Can science and religion play nicely together? Can science and religion co-habitate peacefully inside one human head? Sounds like an interesting scientific experiment. Good thing we have a test subject handy. Our mission here at the Faitheism Project is to ask one simple question: what is YOUR spiritual journey? In today’s podcast, author, engineer and pastor Walter Alan Ray talks to us about his spiritual journey from agnosticism to faith.
How do we know what we know? How do we describe what we know so others can know it too?
Faith accepts divine revelation to inform believers how the world works. Science demands data to explain it. But, even science will allow that past a certain point, it can’t explain. On old maps, they used to write — where the map (and the cartographer’s knowledge) ended — “Beyond here, there be dragons!” Science has a name for that dragon: “We don’t know yet”. The Abrahamic religions call it “God’s Unknowableness”. Math, really, is an international language that we use to describe the physical world.
Ancient hunter-gatherer cultures had little use for math. They could literally see everything important to them in the world. The invention of cities probably sped up the need to invent a way to describe “numbers of scale”. Feeding five people is simple. Feeding a hundred and five isn’t. That takes a little calculation — better invent it so you can do it. But, even using symbols to represent numbers — as the Romans did — can have limitations. Ever try doing multiplication with Roman numerals? Good thing Arab thinkers invented what became our numbering system so we could do simple “basic math” things like follow a recipe or do a household budget. And, it’s a good thing too that Isaac Newton — realizing the limitations of basic math — invented Calculus so we could figure out how our solar system and the whole universe works.
Or — seen another way — was math “always there”? Did God “reveal” calculus to Newton just as he had revealed “lesser math” to us lesser humans before? Before this gets too complicated (bloody math!), let’s turn to Walter to help us slay this dragon!
Or – if you’d prefer to watch…
NOTES AND SOURCES
To purchase Walter’s book — “Is God Unnessary?” follow the link!