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Inhaltsangabe: In the world of modern science, traditional religion is often seen as a force of ignorance which attempts to impose outdated ideas on scientific truth. At the same time, many scientists see science giving rise to a materialistic doctrine of scientism that aims to eradicate the spiritual world view of religion.
This may seem to be an irreconcilable conflict. But there is another way to look at it. Science and religion can interact synergistically to generate new and interesting ideas.
God & Science is a collection of essays that examine the relationship between modern science and the Vaishnava tradition of India. Although little known in the West, the Vaishnava tradition is based on a monotheistic philosophy having much in common with Judeo-Christian thought. When brought into contact with modern science, Vaishnavism generates some of the same questions that arise from the confrontation of science and Christianity. At the same time, there are significant differences. These essays contain a smorgasbord of novel insights that provide new perspectives on the relation between science and religion.
Richard L. Thompson, a scholar of Vedic texts, is well read in contemporary science as well as the history of western science. He correctly places himself in the intellectual-spiritual genealogy of the Perennial Philosophy. He finds ways in which information encoded in Vedic texts illuminate findings—and puzzles—of contemporary science. He demonstrates again and again the remarkable wisdom about the world yet to be mined from the ancient civilizations of India, China, Babylonia, even Greece and Rome, and from the oral cultures of many indigenous peoples.
The presumption of much modern science is that consciousness arises in the process of evolution as an emergent property. Vedic sources agree with other ancient civilizations that it makes far more sense to see the embodied world as deriving from spiritual worlds rather than as the foundation of the spiritual dimension. He argues convincingly for the primacy of spirit, even given all that science tells us about the material world. The stories of the New Physics may be closer to our traditional myths than we imagine.
Thompson’s ability to explain clearly very difficult concepts of traditional and contemporary physics and cosmology is extraordinary. In a sense, Thompson’s work is within the same overall movement that, in the highly Christian west includes the debates about Creationism. His erudition, the elegance of his prose, and his deep understanding of traditional and contemporary science give a different kind of credibility to the knowledge and wisdom of our intellectual and spiritual ancestors, east and west, which they encoded into their legends, myths and rituals. One begins to suspect that we have forgotten at least as much as we’ve discovered.
—Sheldon R. Isenberg, Ph.D., assoc. professor and chair of the Department of Religion, University of Florida, cofounder and assoc. director of Center for Spirituality and Health.
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