Reza Aslan: Why I am a Muslim

“Faith is mysterious and ineffable. It is an emotional, not necessarily a rational, experience. Religion is a fairly recent human invention. But faith, as I have elsewhere argued, is embedded in our very evolution as human beings.
“And yet, in the end, faith is nothing more or less than a choice. You either believe there is something beyond the physical world (as I do), or you don’t. You either believe you are more than the sum of your material parts (as I do), or you don’t. You either believe in the existence of a soul (as I do), or you don’t.
“No one can prove or disprove these things, not any more than anyone can prove or disprove love or fear or any other human emotion.
“Religion, on the other hand, is the language we use to express faith. It is a language made up of symbols and metaphors that allows people to express to each other (and to themselves) what is, almost by definition, inexpressible.
“After all, if there is a God, then that God is utterly beyond human comprehension.”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/26/opinions/believer-personal-faith-essay-reza-aslan/

Whatever the soul is, its existence can’t be proved or disproved by natural science

“When his results were first published, critics argued that the weight loss could be explained by physiologic factors, such as evaporation. Moreover, his report failed to mention several patients in whom he found no weight loss. Finally, subsequent attempts to reproduce his results failed to find any weight loss. Indeed, MacDougall’s vision may have been clouded by confirmation bias, the tendency for investigators to see what they expect.”

https://theconversation.com/whatever-the-soul-is-its-existence-cant-be-proved-or-disproved-by-natural-science-61244?mc_cid=6e8e6bd94e&mc_eid=34e2887073

Iceland Is Officially Worshiping Norse Gods Again

Hilmarsson said: “I don’t believe anyone believes in a one-eyed man who is riding about on a horse with eight feet. We see the stories as poetic metaphors and a manifestation of the forces of nature and human psychology.” Membership in Asatruarfelagid has tripled in Iceland to 2,400 members, out of a total population of 330,000.

http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/iceland-to-officially-worship-norse-gods-again?mc_cid=84d899c964&mc_eid=34e2887073

Belief in all-knowing, punitive gods aided the growth of human societies, study says

“Belief in moral-watching, all-knowing, punitive gods might have helped human societies grow far beyond small, close-knit groups, a new study shows. Researchers who ran an experiment with a total of 591 people in eight different small-scale societies around the world found that people who believed their deity of choice knew about their misdeeds and would punish them were more likely to play fairly in a game where money was on the line.”

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-gods-punishment-society-spread-20160210-story.html

 

Can you be a scientist and have religious faith?

“I’ve been a scientist for as long as I can remember. Children are born scientists; they experiment with everything, are naturally inquisitive and through this exploration they learn about how the world works. And I’ve never grown out of it. Of course, for many people, their modes of thought change as they find or are brought up with faith. Some manage, somehow, to hold religious beliefs alongside a dedication to the rationality of science.”

https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/4889/can-you-be-a-scientist-and-have-religious-faith?mc_cid=f607b9a6a4&mc_eid=34e2887073

Can science and religion coexist? Not on Mauna Kea, say Hawaiians.

What takes precedent when one particular location has religious but also scientific significance? Do people have a responsibility to make sacrifices in the name of scientific progress?

“Debate over the Mauna Kea project seems to pit conservationists against industry, and religion against science. But for native Hawaiians for whom worship intersects stewardship of the environment, concerns about conservation and freedom of religion have blended into a common cause.”

http://m.csmonitor.com/USA/USA-Update/2015/1111/Can-science-and-religion-coexist-Not-on-Mauna-Kea-say-Hawaiians?cmpid=TW