The Fundamental Divide of Science & Religion

(Or, the fundamental split between the methods, directions and place of science and religion)

What is the essence of the difference between these two domains?  

Science is objective
Religion is subjective

Science requires distance
Religion requires participation, involvement

Science is intellectual, an interest
Religion is existential, a quest

Science a curiosity, maybe even a fascination
Religion is a passion, an obsession, a thirst

Science may only superficially change you
Religion kills you, transforms you

Science deals with the known and the unknown
Religion is concerned with the unknowable

Science stays within the paradigm
Religion does not create a new paradigm, but does away with all paradigms

Objective Distance & Subjective Participation

It is fundamental to the very fabric of science that the observer be separate from the observed, the observer must not be involved with the observed – otherwise it will skew objectivity.  This is good and necessary – for science – for external, material phenomenon. But this attitude is incompatible with Religion, incompatible with discovering anything internal, anything beyond the relative.

If there is anything beyond the objective material existence it requires a different approach entirely in order to discover it.  We cannot use the same tools and methods that we use in order to see and study the material world of the senses.

Even in its own domain science can never be wholly objective because the individual is always a subjectivity, there is always an observer.  This observer can never be the object of knowledge.  No matter how far science delves into things there will always be an immaterial consciousness, an observer which cannot measure itself.

The eye cannot see itself.
Nothing can ever be seen from a point of objectivity, ultimately, because there is always the subjective human consciousness behind all inquires.

Religion only exists in a deep communion, participation.  The observer cannot stand outside.  This is because Religion, spirituality, the quest for Truth, is totally concerned with the subject, the observer, the seer.  For when one looks inwards all that is found is the subject, consciousness, a subjectivity.

Thus the rules of science cannot apply – the rules which apply to the situation of an individual observing something separate from itself.   The scientific method is irrelevant.
It is a jump to another level, the meta level

The subject is all and everything.

One can still proceed with the essential core of science: simple common sense, and accepting nothing as true unless it is validated in your experience.  A scientific approach can only be subtractive in the religious domain.  One can negate that which is untrue, but never posit the true.

Robert Fludd. Jacob’s Ladder. Utriusque Cosmi. 1617. The ladder from the senses to the imagination, to reason, to intellect, to intelligence, and finally, The Word.

Science sees religion as madness.  And it very easily can become pseudo-religion – Belief, superstition, fantastical thinking.  The true person of intelligence proceeds forward evenly balanced between feeling, common sense and intuition.

The mystic sees science as madness. Always listening to the thinking mind and never feeling, not trusting ones own experiences of a beauty and mystery at the heart of things which rationality can never touch.

In true religion the subject is all, and all become the subject.
Thus the religious person may gain a deep knowing of themselves – and in knowing themselves know the nature of the All – because everything is made of the same stuff as their self.

By knowing gold you know the essence of all objects made of gold.

By knowing the Self, one knows the Self in all.

The Subjective Realm Needs A Specialized Tool

Science ignores subjectivity – because it cannot measure it, observe it.The scientific man discounts anything he can’t and hasn’t sensed, experienced.  He has no subjectivity.

We see only that which we are sensitive to see, and to live in objectivity is to live on the surface.  The dropping of the illusion of knowing, the accumulated knowledge is the beginning of having the ability to experience something beyond the limitation of the mind which is the known.

Science looks at religion, spirituality, etc. and says that nothing is there, nothing exists, it is all make believe.  This is because that the way the scientist looks is wrong, wrong for the inner dimension of things.  He is using the wrong tool.

It is like a person looking for sounds with their eyes – the eyes cannot hear, so of course the eyes will say that there is no sound. Only those with ears can hear.

The inner, subjective realm cannot be apprehended by the instrument of the scientific mind

It is like a blind man looking for the sun. It will not exists for him until he attains the eyes to see – and then he will see the light of the sun in all things.  Even at night he may see the light as reflection from the moon and the light of thousands of suns as the stars.

Likewise to the man of science, the man who is sure in his knowledge, the man who sees only that which he believes he can see – anything immaterial and subjective has no existence.

Isaac Newton
Newton (1795-1805) by William Blake. Blake wrote in his annotations to the Laocoon “Art is the Tree of Life. Science is the Tree of Death.”

Knowing is Being

The poet, the mystic, the religious consciousness sees that the very requirement of knowledge – that you must remain a uninvolved spectator – utterly blocks you.  You may gather much knowledge but no knowing, no seeing of reality.  Through the scientific method you will never have any insight into the reality of things.

Science remains an intellectual affair and religion is a quest, an adventure.  It is risky because it requires that you are transformed, you fundamentally change.  It takes courage and the willingness to be dissolved into existence, to die to what you take yourself to be, die to your ideas and concepts, your very identity itself.

Jesus spoke of the end of the world, the end of time –  this end is the end of your world, not the world.  The end of the conceptual world you have been led to believe in and the beginning of starting anew from a state of complete ignorance.

The religious man has seen the vanity and futility of knowledge and so dedicated his energy towards being, towards communion, living, experiencing – knowing that only in the poetry, in the total participation of being dissolved life is knowing attained – but never knowledge.

Knowledge is always an accumulation, a product of time and therefore limited.  It never knows the thing-in-itself because the thing is itself.

As regards the essence of a thing the only way to know is to BE.
Being is Knowing.

(How to explain this in words!  How vain are words!)

The Mind Fears Losing Control

The mind fears complete participation, fears being lost, dissolved. It fears merging, melting – the loss of distance and separation. It is afraid of losing its control.

It will rationalize why you should not and cannot go completely vacant and empty and unguarded into existence as a way of knowing.
But these are just excuses.

It is risky. It is risky to risk it all for all. Risky to leave behind that what you know, that which is safe, that which is accepted
The scientist depends on other scientist to validate him.

The mystic knows that what he experiences in the depths can only be validated by himself.  He knows that all the sages have discovered the same truth, but that this truth cannot be given to another, cannot be explained.  All their efforts are to inspiring you to dive in deeply for yourself.

Jacob’s Dream by William Blake (c. 1805)

You can live with only objectivity – and you will accumulate much knowledge, you will have the illusion of knowing.   And when death comes it will rob you of all that is not yours, all that knowledge will be seen as dust.

You can go deep into your subjectivity and perhaps find something which is Real, something which is deathless, something which is not a temporary dream.  A knowing which is direct and blinding in its unmistakable reality.

And this is the essence of the completely different domains of science and religion:

Science is the method of understanding the physical, material world of phenomena – of forms.  Science can only lead to limited, relative understanding of the outer shell of things.  It has its place in the whole of life, and is fine in its place.

Religion is the method of investigating and exploring into the subjective interior of existence, starting at the only entry point – ones own consciousness,ones own inner world.The question is “Who/what am I!?”  This question has no answer in words, ideas, concepts.  One may become the answer, may dissolve the question; may grow and mature to where they see that the question was asked from a state of ignorance.The impetus of religion is to “Know Thyself” and the consummation of religion is to “Be Thyself”.  One transcends knowledge and attains being, knowing.

The Four and Twenty Elders Casting their Crowns before the Divine Throne, c. 1803–5. William Blake

The sages and seers of humanity have been saying,

I am God
I am Truth
I am Reality
I am that I am
I am

One is.

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