Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Islam today.

It might serve understanding of current global politics if I say something about my role in it all.

First, there is the matter of my advice to certain bodies of power in the United States, given at some time in the past--perhaps a few years ago. It was a time of great feelings of instability between the motives due to a sense of violation, on the one hand, and the motives of historic compassion among peoples of the Christian faith, on the other. I sensed at that time that the real danger was not in the actual forces at play, but in these feelings of instability. With that sense in my forethoughts, I issued an advisory to certain powers which had been following my work and progress, to the effect that it was my view that those with the responsibility of defining policy at a high level of authority needed to make a decision of whether they would stand as opponents to Islam in an absolute way because of its association with the new global terrorist threats, even though this association did not necessarily justify identifying the one with the other, or, rather than that, taking some other stance. I intended no hint of personal favoratism in such a decision, and I believe none was taken. As a result, certain powers moved quietly toward a more robust position of opposition to all of Islam than had been given serious consideration before my advice was given. I have no position on whether this position of opposition is valid or invalid. I consider it a religious matter and I am not devoted to any religious partisanship so such matters strike far from my most fervent desires.

I have instead of a position on the relationship between Islam and Christianity a position on the relationship between religion and science. It is that, in my view, science yields results which have greater validity than any results of religious endeavor. The sphere of human life, as that of all life, is greater than any religious crystalization of principles can ever gather together. Instead, religious principles are crafted so that the considerations which science takes as necessary, that of proof and consistency, can be safely discounted and belief substituted for them, with what has been historically a fairly good improvement over what went on before any of the religions were conceived. Such a method, that of religion, is suitable for promulgation and reflective consideration of broadly based principles which go beyond what science can currently provide on a more objective basis, and this is helpful. But I would suggest that there is merit in applying what Jesus said, "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. Render unto God what is God's." to science and religion. This would disengage religion from the question of evolution, an incendiary suggestion admittedly, but something which I think Jesus might have found to have great practicality were he living today. It would also tend to allow all religions to stabilize their growth against other developments, including other religions, and take some satisfaction in being allowed some significant credit for their beneficence, while at the same time take some humility to heart in the face of such massive blessings from science that have accompanied the gradual loosening of the hold of religion on the universal scope of mankind's enterprises.

Let this be read as the thought of a deeply modest scientist who formerly engaged one or two religions as an adherent, to one or other degree of faithfulness.