I have stated several times that whether or not my experiences of God can be explained by science is not important to me. As a scientist, however, I continue to find this statement alone a little too dismissive for comfort, leaving me with unaddressed doubt.As a side note, in my struggles, I have observed that the times I experience the strongest doubt are the times when I have become too wrapped up in my thoughts and have forgotten my experiences, and have forgotten to listen. I have also found that when a scientific explanation for something sends me into a world of doubt, it reveals to me ways that I think about God – ways that may be either distractions from, or analogies for my true, real experiences. It challenges me to face those areas of doubt, and to maintain my integrity in the face of insecurity.
Here is my latest thought:
Science continues to progress into the realm of brain function. Say that one day science explains the human sense of God as a series of neurons firing in some particular area of the brain, and then goes as far as stating that this was an evolved adaptation – that the reason we have this sensation is because it was evolutionarily advantageous. Science has just given an explanation for my experiences of God. I say: So what? This explanation does not challenge the reality of my experiences – I still have them, they still have meaning – nor does it address the existence of God.
Along the same lines, some researchers are working on describing emotions as various neuron-firings in certain parts of the brain. This does not invalidate our emotions – they are still real experiences, and still have meaning.
A scientific explanation of something does not invalidate experience. My sense of God is an experiential one. Science cannot invalidate my experiences of God, and my experiences of God cannot invalidate science, and in this way science and God are not incompatible.
There are a great many ideas (my own and others) that I have encountered in the process of figuring this out, but I do not feel the need to dive into those ideas here right now, as fascinating as some of them are. Perhaps on another day, in another post, should they choose to arise.
Love and Light,