In my life experience, most of the atheists I have come to know have impressed me with their strong sense of morality and ethics. As a missionary, I honed my ability to find common ground beliefs and build upon them however this was especially challenging when it came to atheists. I became fascinated with the idea of understanding God in the purest (religion free) way and being able to explain this in the simplest and most direct manner. For the past seven years or so this process has stayed with me and I have been cultivating these ideas. Throughout the years I have shared my thoughts with a select few to gain new perspectives. By means of this blog I hope to accomplish this now at an accelerated pace.
The sum of my observations of people of various religious backgrounds is that the humanity at large follows a process analogous to the scientific method. Those who understand the history of religion and science can surely appreciate the irony of this statement however, I am convinced that our spirituality is a follows a set of scientific rules and that theses rules, if better understood, would help alleviate much of the frustration felt in our trial and error approach to know God.
"Scientific method refers to bodies of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses."
Wikipedia offers us a linearized, pragmatic scheme as a guideline (which I have slightly modified):
1. Define the question
2. Gather information and resources (observe)
3. Form hypothesis
4. Perform experiment
5a. Collect data
5b. Analyze data
5c. Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
6. Publish results
7. Retest (frequently done by other scientists)
In religious terms I offer up a parallel:
7. Repeat as desired
The fundamental difference is that the soul is the recording instrument. As we have no present means to extract this information directly from a person's soul we must rely on their testimony. Arguably, data from scientific experiments are more reliable as they are not subject to misinterpretations, exageration or lies; or are they? Is this not the importance of retesting a published scientific conclusion? If the experiment is reproduced with the exact specifications of the origional it should produce the same results and I submit the same holds true to spiritual matters.
If one man plants a seed and tends for it and another man goes and does the same does it garantee that either seed will grow? Consider that if a man says, "Plant this seed for it is good," and it is done to no avail what are the possible reasons why the seed did not grow? The same reasons could be aplied to why religion does not work the way people say it does. I submit that those who frequently experience God's joy in their life is the direct result of understanding this process to some degree or another.