I don't really care about questions about existence of God. As Charmaine said, being congenial is probably the best way to go about, though I am quite mean and rude to many people; and yes, I derive immense pleasure from behaving that way...

  4. Awww, thanks! Aren't you guys sweet!

    Saskia, about my last comment, it's true! Getting mad ruins your day and/or gives people the satisfaction of knowing they got to you. Being nice not only gives you a perverse pleasure but makes the rest of your day better coz you're not walking around in a royal snit :)(it makes the day better for the people you come across during the day too - so it's not totally selfish :P)

  5. nice. i was especially interested in what you said about keeping your faith and your science separate.

    i remember how when i was a kid i used to attend sunday school and then argue with my teacher in science calss (at school) about evolution and genesis story. after understanding that slaps to the face from the teacher, i realised it's better indeed to separate faith from science.

  6. You're kind of sitting on the fence aren't you? But I like the attitude. It's like Stephen Jay Gould's NOMA theory.

    Personally, I think God is an illusion created by humans, but I like to remain in the illusion because it keeps me happy. Silly, i know. But it works for me.

  7. Fence sitting? I never thought about it like that.

    "I like to remain in the illusion because it keeps me happy"

    Yeah! That's sorta like me. Having something to just believe in and hold onto makes me feel... happy and safe. It's like a security blanket :)