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Spirituality in Science: The Importance of Objectivity and Values

This post is written by Jessica Reynolds, a writer who strives to offer information and resources, including data about scientific posters to students and those interested in the sciences.

Scientific research is a field full of discovery, innovation, and scrutiny. By definition it has to be all of those things, or no advancements would be made. And because scientists are supposed to scrutinize data with an objective eye, they are subject to the same treatment by the outside world. When spirituality comes into play, it is even more important than usual for scientists to remain objective, for they will be under the harsh eyes of the watching world.

There is a lot to be said about the importance of ethics and values when it comes to scientific research. No matter what field is being discussed, it is always important to consider the privacy of subjects and people involved with experiments. If personal information is used, an informed consent form must be signed. Information must be shared according to the facts. Scientists do not have the luxury of letting their personal beliefs shape the results of their work.

This is not to say that spirituality has no place in science. Contrarily, spirituality can often shape how people approach their work. Though the data and findings need to be objective and based on facts, the motivation for research is often based on interests, curiosity, and spiritual beliefs and questions. The way we approach things is also often affected by our spiritual beliefs.

This last point is the very reason that when spirituality is involved, objectivity becomes even more important. If research is related to a spiritual topic, it will come under a heavy amount of scrutiny. Therefore it is important that any personal investment is put aside, and the researcher works that much harder to objectively find the truth. They must explore every explanation and argument and present possibilities and possibilities and facts as facts. If there are inconsistencies, a controversial topic is more likely to be disregarded than explored for its potential.

Some people view science and spirituality as enemies, while others see them as different approaches to the same end; answering the mysteries of the universe. Spirituality can be seen in many ways, but most often deals with a belief in something larger than oneself. Science seeks to explain both the large and small intricacies of the world, by relying on undeniable facts. Science is constantly evolving as we dig deeper and learn more. Many once held theories are now dismissed as ridiculous. Some spiritual beliefs have undergone the same changes in how they are viewed.

Some argue that it is impossible for humanity to be completely objective. After all, the scientific community is slow to accept new theories, often because of a paradigm related bias. When new explanations and theories disprove what we have accepted to be true, we are slow to accept that. This criticism is not bad; rather it ensures that new innovations are explored thoroughly.

The fact that both science and spirituality are under intense scrutiny encourages objectivity and values in scientific research. There will always be dishonesty in any field, but scientists are keenly aware that there will be a sharp eye on their discoveries. By continuing to reward innovative and ethical research, perhaps science, including the spiritual aspect of the human mind, can continue to expand our knowledge.

 

Max McLean Reads the Bible without Anger

I frequently listen to Max McLean, narrator of the Listener’s Bible, on my iPOD, especially at night before going to sleep. McLean does an excellent job of blending vivid expression and theological comprehension to make listening to the Bible interesting and rewarding.

Autumn corn

Last night, I was listening to the Psalms and a picture of clarity popped into life. McLean read from Psalm 95, “For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’” This was supposedly God reminiscing about pulling the children of Israel out slavery only to have them not credit or respect God. So, the children wandered around in a desert for forty years while believing God was angry with them.

We interpret everything through the lens of our own mental attitude, and my attitude is such that I don’t have an angry God. Needless to say, the Bible appeared to contradict my sense of God as peaceful and just an all-around wise yet composed Being, able to guide all thought in a way that brings satisfaction, not anger.

Anyway, the picture of clarity was that as much as I view my own reality through my own mental attitude, the children of Israel did also. Their mental attitude however was whining about not having enough food consequently all they could sense was an angry God. God wasn’t angry. The human perception was annoyed, indignant, irate, therefore, that is what they automatically pinned on God.

Lessons learned: I can trust the view of a peaceful strong God that manifests an uncomplaining attitude. And, Max McLean did a bang-up job of recording the Bible.

Pioneer a Healthy Consciousness

The word pioneer has the same Latin root as peon. During the 16th through the 19th century, pioneer was a military term referring to low-status pioneers who labored to clear paths, build roads, and dig trenches. In America, it wasn’t until the 19th century when the word pioneer was applied to the land-clearing settlers as they transformed the width of the Continent into settled territory.

Paradoxically, pioneers entered land that was already settled by Native Americans. What was discovered was already discovered, just in a different form, no longer attractive to the majority of the population. It is therefore no surprise that pioneers follow pioneers to reestablish the spirit of discovery and universality—an ability to include a greater magnitude of thinkers and doers in an infinite plan.

Oftentimes, other people can be suspicious of pioneers who throw off the restraints of tradition, and the old-guard will protect themselves from the pioneer’s discoveries, even classifying the new as religious quackery. But, that which doesn’t change and develop becomes obsolete. However, the old-way is inadequate and petty as new spiritual solutions are developed. Amazingly, pioneers do not demand a radical conversion and rejection of the familiar rites but provide a fresh and inclusive outlook with a sense of a wider world.

We can pioneer a peaceful consciousness, a strong family, or a healthy work place.

Let the pioneer spirit flow freely.

The Hot Topic of Spirituality

Spirituality is a hot topic that gets our attention until human life yanks it back to the stubborn fact of a materialist world. Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful to stay balanced when walking the tight rope of spirituality.

  1. Be wise, but not cowardly: Because wisdom is a relative state in any society, it must be infused with practicality and insight to be useful. Trust your ability to express the all-wise God. Don’t’ mess with clever clichés which are cowards that live in royal solitude and ambitiously pursue a personal social agenda that serves no end. Be wise. Wisdom is the grasp on Life, Truth, Love. Actually, wisdom is Truth’s grasp on Us.
  2. Be sober but not infatuated: Sobriety is not a state of sedateness, a.k.a. pious attitude. Sobriety is a state of being able to keep within the bounds of honesty and progress. And, in all honesty, having a fascination for spirituality will not secure spirituality, just like being infatuated with Brad Pitt and Angelino Jolie won’t secure quality acting skills or fame.  Seriously pursue your spiritual journey even when it goes against the trend of what we are use to, but do it with moderation.
  3. Don’t take yourself so seriously: It helps to remember not to take your personal self so seriously as if spirituality depends on it. Be mindful of divine Spirit, God, and thankfully acknowledge every teeny tiny spiritual experience until you see they mass together and make for a great force in life.

With that said on the ongoing topic of spirituality, I’ll go clean the bathroom now!

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