Science vs Faith is not a thing.

My dad, a scientist, once said, “I don’t need faith, I’ve got knowledge!” I think it was a response to my asking him to have a little faith in me. It was, however, his scientist-mindset that defined and justified–to him–his attitude.

Scientists seek knowledge, or as close as they can get to something they can claim as ‘knowing.’ At the same time, true scientists know they never know enough to say more than, “It looks like this is true with the information we have and the tests we can make.” True science accepts its own limitations and ignorance, and is always about questioning what is ‘known.’ 

Many things have been challenged and tested enough that they are accepted as facts, though scientists still use the word ‘theory’ when labeling them, always leaving room for new information to change the established understanding. It is a different use of the word from the layman’s concept of ‘theory’ meaning ‘an unproven notion.’ Hence a lot of the confusion over the Theory of Evolution. 

So far, no one has been able to present real evidence that evolution is not a fundamental dynamic of life’s functioning. Arguments, sure, and alternate hypotheses–which is the correct scientific term for untested theories–but nothing that stands up to Reality’s tests. In this debate, it isn’t science vs faith, but science on one hand, philosophy on the other.

In fact, my dad didn’t have as much knowledge, or even sufficient knowledge of me, either, as he asserted. Sure, he knew about things I didn’t know, had experiences of life I had not had, but he had not had my experiences, and truth be told, I knew even then a few things he didn’t. In any case, that day he was being clever, not smart, not kind, and his intent was not truth, but shutting me down. 

One flaw scientists can fall into is the attitude that even in areas not yet explored, because they are scientists, they are ‘righter’ than anyone else.

People who deride faith are doing the same thing. But the truth is, as much as we can actually know very little, and nothing absolutely in this complex universe, and given our limited human minds, none of us live without faith in something. Some of us believe there is a God; Some of us believe there is no God. But it is still all belief.

I have faith in the essential goodness of human nature, though every day, every minute, someone in this world is doing their level best to prove me wrong. I have faith that there is something greater than myself–greater than human beings, all with supreme awareness, though how I define ‘God’ is not at all what most people mean by ‘God.’ My faith in God’s existence is not faith in any religion or dogma, but in my own experience and pursuit of information. I have faith that many things not now provable or detectable by science will, someday, be detected and tested and explained by scientific method. 

“Because God Wants It That Way” is not a statement of faith, it’s a cop-out that settles a matter without any kind of evidence, reasoning, or logic. It’s a conversation-stopper. It is the sound of ears and minds slamming shut, of ignorance claiming victory, of disinterest in learning how the world really is, of disinclination to challenge their truth against Reality. 

Every time we say, “I believe…” we make a statement of faith. Since practically everything we claim to know is actually belief, that makes us all people of faith. Even my dad.

The Serpent & The Saint It’s a book!

A question that bounced around my head for a while, triggered by Saint Patrick’s Day and his associated myths: How exactly did St Patrick ‘drive all the snakes out of Ireland? History actually has some answers for the sources of this folk tale, but before I knew that, an idea came to me. It took a little longer for the words to coalesce, but a couple of years ago, they came together. They made a nice little fable, and I posted it in a couple of places. And there I let it rest.

The beginning of January this year I was looking at a book called TRIADS OF IRELAND written and illustrated by Olivia Wylie, a writer and artist and a professional gardener whom I’ve met at a few pop-culture conventions, and we also connected online. So it was simple enough to contact her and ask if she’d be interested in illustrating my little fable.

As of March 3, THE SERPENT AND THE SAINT, written by me and illustrated by Olivia Wylie, is released!

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-serpent-and-the-saint-cl-l-redding/1138880416?ean=9781734327144

Serendipity played its part, and this all happened in two months, from the time Olivia accepted the commission to a book in print. It is an exciting time! And now we are looking at another collaboration between her art and my Middle-earth inspired poetry, making individual poems with illustrations into posters, perhaps.

I am so looking forward to when the pandemic is beaten back enough for those pop culture conventions to resume, when I can have my own table with books and all!

Time Does What Only Time Can Do

Patience is a casualty of this age of immediate information and too-ready opinionating.

On Wednesday, Jan 6, 2021, as all the mayhem played out, conjecture and personal interpretation flew in all directions. The Media did its thing of milking the drama, inflaming and alarming to increase its audience-share. Anxieties were fueled by What Ifs, and Chicken Little was having fits. Then the mockers and jokers moved in to laugh at the ludicrous and the sheer ineptness of the perpetrators, from Trump on down to his vaguest follower, as if no one had died, or taking the attitude that those who died deserved it.

It can be argued that many there were victims of the manipulators and exploiters of mob-mentality. How far back in time does that victimizing go? Who, besides Trump himself, should be held responsible for the body-count? For the emotional distress amplified, aggravated, and played-upon?

There were freak-outs over who won what, who scored points, who made points, or if the whole thing was essentially pointless. There was the indignation that they just walked out again, they got away with it! Of course they didn’t, any more than anyone deserved to die for being negligent, inept, even criminally misled. No one got away with anything. Because the thing isn’t finished yet.

The heat of fears and angers and the initial agog-ness has calmed and the consequences are rolling in. Maybe, in the end, some will get away with less consequence than they should, but without Trump hamstringing the responsible law-enforcement, or empowering the irresponsible, the difference between delusion and reality will be asserting itself for weeks to come: The cows will come home; The chickens will roost.

Is A Puzzlement!

…To quote the King of Siam. (The King and I)

   The Universe is a great, multi-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, with no outside edges.  Each of us has bags of pieces collected over our lifetimes from our own life-experience, and from others whose experience we trust.

  This blog is where I pour out bits from my bag of puzzle pieces: If you see some you like, that look like they might fit into your puzzle as you’ve got it put together so far, take them and play with them and see what you get.  Ignore the ones that are clearly not part of the part of the puzzle you’re working on.  And if you don’t mind, I will paw through the pieces you spill out here, and get all giddy when I find a new one that fits mine! 

     I love that feeling of exhileration that comes when another piece clicks into place, and its seams disappear, and the Big Picture is that bit more revealed.

And that is what this blog is about.

I’ve been asking the Universe to explain itself to me since I was about 11 years old. My question then was how to reconcile God with Science. Being the child of a scientist and a mystic, such a question came naturally to me. Now and then, I seem to tune in on an answer, and the puzzle pieces come together.

All that I write here represents not Truth, but what I believe to be true. I have my reasons, and I like to believe, my reason. I hope it will lead to adult discussion. Not prosletyzing… If that’s what you want to do, you will have to create your own place for it. The Great Puzzle is my metaphor for it. It will be interesting to hear other models and metaphors.

SOUL IN THE WATERS

KELP

Shadows and light waving,
in the Great Embrace
moving…
caress and tease…
coolness, warmth.
veils of shadow
slick and smooth…
Light casting shafts
into the darker deeps…
Creatures dim and small
securing sustenance
and safety
in the motions
and the shafts and shades…
Sense and sound
confounded
baffled just a little
makes for play
pursuit and teasing
in the pleasing
atmosphere
of the Great Embrace…


LEAP

Leap!
into the sparkling air…
Arc and soar
above,
surrounded by
The Breath
of Light, of Life, of Bright,
no matter day or night…
Dive!
Return to the Embrace
the Great Embrace
that holds
and lifts,
surrounds with all
the sounds of
Living Will, Intent, Desire
of creatures great like us
and small
the rough and smooth,
that live and move
within it all…
Dive deep,
descend
into the darkness,
cool, and cold…
and feel the hold
of the Embrace
that presses ever closer
in the greater dark,
the deeper,
deepest blue…
then turn again
and rise
up through the fading
shadow of the depth
that holds,
confines
as a mother
who will not give birth
the to tlife thatmoves
within her
though it’s not her own…
Despite her need,
arise!
Burst through her veil
and substance
into the Air!

as high as ever
Life can leap!


BASKING IN A TROPIC NIGHT

Rest upon the calm
the quiet patient
swell and wallow…
The heaving of
the Great Below
is mighty
and yet so slow
and large,
sleeping now,
unchallenged, undistressed
by its sometime battle
with the powers
of the Air–
They both are Life
to us who swim
and breathe
and crave the Light:
Even lying here
upon the quiet Water,
something deep
within the Inner Sea
of me, yearning,
still also delights
in the twinkle
in the far Above
against the darkest
deepest blue
of all the tiny lights.

CL Redding 2007

Body and Soul

Wandering freely joy-filled Light
crossing universes with a notion
Curiosity on wheels, on wings,
on jetpacks, mobile dreams
ever always in merry motion…
Wants to see, wants to know,
no boundaries where the Light can go!

Try it out, try it on, form of solid matter–
Ponderous, preposterous,
time-bound hungering hulk of mass
senses appalling and imperious…
Wants to touch, to feel, to feed
earthbound sack of persistant need!

Love is shattered from a single One
to countless sparks that dance in space
to fragments alone and incomplete
Some in darkness, some in grace, 
thoughts and fancies, fears and dreams
and what is really what it seems…?

And yet, in this distressing dance
is power: to make, to do, to shape;
to nurture Will to Thought to Form
the very power to Create.
And that’s why anyone leaves a star:
to become just what we are.

CL Redding 2009

The Wind

You cannot see the wind.
    It moves the trees,
    pushes clouds across the sky, 
    surges waves across the lake and sea;

You can hear it–
    whispering through the forest,
    whistling ’round windows and chimney pots
    mourning over hollows in the land;

You can witness
    as it tears the world by shreds
    of gossamer and flying signs,
    sends dust spiraling up into a summer sky,
    whips leaves, fallen, racing through an autumn field;
    drives bitter cold and crystals pluming
    off a rocky mountain peak;
    nudges gently nodding budding blossoms 
    in a spring returning…

You can feel it
warm, off the heated land in the chill of night;
cool, defeating sultry summer sweat;
icy blasting driving winter through your coat;
the feel of speed against your face…

Birds aloft, wings laboring, they fly in place;
Horses stand head-low, and close their eyes;
Old people, buffeted, slowly, mindfully walk on…


You cannot see the wind.

    copyright 2010 CLRedding

Under the Night

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies
Yet everywhere
ironic points of light flash out
wherever the just exchange their messages…

Like Auden’s flashing lights
sparking in the darkness
that so often seems
so immense, so overwhelming,
so defeating–
we greet each other 
despite different times
and great distances between,
and know that there is Light
always in the night
and we are not alone
if only we look up
and shine. 

May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair
Show an affirming flame.

WH Auden “September 1, 1939”

The entirety of Auden’s poem, “September 1, 1939” can be found here:
http://poemdujour.com/Sept1.1939.html

Day Light

Sunrise…
push against the lightest misty rain
off to the west,
a rainbow unfolding
to grace the dawning.

Sunlight… 
strike across the land below the clouds
gilding treetops;
Balloons rise like gems against
a steel-blue lowering sky.
 
Sunset…
flame upon the sky, rose-gold
upon the rising moon
then fade and leave the sky
to the bright and wandering stars. 

Presidential Quality

I don’t need the nicest person, I want the most able to stop the bleeding and mend the wounds in our domestic and international relationships. I don’t want the Oval Office held hostage to someone’s temper. There have been enough tantrums. I want a president who is an adult, who expresses opinions and position without bloviating or hysterics.

I don’t want a revolution in all our systems, I want restoration of the middle-class and a true leveling of the field, for health care and education and entrepreneurship to be accessible for all who want them. I want options on how we can have these things, because we are not all alike in our goals, priorities, or perspectives.

I want billionaires to be more grateful for the country that made their fortunes possible, and to give back for the country’s well-being, not just their own. I want someone who can help them see this need, or, if they will not, to rewrite the rules they operate by.

I want true separation of religion and government, because combining them has always been disastrous. Religion is for spiritual health, Government is for temporal, material well-being. Religion works by faith and belief; Government works with science and by established physical understandings. Neither one can replace the other, and should never try.

I care about integrity, about willingness to learn, to listen, and to change positions if new information changes situations. I don’t care who’s gay, I don’t care who’s what gender, I don’t care who is of what religious background or skin color.

I want a peace-maker, a mediator, rather than a belligerant who looks for ways to dominate by military strength when other strategies will do what’s needed.

I want to see the Rule of Law and the distinctions of the branches of our government all back in their own boxes. I want the checks and balances restored. I want someone who can take on the thug in the White House, and make him available to civil and criminal law.

 I want a President who will champion the American people, and strive in the best interests of a community that is encouraged to share and create and celebrate their cultural origins. I want a President who is unafraid of the rest of the world. I want a President who is compassionate, who restores this nation as a refuge to people seeking freedom from oppression and fear.

I know these are great dreams, that no one is going to bring all these ideal qualities to the Presidency in the next election. But America has always supposed to have been about having hopes, dreaming dreams and striving to make them realities.