ROUNDTABLE: The ground of all being

Q: From your perspective as a faith leader, can faith and science co-exist in religious rhetoric?


Trick Question.

The answer is maybe. They both exist right now without a lot of conflict. In religious rhetoric the conflict comes from religionists who fear losing their power with the ascendency of Science as the predominant thought matrix of our time.

Professor Einstein gave the correct answer when he said that Science and Religion are climbing the same mountain and taking separate paths to do so. He noted that in the end they will both wind up at the top, which will be the same for both.

Science has changed a lot since a century ago when Neils Bohr proposed that, in Quantum Physics, human consciousness has the power to disturb experiments. Just a peek causes something called “quantum wave function collapse”, which means you just destroyed those nice wave patterns your particles were in. Consciousness is really powerful. Once you have looked, the particle behaves differently. In today’s science the word consciousness is the equivalent of God, in that it is all present, all knowing, and all powerful.

In the 1950’s, the renowned theologian, Paul Tillich described God as “The Ground of All Being”. That brings God up close and personal. God no longer lives in the sky somewhere. He is the basis, the essence of everything. God is the ground on which and within which all of our lives and all of our world is lived. God is our ultimate reality.

Science is accustomed to exploring new definitions and new thoughts. Religion is focused on preserving the past and is uncomfortable with much of anything new.

However, we have moved into a completely new paradigm and it will become known as the Quantum age. One of the key aspects of the Quantum matrix is that it is an endless series of possibilities…..all things are possible.

That sounds like a description of God. But it would not hold up in many Christian worship services.

Frankly, the Christian churches are going to have to change their language and much of their thought system if they wish to regain a level of relevance they enjoyed as recently as 1950 when Tillich changed the definition of God.

Right now people are asking serious questions about the nature of things and how things should work. In the meantime, the churches have endless answers for questions people are no longer asking.

Chuck Robison is a published theologian and the former Adjunct Protestant Chaplain at the Church Center of the United Nations in New York. Currently he is CEO of What If It Really