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Thread: On Science and Religion

  1. #1

    On Science and Religion

    On Science and Religion



    By St. Luke the Surgeon, Archbishop of Simferopol (1877-1961)


    "When we examine contemporary science as developed by scientists such as Lamark and Darwin, we see the antithesis and I would say the complete disagreement that exists between science and religion, on topics that concern the more basic problems of existence and knowledge. For this, an enlightened mind cannot accept at the same time both one and the other and must choose between religion and science."

    A well known German Zoologist, Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), who was a good follower of Darwin, wrote these words some 65 years ago, in his book, “The Riddle of the Universe” that was very successful and as it seemed, had proved that faith is absurd. So says Haeckel that every enlightened man must choose between science and religion and should follow either one or the other. He considered it necessary that such men should deny religion because a logical man cannot deny science.

    Truly, is this necessary? No, not at all, for we know that many and great scientists were at the same time great believers. For example, such was the Polish astronomer Copernicus who laid the foundation of all contemporary astronomy. Copernicus was not only a believer but was also a cleric. Another great scientist, Newton, whenever he mentioned the word God, he removed his hat. He was a great believer. A great bacteriologist of our time and almost a contemporary, Pasteur, who laid the basis of contemporary bacteriology, he would start every scientific work with a prayer to God. Some ten years ago a great scientist passed away, who was our countryman, physiologist Pavlov, who was the creator of the new physiology of the brain. He too was a great believer. Would Haeckel therefore dare say that these men did not have enlightened minds because they believed in God?

    So what happens now? Why even today there are some scientists, professors at Universities whom I personally know and are great believers. Why don’t all the scientists deny religion but only those who think the same as Haeckel? Because these people believe only in the material and deny the spiritual world, they do not believe in life after death, they do not accept the immortality of the soul and of course they do not accept the resurrection of the dead. They say that science is capable of everything, that there is no secret in nature that science cannot discover. What can we answer to these?

    We shall respond to them this way. You are totally right. We cannot limit the human mind that searches nature. We know that today, science knows only a part of the things we have of nature. We also understand that the possibilities of science are great. In this they are right and we don’t doubt it. What then do we doubt? Why don’t we deny religion like them and consider it contrary to scientific knowledge?

    Because we believe wholeheartedly that there is a spiritual world. We are certain that apart from the material world there is an infinite and incomparably superior spiritual world. We believe in the existence of spiritual beings that have higher intellects than us humans. We believe wholeheartedly that above this spiritual and material world there is the Great and Almighty God.

    What we doubt is the right of science to research with its methods the spiritual world. Because the spiritual world cannot be researched with the methods used to research the material world. Such methods are totally inappropriate to research the spiritual world.

    How do we know that there is a spiritual world? Who told us that it exists? If we are asked by people who do not believe in Divine Revelation, we shall answer them thus: “Our heart tells us." For there are two ways for one to know something, the first being that which is spoken by Haeckel, which is used by science to learn of the material world. There is however another way that is unknown to science, and does not wish to know it. It is the knowledge through the heart. Our heart is not only the central organ of the circulation system, it is an organ with which we know the other world and receive the highest knowledge. It is the organ that gives us the capability to communicate with God and the world above. Only in this we disagree with science.

    Praising the great successes and achievements of science, we do not doubt at all its great importance and we do not confine scientific knowledge. We only tell the scientists: “You do not have the capability with your methods to research the spiritual world, we however can with our heart."

    There are many unexplainable phenomena which concern the spiritual world that are real (as are some type of material phenomena). There are therefore phenomena that science will never be able to explain because it does not use the appropriate methods.

    Let science explain how the prophecies appeared on the coming of the Messiah, which were all fulfilled. Could science tell us how the great prophet Isaiah, some 700 years before the birth of Christ, foretold the most important events in His life and for which he was named the evangelist of the Old Testament? Could it explain the prophetic grace possessed by the saints and tell us with which physical methods the saints inherited this grace and how they could understand the heart and read the thoughts of a person they had just met for the first time? They would see a person for the first time and they will call him by his name. Without waiting for the visitor to ask, they would answer in regards to what troubled him.

    If they can, let them explain it to us. Let them explain with what method the saints foretold the great historical events which were accurately fulfilled as they were prophesied. Let them explain the visitation from the other world and the appearance of the dead to the living.

    They shall never explain it to us because they are too far from the basis of religion - from faith. If you read the books of the scientists who try to reconstruct religion, you will see how superficially they look at things. They do not understand the essence of religion, yet they criticize it. Their criticism does not touch the essence of faith, since they are unable to understand the types and the expressions of religious feeling. The essence of religion they do not understand. Why not? Because the Lord Jesus Christ says: "No one can come to me unless My Father who sent Me draws him to Me" (John 6:44).

    So it is necessary that we be drawn by the Heavenly Father, and it is necessary that the grace of the Holy Spirit enlighten our heart and our mind. To dwell in our heart and mind through this enlightenment, the Holy Spirit and the ones who were found worthy to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, those in whose heart lives Christ and His Father, know the essence of faith. The others, those outside the faith, cannot understand anything.

    Let us hear the criticism against Haeckel from a French philosopher Emile Boutroux (1845-1921). So says Boutroux: “The criticisms of Haeckel concern much more the ways, than the essence, which he observes with such a materialistic and narrow view, that they cannot be accepted by religious people. Thus the criticism of religion by Haeckel is not referred to, not even in one of the principles that constitutes religion."

    This is therefore our opinion regarding Haeckel’s book “The Riddle of the Universe” which up to day is considered the “Bible” for all those who criticize religion, which they deny and find it contrary to science. Do you see how poor and tasteless arguments they use? Don’t become scandalized when you hear what they say about religion, since they themselves cannot understand its essence. You people, who may not have much of a relationship with science and do not know much about philosophy, remember always the most basic beginning, which was well known by the early Christians. They considered poor the person who knew all the sciences yet he knew not God. On the other hand, they considered blessed the person who knew God, even if he knew absolutely nothing about worldly things.

    Guard this truth like the best treasure of the heart, walk straight without looking right or left. Let us not bother with what we hear against religion, losing our bearings. Let us hold on to our faith which is the eternal indisputable truth. Amen.



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    For more on the life of this remarkable 20th century Russian saint of these modern times, click here.
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ



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  3. #2

    Science is Based on Religion

    One of the greatest philosophical truths I've ever learned is that science is founded on religion. In other words, people believe certain things about the universe before they examine the workings of the universe. That is another way of saying that all scientists have assumptions which are unproven by natural science before they use the methods of natural science to understand nature.
    "Diverse weights are an abomination unto the LORD, and a false balance is not good." - Proverbs 20:23

    "Federal Reserve-generated increases in money supply cause economic inequality... By the time the increased money supply trickles down to middle- and working-class Americans, the economy is already beset by inflation. So most average Americans see their standard of living decline as a result of Fed-engendered money supply increases." - Dr. Ron Paul

  4. #3
    Interesting. I can find biographical information about him in Russian, but none of his writings (yet). Do you have any direct links? Thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RPEphesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by theocrat View Post
    one of the greatest philosophical truths i've ever learned is that science is founded on religion. In other words, people believe certain things about the universe before they examine the workings of the universe. That is another way of saying that all scientists have assumptions which are unproven by natural science before they use the methods of natural science to understand nature.
    qft
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    Interesting. I can find biographical information about him in Russian, but none of his writings (yet). Do you have any direct links? Thanks.
    I'll see what I can dig up for my fellow Russophile!
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  7. #6
    Here is the full publication of 'Science and Religion'. (Sorry, HB, its in English, but I'm still looking!)
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  8. #7
    Here is it in Russian!
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  9. #8
    Here is another called "Spirit, Soul, Body" in Russian "О ДУХЕ, ДУШЕ И ТЕЛЕ"
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ



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  11. #9
    oh, here's a good link with Russian audiobooks of "Science and Religion", "Spirit, Soul, Body" and "I loved the pain" which is an autobiographical work of his life.
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by TodaysEpistleReading View Post
    Here is it in Russian!

    Quote Originally Posted by TodaysEpistleReading View Post
    Here is another called "Spirit, Soul, Body" in Russian "О ДУХЕ, ДУШЕ И ТЕЛЕ"
    Quote Originally Posted by TodaysEpistleReading View Post
    oh, here's a good link with Russian audiobooks of "Science and Religion", "Spirit, Soul, Body" and "I loved the pain" which is an autobiographical work of his life.
    ХОРОШО! Молодец! Большой спасибо! Bookmarked for future reference.
    Last edited by heavenlyboy34; 06-06-2011 at 06:57 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RPEphesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post




    ХОРОШО! Молодец! Большой спасибо! Bookmarked for future reference.
    с удовольствием!
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  14. #12
    For anyone interested:


    View of nature

    Orthodox theology has a positive attitude towards the natural world as a good creation of a good God. Nature is never worshiped; it is God-creator who is worshiped through creation. The Fathers of the Church loved nature, but were never captured by the imagery of nature, which could prevent them from having a spiritual life in God. Thus nature was never considered an end in itself; its meaning and purpose can only be revealed in the perspective of Christ who, through the incarnation, recapitulated nature. The Fathers saw nature in the perspective of the hierarchy of the orders of creation, which proceeds from the natural law established by God. This "platonic" approach to nature could not provide any methodology of its investigation. The attitude to nature was speculative; it was interpreted in terms of laws that govern nature, but not their particular outcomes, which are displayed in a variety of phenomena. Nature, however, was never excluded from the general view of communion with God, so that the theology of the Greek Fathers was cosmic in its essence. Maximus the Confessor (c. 580-662) articulated that it is through communion with the Logos (Word) of God in Scriptures, through contemplation of the underlying principles of creation in nature, and in sacramental communion with Christ in Church that the fullness of communion can be achieved. Nature itself as the medium through which and by which communion with God can be established is seen as sacrament. Human being as microcosm and mediator participates in the cosmic Eucharist, which aims to renew and redeem the material world. Science then is treated as a tool to articulate the world in terms of its relationship with God.

    Interaction with the sciences

    In the first centuries of Christianity, the attitude to the sciences was established in the context of its encounter with classical Hellenistic culture. Since Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–215), philosophy and the sciences were considered human activities cooperating in ultimate truth, as useful tools in order to defend faith and make it demonstrable, and important for Christian education. The Greek Fathers asserted that scientific knowledge is incomplete in itself and must be supported by wider views of reality, which are accessible through faith. Knowledge and the sciences thus have their foundation in faith. Carried out through the centuries this attitude to science did not change, excluding any open conflicts between science and theology, with one exception—the seventy years of "scientific atheism" in Soviet Russia.

    There is a perception among leading modern Orthodox theologians that science cannot be excluded from the theological vision of God and creation. The task of Orthodox theology is to reconcile the cosmic vision of the Fathers with the vision that grows out of the results of natural science. The split between science and religion can be overcome on the grounds of their reinstatement to communion with God. Scientific work can be interpreted as "para-eucharistic" work ( John Zizioulas). Scientific progress must be taken into account only in the context of the progress of human spirit and the deepening of human experience of the reality of the divine, which cannot be reduced to a physical or chemical level (Dumitru Staniloae). New conceptual tools for mediation between religion and science must be developed. The most important and urgent problems in the science-religion dialogue are not cosmological (e.g., creation of the universe) or philosophical (e.g., the meaning of evolution), but ecological and bioethical.

    The Orthodox Church understands the modern ecological crisis either in terms of the misuse of science or utopian reliance on the power of progress. The Church consequently treats the crisis as essentially anthropological and spiritual. The message of the Church is to be cautious with scientific discoveries and technologies because they are handled by spiritually disorientated human beings, who have lost their roots in the divine. The loss of vision of the unity of the whole creation and human priestly responsibility for nature leads to abuse and degradation of the natural world, which threatens the very existence of humankind. It is in the context of love for nature, inner vigilance and chastity towards nature, and self-restraint in the consumption of natural resources that scientific activity can acquire some "eucharistic" features and nature can become reinstated to its sacramental status.

    The Orthodox Church is deeply concerned with the possible moral and social implications of the fast advance of biology and medical science in terms of control and regulation of human life. For Orthodox Christians, life is the gift of God, who creates and preserves human personality. When biology and medicine interfere with human existence on the natural level, and threaten human integrity and personality, Orthodox theology opposes this on moral and social grounds. For example, the official position of the Church, expressed by the Council of Bishops of the Russian Church in 2001, with respect to cloning human beings is strongly negative on social grounds (the "printing" of people with specified parameters can appear welcome to adherents of totalitarian ideologies), as well as personal grounds (a clone can feel like an independent person, but it is only a "copy" of someone who lives or lived before). However, the cloning of isolated cells and tissues does not threaten the personality and can be helpful in medical practice. Genetic engineering is admissible with the consent of the patient in the case of some hereditary diseases, but the genetic therapy of germ cells is considered dangerous because it involves a change of the genome in the line of generations, which can lead to mutations and can destabilize the balance between the human community and the environment.

    Last edited by TER; 06-08-2011 at 01:04 PM.
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Theocrat View Post
    One of the greatest philosophical truths I've ever learned is that science is founded on religion. In other words, people believe certain things about the universe before they examine the workings of the universe. That is another way of saying that all scientists have assumptions which are unproven by natural science before they use the methods of natural science to understand nature.
    It seems strange that a theist would use "religion" as an apparent perjorative label.

  16. #14
    Religion is what directly caused science to exist, without religion there most likely wouldn't be any such thing as science as any historian knows. You don't need science or the scientific method for basic survival, so without religion there's no real reason to have science. Seeking truth and understanding the universe are religious ideas that directly caused science to exist. The first Universities were all religious institutions, the monks and nuns were the ones who preserved writings that otherwise would've been lost, and the Church is what linked Greek philosophy together, which is what caused natural philosophy or science to exist.

    The liberal atheist media seems to hide these historical facts just like how they try to hide the fact that a Catholic Priest named Georges Lemaitre invented the Big Bang theory.

    No Religion = No Science
    Last edited by itsnobody; 06-10-2011 at 03:42 AM.
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  17. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by austin944 View Post
    It seems strange that a theist would use "religion" as an apparent perjorative label.
    I don't get the sense that Theo means it as a pejorative. He's just describing it from his worldview's POV. It's not an unreasonable position, either, IMO.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RPEphesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

  18. #16
    Well said. The term 'religion' is a very generic expression to a person's worldview. To the Christian, for example, their faith is not a 'religion', it is the revelation of God, and as such, is truth and life, the Logos and Reason of God and of our essence and existence. In relation to this particular thread, science is simply a revelation of the Wisdom of God. It is part of humankind's reasonable knowledge of God, whereby His works are evident and experiential. It is a path of greater knowledge of the nature of God in His energies which permeate and sustain the entire cosmos. How one can sit on a mountaintop or gaze into the beauty of the far away galaxies, and not see the work of God in this dumbfounds me. Instead, terms like Mother Nature, or 'Science', or anything else other than God are used and astonishingly, terms like 'random chance' and mere 'biochemical molecular reactions' are used to describe the origins and the totality of my love for my family or my friends or someone who suffers needlessly.

    Science is what brought me closer to God and made me seek Him greater. I pray all people do the same. Not so that they can join 'my religion', but so that they might surpass me who am a sinner and see Him as He is.
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ



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  20. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Theocrat View Post
    One of the greatest philosophical truths I've ever learned is that science is founded on religion. In other words, people believe certain things about the universe before they examine the workings of the universe. That is another way of saying that all scientists have assumptions which are unproven by natural science before they use the methods of natural science to understand nature.
    Exactly. Theology is the ruling discipline. What you believe about theology comes before what you believe about science...in fact, it governs what you believe about science.

    This is why I completely disagree with Aquinas when he attempted to synthesize reason and revelation, nature and God (which the OP alludes to). Augustine was right. There is no synthesizing revelation with reason. There is no autonomous entity called "reason" that is outside of God's sovereignty. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I stand with the Reformers and reject all atheistic science. Revelation comes before reason....or as Augustine said "I have faith in order to understand".

  21. #18
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  22. #19
    On the other hand, the faithful ones of God, (the children of God) possess freedom, true freedom, which consists in knowledge of the Truth, that is, of Christ.

    Only with this knowledge do the nuptial doors open, from which the soul beholds the wondrous light of the incorruptible essence of the cosmos. The thoughts of these children of God are good, peaceful, and gladdening. "Become peaceful within yourself", says a certain Saint, "and heaven and earth will become peaceful. Enter into the chamber that is within you, and from there you will behold the palace of heaven."

    The things that exist in the incorruptible heaven that has been revealed by Christ, and at which the soul looks from the mystical chamber that is inside us, are the true things. They are blessed, peaceful isles in the ocean that extends beyond every material constellation and are outside the slavery of space and time.


    -Photios Kontoglou
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  23. #20
    bump for Natural Citizen!
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  24. #21
    Huh. OK. I'll read it. But if I read that then you have to read this... http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthr...ic-Consumption

    It'll make sense down the road.
    Last edited by Natural Citizen; 10-29-2013 at 10:57 PM.

  25. #22
    Спасибо за bump, TER! I'd lost my bookmark of that text a while ago and couldn't find it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RPEphesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

  26. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by TER View Post
    bump for Natural Citizen!
    Will have to think about this, TER. Specifically Science and Religion as opposed to Science versus Religion. Especially since you specifically bumped it to get my attention. You may be aware that this is one of the subjects that I'm personally interested in. I think I've mentioned it before. I've certainly posted plenty of content to solicit extended dialogue. When we place Religion and science into context we almost always do so versus one another. I believe this is a mistake.

    There is such a means for synergy today and it is able to come to fruition. There exists a very narrow window to acheive it though. These are times that come around once every so often. There are specific issues that can serve to act as the point of synergy.

    But, yeah. I'll have to sleep on it. Because you bumped it for me specifically I think it deserves a genuinely thought out answer and one that is specifically relevant to the times and politics of today (was the reason for asking you to read the other thread). Which is something I told myself I'd work on with people after reading over that intj downside thread..which is beside the point, I guess. But not, really.
    Last edited by Natural Citizen; 10-29-2013 at 11:41 PM.

  27. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Natural Citizen View Post
    Will have to think about this, TER. Specifically Science and Religion as opposed to Science versus Religion. Especially since you specifically bumped it to get my attention. You may be aware that this is one of the subjects that I'm personally interested in. I think I've mentioned it before. I've certainly posted plenty of content to solicit extended dialogue. When we place Religion and science into context we almost always do so versus one another. I believe this is a mistake.
    I agree my friend! We should not pit science versus religion or the other way around. For science is the study of the laws of our material nature and religion the study of the laws of our spiritual nature and philosophy the study of the laws of our noetic nature. All three are important and can be fruitful and to the benefit of the human being who as a trinitarian image of God is material, spiritual, and noetic. All three driving forces of human civilization, (which involve the active participation of men) namely religious, philosophical and scientific, have as their directing goal to be the perfection of man. All are useful and to our benefit. All of them.
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ



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  29. #25





    by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

    "Brethren, see to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ."(Colossians 2:8)


    Brethren, do not let philosophy enslave us, which by conjecture, says that there is no eternal life nor resurrection from the dead. For we do not arrive at the Truth through the conjecture of man, but by God's revelation. That which we know about the truth we know from Truth Itself which was revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ and which was communicated to us through the faithful and wise witnesses of the Truth: the apostles and the saints. If we, because of our sins, were to reject these witnesses and accept the conjecture of humans, we will fall into the dark and bitter slavery of nature, of the body, to sin and to death.

    Brethren, let us not be deceived by the empty myths of men, from men and according to men as though another world does not exist or if another world does exist, we, so to speak, do not know anything about it. Behold, we know with confidence that another world does exist. We know this not from conjecturers or deceivers but from the Lord Jesus Himself Who, on Mount Tabor, appeared to His disciples with Moses and Elijah who long ago departed this world and Who Himself, appeared to many of His followers after His death. We also know about this from the apostles, saints and numerous discerners to whom, because of their chastity and sanctity, God revealed the ultimate Truth about the other world. If, because of our sins, we do not believe these holy and the truthful witnesses, we will then have to believe those unholy and false men and we will be slaves to darkness, sin and death.

    Brethren, let us not be led astray by worldly teaching, which examines animals, plants and stones and say it has not found God among these things and, from that, arrogantly attest that there is no God. Behold, we know that the Creator cannot be, as a thing among things, rather He is above all things and different from all things. We know this, as much by spiritual understanding and conscience, as well as by the obvious revelation of the Lord Jesus Himself, Who appeared in the body of a man as the Lord of all created things, as well as through the witness of the apostles, many other saints and discerning men.

    Rather, let us glorify the Lord Jesus resurrected from the dead.
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  30. #26





    by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

    ""What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands, we proclaim now to you.""
    (1 John 1:1)

    Behold, such is the apostolic preaching! The apostles do not speak as worldly sages, nor like philosophers and even less as theoreticians who make suppositions about something in order to discover something. The apostles speak about things which they have not sought but which unexpectedly surrounded them; about the fact which they did not discover but, so to speak, unexpectedly found them and seized them. They did not occupy themselves with spiritual researches nor have they studied psychology, neither did they, much less, occupy themselves with spiritism.

    Their occupation was fishing - one totally experiential physical occupation. While they were fishing, the God-Man [Jesus] appeared to them and cautiously and slowly introduced them to a new vocation in the service of Himself. At first, they did not believe Him but they, still more cautiously and slowly with fear and hesitation and much wavering, came toward Him and recognized Him. Until the apostles saw Him many times with their own eyes and until they discussed Him many times among themselves and, until they felt Him with their own hands, their experienced fact is supernatural but their method of recognizing this fact is thoroughly sensory and positively learned. Not even one contemporary scholar would be able to use a more positive method to know Christ. The apostles saw not only one miracle but numerous miracles. They heard not only one lesson but many lessons which could not be contained in numerous books. They saw the resurrected Lord for forty days; they walked with Him, they conversed with Him, they ate with Him, and they touched Him. In a word: they personally and first handedly had thousands of wondrous facts by which they learned and confirmed one great fact, i.e., that Christ is the God-Man, the Son of the Living God, the Man-loving Savior of mankind and the All-Powerful Judge of the living and the dead.

    O Resurrected Lord, confirm us in the faith and ardor of Your Holy Apostles. Amen.
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  31. #27
    Bump
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    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  32. #28
    Everything that the human race has done and thought is concerned with the satisfaction of deeply felt needs and the assuagement of pain. One has to keep this constantly in mind if one wishes to understand spiritual movements and their development. Feeling and longing are the motive force behind all human endeavor and human creation, in however exalted a guise the latter may present themselves to us. Now what are the feelings and needs that have led men to religious thought and belief in the widest sense of the words? A little consideration will suffice to show us that the most varying emotions preside over the birth of religious thought and experience. With primitive man it is above all fear that evokes religious notions - fear of hunger, wild beasts, sickness, death. Since at this stage of existence understanding of causal connections is usually poorly developed, the human mind creates illusory beings more or less analogous to itself on whose wills and actions these fearful happenings depend. Thus one tries to secure the favor of these beings by carrying out actions and offering sacrifices which, according to the tradition handed down from generation to generation, propitiate them or make them well disposed toward a mortal. In this sense I am speaking of a religion of fear. This, though not created, is in an important degree stabilized by the formation of a special priestly caste which sets itself up as a mediator between the people and the beings they fear, and erects a hegemony on this basis. In many cases a leader or ruler or a privileged class whose position rests on other factors combines priestly functions with its secular authority in order to make the latter more secure; or the political rulers and the priestly caste make common cause in their own interests.

    The social impulses are another source of the crystallization of religion. Fathers and mothers and the leaders of larger human communities are mortal and fallible. The desire for guidance, love, and support prompts men to form the social or moral conception of God. This is the God of Providence, who protects, disposes, rewards, and punishes; the God who, according to the limits of the believer's outlook, loves and cherishes the life of the tribe or of the human race, or even or life itself; the comforter in sorrow and unsatisfied longing; he who preserves the souls of the dead. This is the social or moral conception of God.

    The Jewish scriptures admirably illustrate the development from the religion of fear to moral religion, a development continued in the New Testament. The religions of all civilized peoples, especially the peoples of the Orient, are primarily moral religions. The development from a religion of fear to moral religion is a great step in peoples' lives. And yet, that primitive religions are based entirely on fear and the religions of civilized peoples purely on morality is a prejudice against which we must be on our guard. The truth is that all religions are a varying blend of both types, with this differentiation: that on the higher levels of social life the religion of morality predominates.

    Common to all these types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level. But there is a third stage of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form: I shall call it cosmic religious feeling. It is very difficult to elucidate this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it.

    The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development, e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism, as we have learned especially from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer, contains a much stronger element of this.

    The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another.

    How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another, if it can give rise to no definite notion of a God and no theology? In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.

    We thus arrive at a conception of the relation of science to religion very different from the usual one. When one views the matter historically, one is inclined to look upon science and religion as irreconcilable antagonists, and for a very obvious reason. The man who is thoroughly convinced of the universal operation of the law of causation cannot for a moment entertain the idea of a being who interferes in the course of events - provided, of course, that he takes the hypothesis of causality really seriously. He has no use for the religion of fear and equally little for social or moral religion. A God who rewards and punishes is inconceivable to him for the simple reason that a man's actions are determined by necessity, external and internal, so that in God's eyes he cannot be responsible, any more than an inanimate object is responsible for the motions it undergoes. Science has therefore been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death.

    It is therefore easy to see why the churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees.On the other hand, I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research. Only those who realize the immense efforts and, above all, the devotion without which pioneer work in theoretical science cannot be achieved are able to grasp the strength of the emotion out of which alone such work, remote as it is from the immediate realities of life, can issue. What a deep conviction of the rationality of the universe and what a yearning to understand, were it but a feeble reflection of the mind revealed in this world, Kepler and Newton must have had to enable them to spend years of solitary labor in disentangling the principles of celestial mechanics! Those whose acquaintance with scientific research is derived chiefly from its practical results easily develop a completely false notion of the mentality of the men who, surrounded by a skeptical world, have shown the way to kindred spirits scattered wide through the world and through the centuries. Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men and given them the strength to remain true to their purpose in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength. A contemporary has said, not unjustly, that in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people.
    --Albert Einstein
    Radical in the sense of being in total, root-and-branch opposition to the existing political system and to the State itself. Radical in the sense of having integrated intellectual opposition to the State with a gut hatred of its pervasive and organized system of crime and injustice. Radical in the sense of a deep commitment to the spirit of liberty and anti-statism that integrates reason and emotion, heart and soul. - M. Rothbard

  33. #29
    In January of 1936, a young girl named Phyllis wrote to Albert Einstein on behalf of her Sunday school class, and asked, "Do scientists pray?" Her letter, and Einstein's reply, can be read below.

    (Source: Dear Professor Einstein; Image: Albert Einstein in 1947, via Life.)

    The Riverside Church

    January 19, 1936

    My dear Dr. Einstein,

    We have brought up the question: Do scientists pray? in our Sunday school class. It began by asking whether we could believe in both science and religion. We are writing to scientists and other important men, to try and have our own question answered.

    We will feel greatly honored if you will answer our question: Do scientists pray, and what do they pray for?

    We are in the sixth grade, Miss Ellis's class.

    Respectfully yours,

    Phyllis
    ----------------------

    January 24, 1936

    Dear Phyllis,

    I will attempt to reply to your question as simply as I can. Here is my answer:

    Scientists believe that every occurrence, including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Therefore a scientist cannot be inclined to believe that the course of events can be influenced by prayer, that is, by a supernaturally manifested wish.

    However, we must concede that our actual knowledge of these forces is imperfect, so that in the end the belief in the existence of a final, ultimate spirit rests on a kind of faith. Such belief remains widespread even with the current achievements in science.

    But also, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.

    With cordial greetings,

    your A. Einstein
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  34. #30
    Just ran across this article on a blog and remembered I posted it here some while back. Since it is such an excellent article, just wanted to bump it again in case anyone missed it!
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

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