Tag Archives: science

Jesus on Science and Religion

This post is going to be meta, like really meta, so bear with me.

In today’s gospel (Matt 13:10) the disciples ask Jesus why he teaches the crowds in parables. He gives what can be a very confusing response, so I’m going to try and break it down.

1. Jesus’ whole life is a parable. If you don’t understand that, then you’re missing the point, but don’t worry, the disciples missed this one quite often as well, and they knew him. The entirety of the bible points to a higher truth. Every staging in the Old Testament was pointing to something bigger, all the prophecies were about something more than the moment happening. The entire bible is a parable for a higher truth, it happens to also spell that truth out perfectly to people who are embracing it: God desires a personal relationship with his creation.

2. This statement is a parable, or at least it has a hidden message that has to be teased out. I can see the disciples walking away from this saying, ‘Oh, we must be important,’ and entirely missing the point. The reason the disciples understand the parables is because they are open to what the parables mean. They are walking with Jesus daily, and seeing what he is like, so when he says something about a rich guy throwing a wedding for his son, they know it’s about God and Jesus. The people who are hearing Jesus for the first time, might not get this. If you understand the parables right off, it’s because hind-sight is 20/20, not because you are smarter than the average 1st century Jew.

3. There is a larger statement being made here than understanding Jesus’ parables. The statement is about an outlook on life. Remember that these parables were fundamentally different from the consistent teaching at the time (though they weren’t new, they were a deviation from what was being taught traditionally.) This same statement applies to our lives today, we can’t sit comfortably on what we ‘know.’ This applies to closed mindedness about science (limiting the bible to a text book, rather than seeing it as a parable.) There are people who’s eyes will be closed to the truth, either because they are convinced they are smarter, because they are convinced there isn’t a truth, or because they are convinced they know the truth and cling to it rather than have their eyes be opened.

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Dog Days

365.25 days.

The length of one year, right? But what is a year? It’s a completely arbitrary unit of time, it just happens to make sense because we are here on Earth. It is a frame of reference that we’ve divided into months, weeks (and from there the rotation of the Earth is a day divided into hours, minutes and seconds.) None of this makes any sense if you are somewhere other than Earth, and why how the Earth moves around the sun and not the lunar cycles?

Take Mars for example: 686.971 earth days to a ‘year’, and 24 earth hours 39 earth minutes and 35 earth seconds to a ‘day’. Think about that for a moment while we talk about dogs.

I think it is pretty common knowledge that dogs age about 7 years to every one for a human. At first this may seem to mean very little, but imagine if our entire lifespan as a human was wrapped up in 1/7 the time we normally have. What if we had winters that lasted several years rather than several months? What if we had summers that spanned the entirety of our puberty, and had to build our careers in the fall? Considering perception is such a large part of our reality, how would that affect our life?

You may not know it, but time is not the same everywhere. Gravity affects time in some really strange ways (c.f. gravitational time dilation) and as we venture further out into space this is going to become a big issue. One of the things that will have to become a reality for a unified advance in that front is the development of a ‘standard of time.’ We’re already seeing it happen here and now, with the International Dateline and Grand Meridian Time. These concepts will have to be expanded, sometimes with a sacrifice of accuracy, for us to continue to function as a species, but the value of collaborating as a species far outweighs local accuracy. Community is more important than perfection. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

It is strange that an absolute truth, the great, supernatural cores of reality are so often discarded (or condemned) for contemporary scientific discovery. Particularly when the two do not conflict. These truths are the things that make us human, they are the very things that unite us.