The growing void

We humans have long wrestled with understanding our purpose – asking the eternal ontological questions: why are we here? What does it mean to be? What reality are we living in?

And in the past, religion and science have been there to try to fill in the blanks. From the days of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, questions of faith and logic were seamlessly intertwined. The fathers of mathematics are also the fathers of the greatest insights into human nature.

And then, faith and facts diverged. If you believed in religion, you questioned the science. If you were a scientist, you couldn’t rely on faith.

One only needs to look at today’s most vociferous social debates to see that this divide is still wide. Birth control. Climate change. Gay rights.

But here’s something else that’s happening: a growing number of people are realizing that neither science or religion are providing the comfort, knowledge, and answers they seek. Both facts and faith are now failing us. Once again, we sense a growing void – an emptiness where we used to seek meaning.

According to Time magazine, “The fastest-growing religious group in the U.S. is the category of people who say they have no religious affiliation. Sometimes called “the nones” by social scientists, their numbers have more than doubled since 1990; major surveys put them at 16% of the population.”

And the new realms of science – quantum physics, string theory – are raising more questions than they answer. For instance, we now know that two unrelated atoms can change in exactly the same ways at exactly the same time with no know cause or connection.

So what replaces religion and science? What if, when our consciousness evolves, they don’t have to be separate any longer? What if they’re both right? Perhaps, in the next highly evolved state of consciousness, all we have to do is embrace the mystery and answer the eternal questions of life with a resounding “Yes!”


About Karen Barnes

To change the world we live in, we first must change ourselves. Insightful cultural commentary and innovative approaches to behavior change all in service to a more sustainable, equitable, peaceful world.
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One Response to The growing void

  1. Stephanie Alexander says:

    Karen, it’s my feeling that maybe it could be attibuted to two different things going on in our culture. It seems we’ve become a bit “dumbed down” by our reality TV-saturated, tabloid-driven society. I mean, really, for a lot of people it has become all about junk food for our brains. If we can’t get it pretty easily within 30 seconds, it’s getting jettisoned. And in that same vein, we’re a super-busy culture. And we’re so inundated with information, we’re just overwhelmed. We don’t have the personal bandwidth at the end of the day. And because both science and faith take the time to understand and then process what it means to each individual and how we feel about those things, maybe people are just turning away? What are your thoughts on that? Great blog post, btw.

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