Is Spirituality Anti-Science?

Originally Published July 12, 2013

“Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but to that which we know about nature.”

 

–St. Augustine

“Science and Religion”–a headline that implies opposition and contradiction.  The media, and perhaps people as well, speak of these two camps or schools of thought as though they are irreconcilable.

Are they?  At a glance and from our limited perspective, it can certainly seem so.

For the most part, modern (western) humans have put their faith (interesting choice of words…) in science as the decider of truth and reality.  Religion and spirituality, on the other hand, look to other sources such as individual, first-hand experience (sometimes of scientifically inexplicable phenomena), certain spiritual teachers, and ancient written works.

Spirituality often portrays truths that don’t fit into our current science-discovered laws of nature and belief systems.  Strictly speaking, science does not believe in God or the existence of life after death, two of the biggest teachings of spirituality and religion.  If you are a strict, hard-core “scientist,” life after death is a contradiction in terms.

Despite this, my answer to the question posed in the title of this post is No.

My reason is contained in the above quote by the founder of Pranic Healing, Master Choa Kok Sui.  What he is saying is that we don’t know everything about nature.

Scientists will individually say we don’t know everything, but science overall portrays itself as having all the fundamentals figured out.  It definitely portrays itself to be the only way to decide if something is true and valid or not.  Most people agree that the scientific method and scientific instruments are the only legitimate way to determine the existence  of anything, the laws of nature, what is real, etc.

A few hundred years ago, we had no reliable way to test the legitimacy of ideas.  We were at the mercy of superstition, ancient tradition passed on (most likely with errors of interpretation),  political leaders, and anyone else in power.  We desperately needed SOME semblance of objectivity and common basis of truth or facts to work from.

The scientific method and development of simple laws of nature provided this for us and gave us a framework to work with.  It made it possible, or at least easier, to look at and explain the world in some kind of grounded, logical, and stable way.

It was a huge step forward in our development.  It also allowed for the conveniences, entertainment, and life-saving advances we enjoy today.

Our enthusiasm over our successes in the physical world, however, has turned into a distorted view of our knowledge and abilities.

As Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch says, “The first sign of a primitive culture is that it thinks itself advanced.”

Our scientific discoveries, including technology, are certainly impressive.  We are proud of our accomplishments, as we should be.  But to think we have all the answers is not only silly but, naturally, prevents us from learning all we could.  How much can we learn if we think we pretty much have it all figured out?

Science tells us to throw out anything that it can’t prove to us, implying that anything true or legitimate is provable by science right now.  We had the exact same level, if not more, of self-assuredness when we thought the sun revolved around the earth, or that washing our hands before surgery was a waste of time.

Phenomena we can’t explain gets thrown into the category of mystical or spiritual.  Then it is frequently laughed at or described as a delusion.  Yet it is not any less scientific an occurrence simply because it fits outside our current paradigms.  Such a situation should thrill us to learn about how it happened, but instead we get uncomfortable so ignore them instead.

Is it really so far-fetched to think that things happen that current science cannot measure and explain?

If we instead accept that so-called spiritual/mystical phenomena are just regular occurrences we don’t understand the mechanism behind, then spirituality is not anti-science in the least.

Ever hear of those accounts of people leaving their bodies in the operation room?  They were unconscious, either under anesthesia or even pronounced dead.  They later relay conversations they heard, numbers on charts and monitors they couldn’t otherwise have possibly seen.  And still, still, we say, “Oh!  They imagined it.”  We sometimes have trouble with truth even when it is staring us in the face.  Isn’t that funny?

Excitement about mystery, the unknown, and the infinite possibilities out there should not just be experiences and attitudes for children.  We grown-ups could discover and enjoy so very much more with a simple open mind and curiosity, rather than strict adherence to a certain set of principles laid down by the so-called experts.

Energy healing is, of course, a perfect example.  Certain people will say that since science says it’s impossible to heal someone you aren’t physically touching, many won’t even go near it.  Well, I for one am not patient enough to wait for the scientific method!  I agree with the Pranic Healing principle mentioned in every class:  Evaluate with an open but discerning mind, experiment, and make your own conclusion!  Ultimately, be open to new ideas but use your head.  Don’t be closed off to trying new things or you will miss out!  And I will add:  Trust yourself and go with your gut, don’t give all the authority to others, despite impressive credentials, but consider all relevant facts and opinions.

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