Sunday, May 1, 2016


An article by Neil Degrasse Tyson, who has helped many find renewed practical interest in the physical sciences has spurred me to better articulate where my own interest in finding what is more true has led.  His work is important for  somehow our culture in recent decades has become  more scientifically  illiterate than when I was growing up. Then both secular and religious institutions, for the greater part, welcomed and valued  science and its proven capacity to discover more truth. Now even a large part of our  congress pays little attention to what science is able to inform us about  and seems quite ignorant even of how the scientific method works in exploring life and the  universe. This  anti- science attitude can be leading us to very avoidable planetary catastrophes.  I will post Tyson's essay URL and then follow it with some of  my own thoughts about  Science and belief in God.

Neil Degrasse Tyson, speaking of whether he is atheist,  states that  his interest is in the 'natural world'. I would add that an interest in God can and should also  be based in our exploration of the 'natural world', both outer/material phenomena and also inner/psychological/spiritual phenomena. If the word 'God' has a meaning it surely must have to do with what are potentially natural experiences of humans which they would try , if asked, to describe. It would be primarily inner compared to outer, outer/physical being what most popular science focuses on. An idea of 'God' would surely need ,if  relevant, to be more than an arbitrary intellectual proposition but flow from shared actual inner psychological experience. It would create a discussion around something that is a natural phenomenon. Depth psychology(initiated for modern times by Freud and much more richly expanded by Carl Jung) makes that kind of conversation possible and can be seen as not in conflict with the science of the outer/material world.

Because I have found the statements ascribed to Jesus, and the images I carry within of him, to help better explain my, and others who have shared personally with me, natural life, especially the inner aspects of it; it seems appropriate that I do not shy calling myself Christian. But that is the 'way' that I am Christian and thus do not carry some of the traditional baggage that many persons do regarding 'being Christian.' To me the part I carry is natural , not 'super' natural. I find the natural world  quite mysterious and transformative  enough and not demanding a layer of 'super' to be imposed  over it.

Also I have found the work of C.G. Jung to be a resource that , more than  any one contemporary explorer for truth , also helps me  better understand the experiences of natural life; including my revised understanding of the nature of the Christ story and of the Bible. I agree with Tyson that any name to describe a person's point of view , including 'Christian or Jungian' fails in its effort to embrace what one actually is and becomes a source of interfering in clearer communications. I am more comfortable being called Christian than Jungian for that influence has been of a collective archetypal kind and was what first set me on a committed journey to follow, the best I can, what is 'true'. And I have never regretted being drawn to that inner religious mindset. It has not disappointed me, lied to me or deceived me as I now understand it. And it remains relevant to me. My experience of Jung, on a different level, has not been of an archetypal(religious like) nature simply because we can know much of the specific inner and outer human life of Carl Jung, and no one has access to such historical information about Jesus of Nazareth. This is not what the gospels even attempt to give. So Jesus of necessity remains mostly(and this in no way diminishes his importance and influence) either a projection of our personal and collective  unconscious or simply our  trusting of collective hearsay. My experience of the Christ archetype is a  very different kind of experience than my learning from Jung and depth psychology.

Jesus is imaged as saying ' the truth shall set you free.' That to me does not mean that 'the truth' or 'all truth' was known by anyone when Jesus would have said that, including himself. But that ' truth' is forever being discovered and perhaps created (and has taken giant steps into human consciousness in the past century, not comparable to any time in history.) This results in an increase in truth , both outer/physical truth (what Tyson's science effort is mostly about) and inner ( what today 's depth psychology; as an empirical science of psychological facts, is about.) Jesus, like other authentic spiritual teachers, pointed beyond himself, understanding that the universe is not static but changing, moving, evolving to new states of being. This also the clear  finding of  science.

The continual search for truth, in these two potentially non-contradictory arenas(outer material phenomena and inner psychological phenomena), is I suspect the most likely path of increased human freedom, responsibility and consciousness. One without the other of these arena's of exploration I think does not offer the best explanation of the fullness of human experience nor the best tool with which to find solutions to today's most urgent problems. And I agree with Tyson that one word descriptions or isms of such truth seeking are never adequate and should be avoided. That results in building straw men and in unnecessary dualistic rather than a unifying use of our human capacities to find and embrace truth.

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