Thomas F. O'Neill
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Spirituality Complement One Another
A few day’s ago I was flicking through the channels on my
television and I heard a televangelist talking about how we are living in the
end times as foretold in the Bible. He shouted about the biblical signs, such as
the depravity in today’s world. While holding Bible in hand, he shouted, quite
loudly I might add, about how people are turning their attention away from God.
There is no doubt that the world is quite different than the world our
grandparents and great grandparents grew up in. As the televangelist noted there
is higher crime today due to the drug issues and materialism. Drugs
are being abused in order to escape from modern day issues.
On the other hand we have the ability to travel anywhere in
the world in matter of hours. Without air flight it took our ancestors days and
months to travel by land and sea. We also have instant global communication
through the media something that would have been considered science fiction a
century ago. But it would seem to us there was more psychological stability in
the environment our ancestors grew up in.
One reason for this stability is that our ancestors lived
in the same neighborhoods their entire lives. If they were raised Christian they
most likely went to the same churches their parents and great grandparents went
to. Throughout their lifetime their house of worship was a significant part of
The average person a hundred years ago rarely traveled
beyond a twenty mile radios. Their
perception of the world remained the same due to their religious upbringing,
neighborhood or village. Today most
people will change jobs five times before they reach retirement age. They will
also move to different Town’s, City’s, or State’s, on average - five times
We are not consciously aware that our perceptions of the
world are constantly changing due to the rate of technological advancements.
There have been more technological achievements in the last twenty-five years
than in any other time in human history. How
we see ourselves in relation to others is also being influenced by science. We
are becoming less personable through our digital technology in our fast passed
Babies born today will see science and technology double
every two years. When today’s newborns are senior citizens they may have a
life expectancy of 130 years. The world they are being born into will be quite
different when they are adults.
Our language is also evolving due to the rate of science
and technology. Scientific terms are becoming part of our common vocabulary.
Babies being born into today’s world will not just have a greater vocabulary
but they will have a much greater understanding of the world around them more so
than we ever had at their age.
The accelerated growth in knowledge and technology will
definitely have a profound effect on our next generation. The
super information highway will also have a profound impact on the next
generation’s relationship with the world in which they live. Their perceptions
of themselves in relation to others will constantly change as they mature and
grow with the rapped rate of technology. This
is something our grandparents and great grandparents have not experienced in
necessarily see this as something completely negative. To
be totally honest I can’t even imagine what the world will be like 50 years
from now. I suppose that is where
the gift of the imagination comes into play. These accelerated changes are not
just taking place in the United States they are taking place globally especially
in the Asian countries.
I disagree with that televangelist though who believes we
are living in the end times. I do
not place that much literal emphacis on the Bible. I do agree that today’s
world is quite different then yesteryear’s world. Most
people today are searching for ways to deal with their day to day stressors. The
majority are also placing less significance on religious institutions.
This is being reflected in the number of self help books
that are being published each year along with the low numbers in the churches. It
is worse in
--the churches there are empty. The American University in Rome has one
seminarian in their undergraduate seminary.
In the 1930’s there were four or five priests assigned to each church;
now churches are being consolidated due to lack of priests.
People however are still searching for spirituality in
order to cope with the fast paced world. They are searching for meaning and
purpose. In the past the majority of
people accepted religion as holding all the answers needed for this world and
The only problem was those in the past who went against the
status quo were either burned at the stake or excommunicated for being heretics.
For some there was great fear in
being free thinkers; this was also a great inhibiting factor when it came to
It wasn’t until the secularization of the free world that
science and technology took great leaps for the betterment of humankind both in
knowledge and achievements. But there must be a balance between knowledge and
its proper application that is where human wisdom comes into play. As our
society continues to grow in knowledge that knowledge must be balanced wisely
and it must be properly applied. Not just for the individuals benefit but for
the betterment of society as a whole.
Science and Spirituality are beginning to complement one
another. These two separate disciplines are both searching for the essence of
things. Spirituality is accomplishing this by drawing us inward for greater self
knowledge. It helps us understand
the essence of who we are in relation to the world around us. It can also help
us keep pace with the world’s fleeting images without completely surrendering
Science on the other hand is beginning to recognize the
subtle intelligent designs of life without quite defining what life is. I
suppose that is where spirituality comes into play. For some life is the eternal
presence of God. Life, love, and
God, are all synonymous they lead to the essence of things. Spirituality brings
us ever so closer to who we truly are in relation to others.
It is easy to get caught up in the world’s fleeting
images and feel we are being lost in the process. On the other hand,
Spirituality can help us focus on the essential matters of life. Our society may
seem less religiously motivated but there is still a deep hunger for
spirituality in our fast passed society.
There are still those however that would like to see
society to go back to the middle Ages
when the church and Bible were the vessels of divine truth. Our world then was
the center of the Universe. It was a religious fact then that we are at the
center of God’s creation. it was
just plain common sense among the religious. But modern reality doesn’t
conform to those beliefs.
It wasn’t that
long ago in human history that Scientists discovered that the planets in our
solar system revolve around the Sun and they were quickly declared heretics by
the religious establishment because the scientific findings contradicted the
Church at the same time refused to acknowledge that the world was round because
such a notion contradicted the Bible. The Bible states the world has four
corners. A round world also defies common sense because if the world is round we
would fall off. Most people at that time also believed if you sail to far out to
sea you will eventually reach one of the world’s four corners. What happens
then was up to speculation some believed the ship would fall off the edge of the
it was becoming common knowledge that the world was round the church continued
to declare it heretical teachings and if you were a Catholic teaching it at that
time you would have been excommunicated.
Catholic Church in the 1700’s also declared Newtonian Physics as heretical
teachings because of its views on gravity. The Pope at that time declared that
any Catholic teaching it would be excommunicated. The Pope also made the
statement that God holds men in existence in the world not gravity.
Catholic Church in the late 1700’s during the forming of the new American
government declared that democracy is an immoral form of government. They viewed
Democracy and the separation of Church and State as being morally evil.
Church also declared evolution to be heretical and they still hold the view that
man was created fully man and the belief in human evolution is a fallacy.
current Pope has declared Embryonic Stem Cell research as morally evil. It is
the same historical pattern within the Church. The Churches view on embryonic
stem cell research is just another example of their irrational stance against
the advancements in science, technology, and human knowledge in general for the
betterment of humankind.
history the churches views on science have been proven to be erroneous because
the scriptures must not be viewed as a science book, historical documentation,
or a literal moral guide; the scriptures are simply theological literature which
I personally enjoy reading.
must also take into account the cultural and historical influences surrounding
the writing of the scriptures such as when the scriptures were written. The
scriptures for me are masterpieces of great literature and they had a profound
influence throughout history due to the religious significance humanity has
placed on them and its religious institutions.
is only now that we are gaining a much more holistic understanding of the
biblical text and its profound impact on humankind due to our deeper
understanding of the power mythologies have on human cultures and on the human
psyche in general. Modern
Theologians are taking a much more anthropological approach to the scriptures.
They are studying them in relation to the historical and anthropological
influences on the scripture writers. The Bible was not written in a vacuum;
there were many environmental factors in the scriptures development.
growing understanding of the scriptures has given us a much greater appreciation
of the power we as human beings have given the scriptures throughout history.
Our understanding of the significant impact the Bible has had on world history
both positively and negatively is also continuing to evolve and mature with each
have also come to understand intuitively that we cannot and must not limit our
understanding of God to a single book. We are spiritually maturing and evolving
revelations of God’s love. We are not just human beings on a spiritual
journey; we are spiritual beings on a human journey.
the mind draws a blank to the world’s riddles it turns to the soul for answers
for the soul knows what the mind seeks. When we reveal the love that is within
us we become the living and breathing presence of God’s love for others to
embrace and emulate.
are indeed many great problems in the world but the solutions lie in the people
who inhabit the world. What we give to humanity we give to ourselves and what we
change in ourselves we change in humanity. If we want to witness more loving
people in the world and directly in our own lives. We must change for the better
by loving others more fully--this is the essence of God’s revelation.
Thomas F. O'Neill
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