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Realism And Naturalism

Realism and Naturalism

My biggest barrier to any kind of religious faith was the realism and naturalism inherent in 20th century science and technology. To me, supernatural faith was merely a product of simple, ancient peoples trying to explain the world around them -- the sun, the moon and the stars; seasonal crop cycles; human reproduction, etc.

Well, those ancient days are gone. We now understand the world around us -- we've mapped the cosmos, we've mastered agrarian techniques, and we've deciphered the human genome. In a nutshell, 20th century advances in science and technology removed the need for God (any kind of a god).

More specifically, here's what I believed…

All things - from the massive cosmos to the microscopic cell -- are the result of unguided natural processes over millions and billions of years. Everything is explained by the physical - there's no need for any notion of the metaphysical. Everything is the result of wonderful chance, held together by chemical-based systems, natural laws and properties of physics. Smart people with telescopes and microscopes "broke the code" once and for all using 20th century technology. The "facts" of "science" trump anything philosophical or religious. Done.

Maybe the introduction to the Emmy-award-winning PBS NOVA special called "The Miracle of Life" summed up my views best…

    Four and half billion years ago, the young planet Earth was a mass of cosmic dust and particles. It was almost completely engulfed by the shallow primordial seas. Powerful winds gathered random molecules from the atmosphere. Some were deposited in the seas. Tides and currents swept the molecules together. And somewhere in this ancient ocean the miracle of life began... The first organized form of primitive life was a tiny protozoan. Millions of protozoa populated the ancient seas. These early organisms were completely self-sufficient in their sea-water world. They moved about their aquatic environment feeding on bacteria and other organisms... From these one-celled organisms evolved all life on earth.1

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1 NOVA, "The Miracle of Life," WGBH Educational Foundation, 1986 (Swedish Television Corp., 1982), videotape.

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