Noted scientist and best-selling novelist Alan Lightman, a Memphis native, asks what are the boundaries between science and religion, the two greatest forces that have shaped human civilization. What are the different kinds of knowledge in science and in religion? And how do we come by those different kinds of knowledge? Members of the Faith in Memphis panel respond.
If science has knowledge about the physical world, what kind of knowledge does faith have?
Faith has knowledge about the metaphysical world in the form of (1) detailed descriptions of psycho-spiritual stages of development and processes of developmental advancement, (2) explanations of how people behave at various states of psycho-spiritual disposition, (3) power to predict, based on those explanations, how people will behave in given situations, both current and future, and (4) underlying principles of long-term developmental success (blessedness) or loss.
For example, Christ’s Sermon On The Mount gives us the beatitudes (“Blessed are…). The Qur’an gives us the three stages of the nafs (self or soul) and multiple behavioral descriptions of those who ultimately develop and those who ultimately end in loss. All of these things constitute psycho-spiritual knowledge which has also been referred to as “knowledge of self and others.”