When religious scriptures and the wonders of nature meet

The metaphysical world of divine revelation in the scriptures and nature as a divine creation, are two fields that touch each other and it is a known fact that descriptions of natural phenomena and historic events in religious scriptures not only were proved to be truthful by scientists and archeologists, this match between both worlds is also a big inspiration for those in search of religion. Others, those who will never accept religion to be truthful, make it their life’s work though to prove that there is no link between divine revelation and science, that scholars in the ancient days had enough scientific knowledge to write a truthful religious scripture like Bible and Koran on their own.

Abstract phenomena like time, good and evil or the afterlife are are topics that typically fit in the religious outlook on life. Their abstraction makes them an important field of interest for philosophy too, as philosophy has a certain common ground with religious thinking. Philosophy usually confines itself to the ‘how to-questions’ behind abstract phenomena like time or morality, when religion also tries to answer their ‘why-questions’. Natural phenomena best lend themselves to  not only pondering about how a possible creative and operating force makes them tick, but also to research them in a more scientific manner. The meeting between scientific knowledge, even the knowledge of ancient or nature oriented animistic peoples, and religious  systems is often a fascinating and spectacular one, because natural phenomena are used to enforce the latter ones with natural empirical evidence and many peoples have reached great creative and scientific achievements on this path. Some societies mastered astronomy remarkably well in an early stage of history, such as the Persians, ancient Egypt and Greece. The Persian astronomers kept detailed and accurate records of the night skies that historians even today refer to. Belgian author Robert Bauval thinks that ancient Egyptians knew enough about astronomy to use their knowledge of the Orion belt’s course and constellation for the design of their king’s graves in Gizah. In 1995 he published his book ‘The Orion Mystery’ about this topic and about the role the Orion belt may have played in ancient Egypt’s religion. It seems very likely that there is no truthful combination possible between ancient Egypt’s poytheism and islam’s strict and abstract concept of only one God who has no resemblance with anything we know. Yet it is true that the position of the Gizah pyramids is an exactly calculated copy of the Orion belt, it is also true that their constructors valued astronomy in their religious concept and Bauval had noticed that one of Orion’s stars and the star Sirius precisely lit the narrow corridor in the Cheops pyramid leading to respectively the King’s and Queen’s Chamber. The function of these chambers has never been discovered, since there were no graves and mummies present. Therefore many people have thought that the bodies were stolen from the chambers. However, it is also known that ancient Egypt used to bury it’s dead in the earth, which isn’t present in these chambers either. Under the watchful eye of main custodian dr Zawi Hanwass a range of archeologists and television stations speculated over the possible purpose of the pyramids. The door to the air shafts between the King’s and Queen’s Chambers and the outdoors were first discovered by robot engineer Rudolf Gantenbrink. Dr Robert Bauval, however, thinks as a result of investigation into these air shafts that the pyramids were no mausoleums and that they had a broader religious worship function in which the Orion stars and Syrius may have represented both the supreme god and goddess, Osiris and Isis, and the country’s king and queen and the future of their dynasty, plus that in his opinion, no king could afford such extravagance in his personal grave monument.

However, religions offer different tales about the origins, structure and movement of the many creatures in the universe. This is an awkward aspect of religious thinking that may leave the faithful dumb and numb in face of the atheist claim that religious thinking is untrue. There is no proper scientific answer to that issue: why do the creation stories of religions differ. The popular answer is that the various ancient peoples who lacked much of the sophisticated knowledge that we have now, invented their own answers to life’s problems and to the philosophical questions of why we are here and what destination our lives have. No matter the awkwardness of issue: there is usually no hard evidence of such fabrication. What’s more, the majority of the stories cannot be exposed in an empirical, scientific way. It may very well be true that religion has its own truth parallel to that of science; we may believe in it, or reject it, but we cannot discard it as a set of lies. Those who came up with them are no longer with us and we have no hard evidence. Yet this should give us no reason not to enjoy the benefits and wonders of their connection to valuable cultural heritage or practical use of ‘holy’ items in everyday life. A holy plant used by a traditional Brazilian shaman may thank its holiness to proven medical qualities, qualities which in modern times have been rediscovered by reputed multinational drug manufacturers.

There is, however, also a field between natural science and abstraction that may have religious aspects and that may be psychology and the humanities. We see their results and those are, as said earlier, suited for a scientific or medical approach, but they are invisible abstract concepts. It is a statistically proved fact that young healthy people think differently about how to spend their money than senior citizens in a nursing home. There is according to most religious scriptures a soul, but no one has ever seen it. The same can be said about emotion and preference. The book of Islam, the Qur’an, says the soul resides in the heart, however, a scientist will say that the heart is no more and no less than an muscular pump for our blood. Difference between individuals and communities leads to different scientific theories, but only in natural sciences their validity can be fully proved. In humanities this is not always possible, because they deal with these abstract invisible concepts. Customer satisfaction can be measured, but only partly it may be predicted and interpreted. Why people behave and think the way they do at a certain moment, is not easy to predict either. Or to interpret, sometimes. This is why different theories on economics or psychology do not necessarily lead to a best solution and may continue to co-exist. Communism has been rejected as not useful, however, its offshoot socialism still exists in a diluted form in economic and political systems. So does Milton Friedman’s liberal market system. Yet the different economic thinkers have used religion in their ideas, sometimes in a rejective fashion and sometimes quite the opposite. Something similar can be said about different approaches to psychology: behaviorism is not the same as introspection and both are still applied.
Read on Robert Bauval’s web address.


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