Bridging the gap between faith and reason

Bridging the gap between religion and science proves to be a challenge in a time when technological and scientific advancements leave little room for faith and spirituality, but according to author and renowned Kabbalah scholar Daniel C. Matt, the two are not as inseparable as many think.

In a lecture titled “God and the Big Bang” given this Tuesday as a part of Furman’s World Religions Symposium in Younts Conference Center, Matt invited an audience of around 100 members of the Furman and Greenville community to reexamine the connection between faith and scientific inquiry by using concepts from both cosmology and Kabbalah to illustrate his argument.

Kabbalah, Hebrew for “that which has been received,” is a philosophical concept based in Judaism that focuses on the connection between human existence and the universe, what Matt calls “the Oneness.”

“We are a part of a whole, of a Oneness,” he says. “God is the name we give to the Oneness of it all.”

According to Matt it is in this Kabbalist preoccupation with the human connection to the universe that room for scientific inquiry is made, since both share the goal of explaining our place in the continuity of life in the universe.

“Science and mysticism need to be approached differently, but it should be realized that they converge on the same dissatisfaction with the superficial.”

Matt concluded his presentation by encouraging his audience to reflect on the role of wonder in religion and science, as well as in everyday life.

“Our sense of wonder has been shriveled by the pace of our daily life,” says Matt. “Science can learn from mysticism a sense of wonder. Mysticism can learn from science the continuity of wonder.”

(Illustration courtesy of Shutterstock.com)