Religion 21st Century

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  • The Cosmos

    One of the concerns of myth makers throughout history is to explain the cosmos. Every human gazed at stars, watched the sun and moon traverse the sky and wondered what was going out there. Stories about the sky above were common and often became myths that perpetuated beliefs for thousands of years. More intelligent humans made special efforts to study celestial events and a few made important discoveries that led to modern astronomy. The intellectual feats of astronomers and astrophysicists in the 20th century are impressive creations of the human mind that have God-like omniscience. Astronomers describe large numbers of large galaxies traveling at high speeds in a very large space. The numbers that describe the spacetime dimensions of the universe are too large to have practical meaning for humans. Humans have long looked to the skies and believed that another or greater intelligence lived out there. The God idea, in the best case, is about an implicit intelligence in the cosmos or beyond that invented and oversees the universe.

    As the new understanding of the cosmos emerged, older ideas of human-like gods living in a heaven above became obsolete. The physics of the universe deals with the fundamental properties of matter and energy. The deep properties of the universe are spacetime, gravity, magnetism and light, otherwise known as electromagnetic radiation. Smart humans have made remarkable progress in describing the behavior of these fundamentals. Human engineers routinely utilize these fundamentals in the design of machinery, buildings and vehicles that travel in space. Engineers create optical and electronic devices that extend our perceptions into the microcosm and the macrocosm. Our communications with different electromagnetic frequencies create a planetary meta-mind as a network" network of interacting waveforms. A virtual reality is built from waves that radiate from and are received by our electronic circuit boards.

    Light and gravity interact with matter to produce events that humans recognize. We can describe what light and gravity do in remarkable detail but we cannot get outside light and gravity to say what they are. Sometimes light acts as waves and at other times light acts as photons, bundles of energy. Light as energy bundles from the sun provides energy for all life. The sun is a giant nuclear reactor that converts hydrogen atoms into light energy.

    Astronomer, Edwin Hubble, had one of the important ideas of the 20th century. He suggested that the speed of galaxies could be calculated from the red shift in the frequency of light they emitted. Hubble suggested that galaxies are moving away from our own and that the farther away they are, the faster they are moving away. Hubble’s cosmos is expanding and constantly changing. Light from distant galaxies has taken millions to billions of light years to reach planet earth. Stephen Hawkins [i] suggested that space goes on to infinity and that determining the origin of the universe is difficult because two laws of physics have to be rectified: Einstein's theory of relativity and the laws of quantum mechanics, which contradict each other.

    Hawkins compared the universe to the surface of the Earth, which has no boundaries and no end. Hawkin ’s universe is spherical in shape, expanding at an equal rate in all directions. The more it expands, the faster it moves. He suggests that the universe will expand forever at an ever-increasing rate. Hubble’s assumption of the universality of the red shift and velocity relationship may be incorrect. Without the universality of his red shift assumption, many ideas of the origin, shape and destiny of the universe would become invalid. The only way to prove or disprove Hubble’s assumption is to travel billions of light years away from the earth and take measurements in places where earth rules may no longer apply. We will never be able to do that.

    Every smart human should remain curious about light, magnetism, gravity and the origin of the universe. These forces of nature have been described but not explained; their essence is probably beyond explanation. Humans should aspire to be alive and well on planet earth for a long time. Science will progress for a long time. The deep mysteries will challenge us, perhaps for thousands of years to come. Some humans are both naïve and impatient and want to explain everything right now. This is neither desirable nor probable. The nicest feature of astrophysics is that no one knows with certainty what is out there, but smart, curious and well-funded people can spend their lives in productive assembly trying to find out. Somehow, I am uncomfortable with the big-bang theory and the ever-expanding universe. I doubt that observations we make on earth and in the local solar system are applicable everywhere in the universe.

    [i] Hawkings S. His book, A Brief History of Time, was the best-selling science book of 20th century. Hawkings view from in a University of Southern California talk "The Universe in a Nutshell”


  • Religion for the 21st Century is available as printed books and an eBook download. 332 Pages, The book is intended for an educated reader who is interested in a world view of religious expressions past, present and future. The main theme is that each religious group has its own claims and stories and will tend to reject others. A reader committed to one point of view may not accept the egalitarian review presented here. Innate tendencies are expressed as religions and in the past have created conflicts that hinder progress towards the real and true. The book examines paths for religious renewal in the 21st century.

    The author is Stephen Gislason

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    Print Books Read Topics Download
    Human Nature
    The Good Person
    The Puzzle
    The Environment
    The Sound of Music
    Surviving Humans
    Language and Thinking
    I and Thou
    Emotions, Feelings
    Neuroscience Notes
    Human Brain
    Children and Family
    Intelligence
    Religion, 21st

    The Psychology & Philosophy series was developed by Persona Digital Books. All rights to reproduction by any means are reserved. We encourage readers to quote and paraphrase topics from Religion for the 21st Century, published online and expect citations to accompany all derivative writings. The author is Stephen Gislason. Persona Digital is located at Sechelt, British Columbia, Canada.

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