There seems to be a group of people in the world who are waiting for science to explain spirituality or, perhaps more correctly, who are expecting science to eventually remove the reality of spirituality. As a person who enjoys the wisdom of science and the wisdom of spirituality and knows that they are often synergistic, I do not agree with this way of thinking. Ten years ago we expected the unravelling of DNA and the mapping of the human genome to reveal the origins of life. Now we have turned our attentions to quantum physics to explain away the mysteries of spirituality. I do not believe this is going to happen and, I don’t know why we would even want this to happen.
Science is an effective tool for understanding the physical world in all its wonder and complexity. What we are discovering about the human brain is extraordinary: it’s plasticity, the healing capacity, higher perception, states of consciousness, the plentiful neuropeptides, etc etc. However, I do not expect cutting edge science to ever be able to explain fully the reality and experience of spirituality. I think those who are believing this have misunderstood the relationship between science and spirituality; between the physical and the spiritual. I am concerned that they are deluding themselves and wasting precious time.
Many of us who have studied and practised the discipline of scientific research do not expect this method of enquiry to reveal complete spiritual truth to us. We expect science to inform spirituality and spirituality to inform science. In the past, scientific discovery has brought clarity and correction to beliefs. For example, the world is actually not flat and God is not directly responsible for bringing each star out with his hand every night. There are known patterns and forces at work in the world that the ancients thought were purely spiritual but we now understand as physical through the wisdom of science. It is foolish to extrapolate these historical experiences into thinking that science will prove that God does not exist simply because our ancestors misunderstood the physical-spiritual dynamic in their world.
Spirituality has brought so much satisfaction, meaning and joy into my life. I have no desire to explain it away using science any more than I desire to explain away the physical truths that science has taught me using spirituality. The discipline of spirituality uses different tools to explore reality including the study of sacred texts, meditation, prayer, stillness, gratitude, wonderment and care of nature, compassion, community, creativity, justice and other things. Using these tools, I have come to believe that I am created to live respectfully with other people and species in this world, enjoy friendship with the Loving Divine One who watches over the earth, and continue to live forever spiritually even after my physical body ages and tires.