The Four Apostles of the Apocalypse
This is just a cycle, you know.
I find it interesting that when people study science and religion, philosophy and psychology, they study the angle that makes them comfortable and reject the rest of the spectrum.
Take for example, your die-hard scientific atheist. Everyone knows at least one of these people. Everything they think they believe is packaged in a scientific paper somewhere, and what they can't explain, they annihilate with speculation. And they're not wrong, right? You can't really fault them for all that logic.
Then you have religious philosophers. A lot of us spend some time here. We're raised within the paradigm of a story, one we are asked to accept so that we can save ourselves from an eternity in hell. Oddly enough, two religious philosophers who worship the same deity and place their salvation in the same Messiah can have extremely, radically different views on how to live out your life so that your spot in Heaven is secure.
Then you have scientific psychologists, people who can relate any behavior to a biological function that operates alongside, if not against, your religiously perceived "free will". Is being gay a choice, or is a person born that way? These psychologists make a pretty good argument for biology, but if you put them in a room with the die-hard scientists from above it would be interesting to hear how or why human DNA would allow for this psychology to exist being that it is in clear contraindication of the scientific primordial instincts that insure a survival of our species. Which further begs the question, has our DNA altered since we've advanced to the point that we can create children in platonic relationships and there's no real scientific reason for men and women to be attracted to each other anymore?
So while those two are arguing, in walks the religious psychologist. Now it's a party.
Quoting from Leviticus, this guy says, "It's in the Bible. Right here. No dudes with dudes. Or animals, by the way. Don't be gross." And he's got a point, but the scientist and the psychologist have already dismissed the Bible as weird history at best and damaging cult doctrine at worst. Yet, you can't gloss over the fact that the topic in debate is clearly something that was worth addressing more than two thousand years ago. Why is that? The problem is, though, that this religious psychologist tells the other two that you have to accept the Bible wholeheartedly or decline it entirely, as it is the infallible Word of God. If you want a relationship with God, you're not really allowed to question him. There's no room for science, here.
The two extreme-science-spectrum people are laughing at the extreme-religious-spectrum psychologist when the religious philosopher walks in. To people who probably consider themselves highly educated, the the extreme-spectrum religious philosopher sounds like a kook. He nods and agrees with everything the religious psychologists says, reiterating the tragedy of damnation and adding to the fire- it wasn't flawed psychology that made you do it, it was Satan. He's got your number, and the better you try to be, the more he's gonna be dialing it. Don't you pick up that phone! His faith is so alarmingly in-your-face that it's hard to believe he actually believes what he's saying himself. But faith like that is attractive. Faith like that can make you believe that he knows something you don't, and has something you don't have, and now you want it too.
In my example, it's clear to anyone who's been to Sunday school a time or two that the snap judgement, if you asked, would be that the extreme-science people are going straight to hell and the extreme religious people have their tickets to heaven tucked safely in their Bibles.
What if- and I'm just spitballing here...
What if we cared less about being right?
What if we cared less about changing someones mind and more about seeing someone else's point of view as a way to enrich our own?
What if we admitted that science changes with discovery?
What if we admit that we don't know how to make sense of every word in the Bible, but we do know that Christ showed us what it means love one another?
What if we admitted that we think differently, but different doesn't equate to wrong?
Let's bring these four extremists forward. Scientists knew a pandemic was coming, and religion is pointing to prophesy and a rampant bought of evil. For fun we can add in conspiracy theorists who link our current global situation to a political ruse, because why not?
The more I learn about science and psychology and philosophy and religion, the more I pity the human race. We are all very, very quick to accept information that makes us comfortable and reject any possibilities that challenge the status quo between our ears. We will look for people who are like us instead of seeking out people who scare us with their beliefs. We listen to others so that we can form a response, not because we want to understand them. We internalize information as credible solely because we are afraid, or unwilling, to question the source.
We accept a God who created beings that live and die by cycles. Our creation is quite literally a replication of cells using information we don't really understand all that well, and from the moment we take our first breath to the moment we breathe our last, we are living in cycles. One day is a cycle. One year is a cycle. Digestion is a cycle. Sleep is a cycle. From the smallest pieces of us that we can identify to the vastness of the universe, everything works in cycles. There is a beginning, a purpose, and a death. Death, in our minds and paradigms, is a finale- even though in every cycle we can objectively witness, what looks like death is really a transformation into the next cycl
When religious people talk about eternity, I think they think that word means forever. But if you ask a fruit fly how long a human lives, you might get a different perspective. Native American Shaman believe that we are infinite beings having an eternal experience; it's so hard to wrap our minds around what this means, but if you've ever met a true 'old soul', maybe you kind of know.
Science works to identify and quantify the cycles of our lives.
Psychology works to help us, our "ego", understand the cycles of our lives.
Philosophy gives our soul a "why".
Religion provides a way to get through the scary parts of a cycle. It's why we celebrate births, cry at funerals, and try our best to live a life in a way that secures us what we believe we've been promised in our next "cycle".
I think they way you approach these four things is the fabric from which faith is made.