by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
While recording a podcast with Loyd Auerbach (look for it in early July) last night, I was having a conversation with our science editor, JD Harrison, during the round table discussion. JD, as many of you know, is a scientist – hence the whole science editor thing. As we were talking, I was explaining an idea that I had, and JD started talking about the science of the idea when a thought rose, unbidden, to my mind. I managed to keep it in my head rather than allowing it to spill out of my mouth.
“Sometimes I don’t care about science.”
There. I’ve said it. I’ll pause here for a moment to allow you to all stop pointing staring at me in horror.
It’s true. Sometimes, I don’t care about science. I am not a scientist. I am a writer. I am interested in science, I like to write about scientific things. I like to read about science. I even like to talk about science. But I also like to balance that out with other things as well. Thank goodness we have JD who does focus on the science.
Here’s the thing I’ve realized. There are many kinds of people in the world. Some want to know how and why things work. Some just want proof that they do work. Still others don’t really need any proof. They trust what they observe with their five senses. And then there are others who don’t need any sensory input. They know it works, and that’s good enough for them.
Is any one of these viewpoints any better than the other? Some people might tell you that some are, but what I know is this: if you’ve settled on a way of interacting with the universe, and it works for you, then you’re doing just fine in my book. Aren’t you glad you have my approval?
Me? I think that I am a balance of all of the above. There are times when I absolutely have to know why something works and times all I care about is that it works. I have realized this about myself. When it comes to the paranormal, mostly I want to know for myself is that these things do – or don’t – exist. If I can toss some science in there along the way, then that’s even better. If I can’t? Oh well. That’s why we have scientists! They can figure it out for me, and I can bask in the fruits of their knowledge while wallowing in my own intellectual laziness.
Some of the smartest people I know live lives of belief. They don’t care about the how or the why. They don’t care about the proof. They just know. I recently finished co-writing a book with such a person. Her name is Lisa Watts, and she is a hypnotherapist. She’s smart, successful, bright and funny. And she is a picture of pure faith and trust.
My father, an extremely intelligent man, is a man of faith. I got much of my curiosity from him. While he likes to turn over rocks and poke at things with sticks to see what’s there, he also has apparently no difficulty with belief. His faith has been a cornerstone of my life, even as I’ve spent most of my time as an agnostic.
Just because I can’t decide whether I believe or not doesn’t mean that I don’t understand and respect those who do. Or those who don’t. That is one of the things I like about this magazine. Whatever your belief system, whatever your level of proof required, whether you are science-based, faith-based or scientifically faithful, your opinions and experiences are valued.
It has been suggested that science and God can’t exist in the same space at the same time. There is a pervasive belief that if one believes in God, then one can’t also serve science. Likewise, if one serves science, then one can’t believe in God.
Science, many say, isn’t faith and doesn’t involve faith. God, on the other hand, is pure faith. So why is it, then, that I can see elements of God in science – in the perfection and complexity of biology. Likewise, I can see elements of science in God. In my mind, it is all intertwined, much like God and the paranormal are intertwined.
The paranormal is, after all, is the search for those things that we suspect may exist but can’t prove or explain. Ghosts are, by common belief, disembodied souls. If souls live here and can interact with us, then what about all of the souls who aren’t still here? Where are they?
For me it is all inseparable. God. Science. The paranormal. As much as I try to pry it all apart in my mind, it remains firmly welded together. A question about one leads to questions about the other, endlessly looping back on itself in a Gordian Knot.
Which is why I am certain I have no more answers than anyone else. Am I here to serve God? Am I here to discover the paranormal? Am I here to please science? Perhaps the answer is that I am here to do all three, and I am here to do none of the above. Maybe the truth is that I am here because I am here. And along the way I will have experiences. Maybe my job, then, is purely to get lost in the experience of it all, and then go to my grave knowing just about what I knew when I came into this world, except that I’m better off for having taken the ride in the first place.
Read more about faith and science:
Can Faith and Science Co-exist?