Saturday, January 11, 2014

A new hero.

Sometimes I take things for granted. All the time, really. One thing I take for granted is the open door of secular knowledge while holding tight to my faith. I belong to a church that embraces both scientific truth and scriptural truth, for which I am becoming very grateful.

Of fascinating mention, I was reading about the scientific development and came across this quote by William Bernstein:

"When we look at the [facts] it becomes crystal clear that something happened... in the early nineteenth century. Before then, the rate of improvement in the lot of mankind was small and stuttering, and after, substantial and steady... Until approximately 1820, per capita world economic growth- the single best way of measuring human material progress- registered near zero...Then, not long after 1820, prosperity began flowing in an ever-increasing torrent; with each successive generation, the life of the son became observably more comfortable, informed, and predictable that that of the father."

Of personal interest to me, filling me with a great level of happiness, is the record of a divine manifestation of Heavenly personages to a farm boy in New York which preceded the the formation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which manifestation happened in the year 1820.

I believe that the Heavens were opened and inspiration from a loving Father began to be poured out upon the Earth for anyone who was seeking truth of any kind.

You know, religious people sometimes fear science. But if the goal is truth then why should we be afraid of truth seeking?

I just have to share this video because the imagery is awe-inspiring and the doctrines are thought-provoking:

So I've been reading up on Henry Eyring, the scientist who wrote the "absolute rate theory" and was a champion for the compatibility of scientific truth and spirituality. When other religious leaders of his time were advocating literal interpretation of the biblical creation story he stood boldly and kindly for the merit of discovery. I did not realize that his influence extended into my life a few years ago as I explored my developing belief in evolution as God's chosen method for creation. I am grateful to be the beneficiary of his work in both Chemistry and religion. I'll close up this post with a few of his thoughts that spoke to me. Maybe they'll speak to you, too.

"I am now going to venture to say that science has rendered a service to religion. The scientific spirit is the spirit of inquiry, a spirit of reaching out for truth. In the final analysis, this spirit is likewise of the essence of religion... I should like to say that true religion was never a narrow thing. True religion concerns man and the entire universe in which he lives. It concerns his relationships with himself and his fellow men, with his environment, and with his Creator... "

"There are some people who throw away the scriptures and restrict themselves to science and related fields. Others use the scriptures to the exclusion of other truth. Both are wrong. Latter-day Saints should seek after truth by all avenues with earnest humility. There is, of course, no conflict in the gospel since it embraces all truth. Undoubtedly, however, science is continually challenging us to think through again our conceptions of the gospel. This should go both ways, of course."

"The assumption that because a man understands something about the operation of the Universe he will necessarily be less faithful is a gratuitous assumption, contradicted by numberless examples. God, who understands all about the Universe, is apparently not troubled by this knowledge.

"Some people drift when they study, but some people drift when they do not study. If the Church espouses the cause of ignorance it will alienate more people than if it advises men to seek after the truth, even at some risk."

"It is interesting to recall that, in ages past, religious men felt that their faith hinged on the notion that the earth was flat. However, when it was found to be round, they discovered that their basic religious ideas had survived without perceptible damage. In fact, the greater underlying principles of faith were brought into bolder relief when the clutter of false notions was removed from about them."


Maryn said...

I took both BIO 100 and Astronomy this last semester at BYU and I loved that my understanding of the creation was expanded in both secular and spiritual ways. I also went through the temple recently and having that understanding of life and the universe makes endowment sessions that much cooler for me. Huzzah for the gospel and its teachings to synthesize secular and spiritual learning! Love this post :)

Megan Marie said...

How cool! I tried astronomy one semester at BYU-Idaho and I wish I had stayed with it. I am so glad you were able to go through the temple. My kids ask me about the temple and I just can't wait to take them. What a remarkable time to be alive!!!