Friday, April 3, 2009

Finding balance with the book "Life Is a Miracle"


  1. In the book, “Life Is a Miracle” by Wendell Berry there is a lot
    devoted to the theories and polocies of man in things such as
    materialism, Imperialism, Reductionism and so forth. The portion of
    the book that stood out the most to me and which I will focus mainly
    on is the chapter entitled, “Reduction and Religion.” Reductionism
    according to is defined as, the theory that every
    complex phenomenon, especially in biology or psychology, can be
    explained by analyzing the simplest, most basic physical mechanisms
    that are in operation during the phenomenon. In conjunction with
    religion we are then forced to concider our very basic and core
    beliefs. These beliefs are challenged and we must choose to deal with
    it in several ways. We can manipulate what we belive to fit what our
    own science has proven, we can ignore science and deem it witchcrafts
    and the devil’s sorcery, or we can investigate further, with faith in
    what we know to be true, faith that God works through the laws of the
    universe and know that there is an answere but perhaps we have yet to
    extend our field of knowledge to that point. The idea is that we must
    come to a point where we find balance in all aspects.
    When considering the science of nature and our religious or cultural
    beliefs fiinding balance is essential for the progression of both. As
    stated in the book, “Without care, we are stuck with what we’ve got:
    sciences that spread their effects upon the world as if the world were
    no more than an experimental laboratory and arts and “humanities” as
    unmindful of their influence as if the world did not exist.” While
    when speaking of either science or humanity, the other is seemingly
    never mentioned they are indeed intertwined and feed directly off of
    eachother. Socialy needs stimulate studies and work in the scientific
    industry while scintific breakthroughs have a profound moral impact on
    society. With evolution in medicine and chemistry come contriversal
    topics such as abortion, contraception, cloning and stem cell
    research. Along with that also comes very needed advances in the
    sustanance of societies inflicted with disease or plagues, such as the
    tsetse fly. ;-) Without these advances society would suffer severly.
    Often we encounter situations in which we have received the light and
    knowledge pertaining to a certain topic or situation and trying to
    share that and convey it becomes a daunting task. The author explains
    the emotion in a very interesting way by stating, “These outcries
    certainly express knowledge, and precisely too. They communicate
    knowledge. But the knowledge they convey cannot be proved,
    demonstrated, or explained; it cannot be taught or learned. These
    utterances are not “self-explanatory.” They are as far as possible
    unlike what we now call “information.” One either does or does not
    know what they mean. The idea of explaining them to someone who does
    not know is merely laughable.” We see in the book of Job in the bible
    his attempt to convey his spiritual sentiment yet from an exterior
    view it could possibly come across as quite odd and perhaps even
    disturbed. He states, “ I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he
    shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though…worms destroy
    this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God…” (19:25-26). With the
    innability to express ideas and feelings intolerance prevailes and
    seperation occurs.
    In conclusion I would like to reaffirm the necessity for a balance
    between science and religion. Berry points out that “Science can
    function as religion only by making two unscientific claims: that it
    will eventually know everything, and that it will eventually solve all
    human problems.” On the same token we know that the workings of the
    Lord are governed by the same laws that govern the universe. Though
    the general population would have these two topics be placed on
    separate shelves they indeed can placed together and used to support
    eachother. It would be a shame for one to lose their testimony over
    science and likewise lose science over a falsly based testimony.