Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Being a Christian, Being a Scientist, Being Wholly Human

By Beyond Thought we mean beyond dualistic thinking; beyond those either-or choices we’re so often expected to make in life. Like the great Science: Religion debate, for example.

Thus, when I hear someone ask how they can reconcile being a Christian with being a scientist, I’m puzzled. I’ve always been a Christian (my parents were both active with my local church whilst I was growing up) and always been a scientist (since studying Maths, Physics and Chemistry A-levels) and never had a problem being both together. So how have a managed to do this whilst others seems to suffer agonies over the supposed dichotomy of conflicting world-views?

Well, that’s the first point: since reflecting on such things consciously I’ve been willing to acknowledge dichotomy, embrace a paradox and rise above (apparent) contradictions. Science and Christianity (or any religion) are merely (to me) two perspectives on what we call reality. Neither is right nor wrong, good nor bad, better nor worse: they’re just different! It’s looking being either side of a window: we can be inside looking out or outside looking it. Two very different views through the same window.

Being a scientist, to me, is about exploring my reality, making sense of the world and my place in it through rational enquiry . . . by asking question. By understanding things better I improve my relationships with life  . . . I become more whole, more conscious. As science expands itself to embrace quantum physics and consciousness, this journey become even more fascinating and rewarding!
Being a Christian has two facets for me: being a Christian within a community is about practicing rather than preaching. To love your neighbour  . . . and love your enemy. And being a Christian on a personal journey is about developing my Christ-consciousness: become more whole and complete through improving my relationship with God, with life.

So, to me, both paths are about creatively growing towards greater consciousness.  As I pursue them, with conviction, willingness and openness to deeper understanding and revelation, they meet each other. I’ve found that both paths amount to a common path towards finding ourselves and being a whole, fulfilled, human-being at peace with themselves and the world. That journey might take all of our lives, it may involve embracing paradoxes, but isn’t that why we’re here?

May your reflections be enlightened!


PS This particular image of a view through a window was taken around Nov 5th some years ago. Fireworks can be enjoyable and instil a sense of wonder or a very scary experience. It all depends on your perspective . . .

PPS Some readers might be surprised to see this article from me, since I rarely, explicitly, describe myself as Christian, and am just as likely to be writing or speaking about Buddhism or Taoism. But I was confirmed into the Church of England as teenager. And I have no problem relating constructively to any other (constructive!) philosophy, religion or approach to life . . .

Monday, April 3, 2017

The One Spirit of Brexit

How can we best stay positive and hopeful during the next 2 years (and perhaps longer) during the Brexit process? How can we all, each and every one us, play our part in smoothing the process and bringing about the best result for everyone: Brits and fellow Europeans alike?

Because isn’t that part of the reason the vote for Brexit went the way it did: that so many individuals felt excluded from the EU and related political and bureaucratic decisions and benefits? If we want a better, stronger, Britain as a result, such factors have to be taken into account!

And, underlying the practices and projects, the mechanisms and debate, what is it that matters most here?

This song, to me, sums it up.

Amongst my very good friends are Polish, French and Greek (well, Greek-Australia, actually: which further makes my point!). I’ve lived in England, Wales and Portugal, worked closely with Scandinavians, Germans, Irish, Belgians and Italians. I’ve had wonderful holidays, for example, in Croatia and Spain. I’m proud to be English but am very much a European . . . and that won’t change one iota during and after Brexit.

Why? Because in all my relationships with my fellow Europeans, I’ve enjoyed our differences (e.g. in exploring the wide-ranging cuisine of our continent) and, at the same time, connected with them as fellow human-beings.

Brexit will succeed because of the British Spirit, a One Spirit of Friendship to those we live amongst and work alongside . . . particularly in times of uncertainty.

Brexit will succeed because of the human spirit: our underlying need to belong and engage with each other: the One Spirit of Co-operation.

Listen to, and preferably sing along with this song . . . (or audio version here)

The family of Man keeps sowing
The seeds of a new life every day

What sort of seeds are you sowing, every day?

Let us each, in our own way, endeavour to sow seeds of friendship, by smiling, by actively listening.

Let us each, at every chance we get, sow seeds of co-operation by being willing to open our minds to perspectives different from our own.

Let us each, day by day, live in the One Spirit that is Human love for fellow-man and for our wonderful home planet.