Pagans Embrace Science
From a Pagan point of view, there's no contradiction between religion and science. Our Goddess is immanent in the earth and the cycles of nature, and the more we understand about the earth, the deeper is our sense of awe and wonder.
In The Spiral Dance, I wrote: "In future or contemporary Goddess religion, a photograph of the earth as seen from space might be our mandala. We might meditate on the structure of the atom as well as icons of ancient Goddesses; and se see the years Jane Goodall spent observing cimpanzees in the light of a spiritual discipline. Physics, mathematics, ecology and biochemistry more and more approach the mystical. New myths can take their concepts and make them numinous, so they infuse our attitudes and actions with wonder at the richness of life." (Starhawk. The Spiral Dance, p.220)
Many religions call us to be humble, which literally means close to the earth. My personal practice includes meditations on the mycorrhizal fungi that intertwine with the roots of plants and extend their reach for water and nutrients. The potions I brew are actively aerated compost tea that fertilize my garden and can break down toxins in soil. And one of the spiritual stories I draw strength from is the story of evolution, the amazing and miraculous account of the earth's birth in fire, of life coming into being and overcoming crisis after crisis with creativity, invention and cooperation. This view of evolution draws heavily from the Gaia theories of James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis, that reveal the importance of cooperation and interdependence in evolution, not just competition. And it's a powerful story of hope for these times of ecological crisis, showing us "...that life by its very nature is a great power of creativity and transformation, a power that will prevail." (Starhawk. The Earth Path, p.48)
We also recognize the limitations of science. The scientific method, of rational investigation, of testing theories and counting only what is observable and measurable, is one important form of human consciousness, but not the only form. Questions of meaning, of the purpose of life and of what happens after death, of values and moral choices, can be informed by science but not necessarily answered by science. Intuition makes leaps that sometimes go beyond the rational. Science can tell us how life evolved; religion considers why. Both disciplines can awaken in us the sense of wonder, love and gratitude that lead us to cherish and protect life.
Posted by: Yvonne | April 3, 2008 10:31 AM
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