YOUR View: Intellect vs. Faith? Science vs. Religion? – a “Hot Topic”

27 Jun

Earlier this week on The View, the women discussed the concept of Faith vs. Intellect, and Science vs. Religion.

The debate was sparked over comments that comeddiene Janeane Garofalo made regarding President Obama’s encouragement of the nation to “pray” about the BP oil spill in the Gulf. She said that for him to tell us to pray is both “Bush-like” and anti-intellectual, also calling him a “conservative” and, in earlier interviews, calling the Bible a work of fiction and a Bill O’Rielly autobiography (which, totally makes no sense, but, whatever Janeane.)

So, what do you think? Is prayer separate from logic? What about faith? Are they counter-intellectual? I don’t think so. Do you?

Personally, I don’t believe that Faith and Intellect have to be separate entities, nor do I believe that Science and Religion must be segregated, either.

I posted this “conversation-starter” on my Facebook page on Tuesday, the day that this “Hot Topic” first appeared on The View, because, well, I like a good intellectual debate, and I love talking philosophy, religion, and theology. I had a few good comments replying to this post.

One reader said, “But, the basis of religion (world was created in 7 days) is in complete disagreement with science.”

I never want to argue or belittle anyone’s point, as I see where she is coming from with this ‘argument’ (for lack of a better term.)  For the sake of playing “Devil’s Advocate” (there might be a pun there, haha) … my reply is this:  while I am Christian, as much as one can be without being 100% convinced in the validity of “organized religion” but in preferring a personal relationship with God and a more “spiritual path”,  remember that not all religions DO believe in the 7-day creation theory.

Another poster said, “I truly believe that God gave us all of this including the Science and our intellectual abilities as well. I don’t think they are separate at all. Our creator gifted us with EVERYTHING, it doesn’t matter what name you call him by, he/she is truly AMAZING!”  With this person, I tend to agree.

I don’t know what religion is “correct” or which theory of creation or “how we got here” is right, but I do believe in “a” God/higher power that got us here and blessed us with the intellect and sciences to figure all of this “stuff” out. (Science, medicine, technology, and so forth.) Additionally, the power of meditation  and prayer do actually have some quantifiable and provable effects scientifically speaking, which I think is amazing and powerful, just showing us that spirituality, faith, and religion do indeed have us a place in this oh-so-skeptical and science-based world!  (Check into the noetic science division of quantum physics and you’ll be amazed!)

Yet another person had this to say: “I think if one has faith, then of course prayer is logical because that person believes in it.”

This might have been one of the most logical replies that I read. If a person truly believes in something, then isn’t it logical for THEM, in their own personal life, and within the confines of their own personal set of circumstances? Who are we to judge if someone wants to believe something? This might sound totally contrived, but wasn’t this country built on freedom of religion?

Moreover, yes, Ms. Garofolo, was saying that prayer is anti-intellectual and illogical, which, I totally do not agree with. I think that a smart person can also be religious, or, at the very least, spiritual or have faith in their lives. It has nothing to do with intelligence, in my mind.

However, I understood in the context WHY she said that particular part (regarding the oil spill and how it isn’t a “solution” to the problem per se.)

 But why would prayer and faith be a problem, or, dumb? I think that the human condition is that we need it in times of crisis or tragedy. Sure, some people choose not to believe. To each their own! That’s fine, but why belittle those that want to believe that there is a an explanation for suffering?  People who want to look for a reason to hope? Light at the end of the tunnel? A guidance to help us through the tough times?

Regardless of your beliefs, it doesn’t mean a person is any less intelligent or logical because they are a spiritual and/or religious person. That is just small-minded and ignorant to assume, I think, and makes YOU look less intelligent, if you ask me.

(I’d take a less-intelligent, more open-minded , loving, and accepting person, over a stuffy, close-minded wannabe intellectual any day, Garafolo!)

Finally, to those that want to judge people who “believe” and those who criticized Barack Obama for encouraging a nation to pray … I ask, “what could it hurt???”   

It might not be an answer to our problems, or a solution to the oil spill, and, sure, it might not do any good, but it would certainly not cause any harm, either.

What do you think?



Link: Watch “The View” Discussion on this “Hot Topic”here:   The View: Obama Asks for Prayer

2 Responses to “YOUR View: Intellect vs. Faith? Science vs. Religion? – a “Hot Topic””

  1. anamchara4 June 27, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Why should praying be a contradiction to the intellect? I’m a biochemist (those scientists are generally considered to be the most atheist of the lot..), yet I thank God every day simply for the fact that I’m alive. For me, praying is as vital for my existence as intellectual thinking or emotional feeling.

    Praying is an intuitive way to connect our short-sighted, often inflated egos to the deeper soul and ultimately to God. It is making a connection between consciousness (ego) and the great Unknown (soul, God) by the act of partially letting go one’s ego control and trusting Life itself that It will help us.
    When we think scientifically however, we’re making connections between consciously developped frameworks which were created by us in an attempt to understand the Unknown Reality of the world.

    The symbol of the Cross offers a very nice analogy of science and spirituality (I rather talk of spirituality instead of religion, because I see religion more as a collective attempt to broadly conceptualize and ritualize the spiritually unique path every human being is specifically making). The horizontal axis of the Cross is the horizontal plane of scientific development. It’s a continuous explanation of the How of the world, and every new discovery broadens the horizontal plane. Scientific facts are sterile though; they have no depth (hence we’re talking about the “horizontal” plane). They can explain an emotional experience as synaptic activity or hormonal imbalances, but even when you have the complete scientific explanation, it would still completely lack the internal depth of the experience itself. One could explain love in all its physiological components (dopamine and serotonine levels surging while others decline for instance), but such sterile explanations could never ever get a hold of the experience itself. The experience is a numinous experience, with an internal dimension which is totally inexplicable in scientific terms, because an experience has depth; an experience is not a lecture ABOUT life, it’s Life ITSELF speaking to us.

    An experience happens when the horizontal plane of our scientific space-time continuum is suddenly struck by the vertical axis of soul, of God, of infinity. This actually happens continuously, because we’re always experiencing Life. Thus praying is a consciously directed shift from the horizontal to the vertical axis.
    Life itself can be seem as a continuous unfolding of a flower, both on the vertical ánd on the horizontal plane. They go hand in hand, because without a vertical plane, man would loose the very basis of the Life he was given and would fall into the utter chaos of conscious inflation and degeneration (which is what we so often see in the world today). Equally, without a horizontal plane, God could not unfold Himself anymore through the unique human beings each and everyone of us Is.

    Does prayer work? Yes, of course, if you’re absolutely honest to yourself and to God. Praying is not about asking God to help you to achieve this or that; God IS already helping you! Praying is about emptying yourself in all honesty and humility so you’d become more receptive, more open to the Grace He’s continuously giving us. People often pray without first emptying their cup first, which is often already too full with their egotistical ambitions and all other little shadowy motivations. We should not pray for God to change us, but we must first consciously re-focus ourselves so we could open the door for God more honestly, more humbly, more truthfully so He might find the space He needs within our Heart to manifest Himself through our conscious mode of living. So again, praying is not about trying to convince God to help us; it’s about Knowing that God IS already helping us. Perhaps then we might be able to consciously re-adapt our motivations in Life more easily so we might much better be able to become the vessel through which God’s Love would find a more genuine expression in the Life we were given and in this beautiful world; a creative expression which would be wondrously unique for each and every one of us.
    If we don’t change our conscious attitude first, praying probably won’t be as effective as when we would first consciously try to become more REAL HUMANS again instead of MINDLESS CONSUMERS. God Acts upon the conscious enactment of our longing for Him, so why would He help us if we don’t even TRY to change our behaviour towards our neighbours and the world at large? Why would He be moved if we ignorantly and stubbornly decide not to move either?

    In conclusion, the horizontal axis of logic and scientific ratio gives us the tools which we might use to Act, but no matter which tools we choose, in the end we have to stop discussing the tools and USE them (i.e. proceeding on the vertical axis) to carefully chisel our way through the stone, so the beautiful statue hidden inside the stone could finally come out. That would be the utter fulfillment of Life: to chisel our own way of moving through Life, so we might finally BE the true person we always were, in a full embrace with the our-Selves and the Unknown pervading all of existence.

    All this is of course only my humble opinion 🙂

  2. anamchara4 June 27, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    PS. When I said “God Acts upon the conscious enactment of our longing for Him”, I meant “God Acts upon the conscious elaboration of our longing for Him”.. sorry, typo 🙂

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