Touching The Limits Of Knowledge
Cosmology and our View of the World

Spriritual Cosmology, Part I,
Lead: Paul Brockelman

Summary by Trevor van Deusen:

God and the Mystery of Being

Why are we here? Is there really life after death? Heaven and Hell? These are questions that every human being asked themselves one time or another in their life. Why do we ask ourselves these questions, curiosity? Perhaps what we are looking for is meaning in our lives and a path to follow in order to find satisfaction within ourselves. Scientifically, we can not prove any existence of God and there is no physical proof that supports the idea of any afterlife. Many people have claimed to see "a bright light" and feel "a soothing pain" as they neared death. Although many people's reactions are similar, we can not be for sure that it's not a natural process of biological shutdown. So the question at hand remains to be a philosophical question. So many unexplainable events have taken place that science has not been able to explain or possibly can not explain that people look for answers in religion. The question that now remains is "So, is there any spiritual significance in science?"

First, we should clarify what the philosophical view is. It is based on the premise that individuals have different perceptions of true reality because they experience life differently. Describing phenomenon through logical reasoning based on ordinary experiences is called phenomenology. It is the basis of the philosophical approach to cosmology. Cosmology is the study of the development of the universe, not just the beginning of it. Paul Brockelman makes clear through four main concepts that there is also another side to this view. The first is that it is not a world of objects, its a world of experience, secondly, the BODY bgcolor="#FFFFFF" is the necessary condition for the experience, thirdly, that we are always involved with meaning, and lastly, knowledge of any other reality is abstract to one's self. If this is true and everyone's view of reality is different than everyone else's then the reality that everyone is looking for is found within each individual and can only be understood by that individual. This is because every individual translates their experiences a little differently as they also have differences morally and ethically. Many people turn to religion to help them fill in the gaps of their understanding of reality.

There are two realms of understanding: factual and spiritual. Factual understanding sees that God is not an entity (a guy in the sky), but can be experienced. Also, God is not nature or found within nature and that we belong to reality. Spiritual understanding is "faith" and sees God as the sustainer of creation and the act of being. This understanding is how individuals can find meaning in their lives. This type of understanding is much easier to accept because it promises a reward for serving your purpose in life and staying faithful. The factual understanding is for the skeptical but even very intelligent and accomplished scientists see phenomena that they can only explain as "an act of God." For the individual to achieve this kind of understanding they need to have an experience that is so significant to them that it seems holy. Holy in the sense that it can not be explained by the observer but provides them with an experience than fills in the gaps of that individual's reality. Instead of having science and religion oppose each other we should form an understanding that science does not rule out God but science leads us to an experience of the existence of God.

May 4, 2000