My Take: Science and spirituality should be friends
February 15th, 2011
07:00 AM ET

My Take: Science and spirituality should be friends

Editor's Note: Deepak Chopra is founder of the Chopra Foundation and a senior scientist at the Gallup Organization. He has authored over 60 books, including The Soul of Leadership, which The Wall Street Journal called one of five best business books about careers.

By Deepak Chopra, Special to CNN

For most people, science deserves its reputation for being opposed to religion.

I'm not thinking of the rather noisy campaign by a handful of die-hard atheists to demote and ridicule faith.

I'm thinking instead of Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution has proved victorious over the Book of Genesis and its story of God creating the universe in seven days. Since then, God has been found wanting when measured against facts and data. With no data to support the existence of God, there is also no reason for religion and science to close the gap between them.

Yet the gap has indeed been closing.

Religion and spirituality didn't go away just because organized religion has been losing its hold, as suggested by showing decades of  declining church attendance in the U.S. and Western Europe.

Despite the noisy atheists, two trends in spirituality and science have started to converge. One is the trend to seek God outside the church. This has given rise to a kind of spirituality based on personal experience, with an openness to accept Eastern traditions like meditation and yoga as legitimate ways to expand one's consciousness.

If God is to be found anywhere, it is inside the consciousness of each person. Even in the Christian West we have the assurance of Jesus that the kingdom of heaven is within, while the Old Testament declares, "Be still and know that I am God."

The other trend is a growing interest by scientists in questions about consciousness.

Twenty years ago, a respectable researcher couldn't ask daring questions such as "do we live in an intelligent universe?" or "Is there mind outside the body?" That's because materialism rules science; it is the core of the scientific worldview that reality is constructed out of physical building blocks - tiny things like atoms and quarks - whose motion is essentially random.

When you use words like "intelligence" and "design" in discussing the patterns in nature, immediately you are tarred with the same brush as creationists, who have hijacked those terms to defend their religious beliefs.

But time brings change, and next week my foundation is hosting a symposium in Southern California where the gap between science and spirituality will be narrow somewhat, not on the basis of religion but on the basis of consciousness.

Outside the view of the general public, science has reached a critical point. The physical building blocks of the universe have gradually vanished; that is, atoms and quarks no longer seem solid at all but are actually clouds of energy, which in turn disappear into the void that seems to be the source of creation.

Was mind also born in the same place outside space and time? Is the universe conscious? Do genes depend on quantum interactions? Science aims to understand nature down to its very essence, and now these once radical questions, long dismissed as unscientific, are unavoidable.

My conference, called the Sages and Scientists Symposium: The Merging of A New Future, is only one in a wave of gatherings through which hundreds of researchers are working to define a new paradigm for the relationship between spirituality and science.

It is becoming legitimate to talk of invisible forces that shape creation - not labeling them as God but as the true shapers of reality beyond the space/time continuum. A whole new field known as quantum biology has sprung up, based on a true breakthrough - the idea that the total split between the micro world of the quantum and the macro world of everyday things may be a false split.

If so, science will have to account for why the human brain, which lives in the macro world, derives its intelligence from the micro world. Either atoms and molecules are smart, or something makes them smart.

That something, I believe, will come down to a conscious universe.

Agree or disagree, you cannot simply toss the question out the window. It turns out that the opposition of science to religion is a red herring. The real goal of a new science will be to expand our reality so that spiritual truths are acceptable, along with many other subjective experiences that science has long dismissed as unreliable.

We are conscious beings who live with purpose and meaning. It seems unlikely that these arose form a random, meaningless universe. The final answer to where they came from may shake science to its core. I certainly hope it does.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Deepak Chopra.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Leaders • Opinion • Science

soundoff (1,568 Responses)
  1. Tiger

    As long as dogmatic religion can scare people of God, there will be followers of dogmatic Religion.
    Then add the ponzi scheme of promised heaven. People are just vicitims of dogmatic religion.
    A well educated person can easily break the grip of fear.
    Atheists are synonymous with Yogis, and in that sense are bravehearts and true Yogis. They have found their place in this Universe.

    February 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • LOL

      sorry to say this but you people are dumb and very lost! God is very real, Science is very real. Science helps prove the book of Exodus true. They can both co-exist, but you people are so dumb. Listen i know religion is very corrupt, for example i am a christian and i have no respect for the Pope because he is an evil person and uses religion to control the masses. We have all the answers we need in the Vatican library but if we as people knew the truth we would be at peace and would be too smart to control. Just like any other religion. Its the people who ruin everything because of POWER. If you believe the big bang theory then thats on you, have fun with that! We don't even know whats beyond our galaxy so how can you say there is no God? Use your heads people.

      February 15, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Face

      @ lol
      I can't tell if your a troll or just plain stupid....
      Research the REASON WHY we believe the BB happened....

      "If you believe the big bang theory then thats on you, have fun with that! We don't even know whats beyond our galaxy so how can you say there is no God? Use your heads people."
      Don't know what beyond our own galaxy?? You are ignorant of astronomy and physics, please read ONE BOOK ON SUBJECT.
      Stop straw manning "atheists" and saying that "we" say there is no god... Saying you don't believe in a theist god, does not mean its impossible or "we" couldn't be convinced that one does.

      God dun it, or if you don't know the answer =(insert any God), is NOT the DEFAULT argument....
      Thank you for showing us just how much knowledge a typical theist has..... Use your head person.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  2. Rev. Keith R. Wright

    I believe in a Creator. I believe that the Laws of Physics are the only true Word of God and that life evolves because of those laws instead of the Judeo/Christian creation. God didn't create man, just the laws which enabled the possibility for life to exist. I am a Deist.
    Rev. Keith R. Wright
    contributing writer,
    Deist: So THAT'S what I am!

    February 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • come on man

      @ Rev
      how did you come to that conclusion and how do you know it is true?

      February 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      LOL -calls himself reverend but doesn' t believe the word of god

      February 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Rev, Buster Bloodvessel

      Yeah, let's make a religion out of science next, and we can say there's this blue guy who lives in a volcano, and . . . . or maybe not.

      February 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • NL

      If you believe in the Laws of Physics then you must believe that the universe could have created itself, right? Why do you choose to believe in a creator god then?

      February 15, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Maybe

      Deism is fine, but I don't see the point nor need for a 'Reverend' of it. You said all that there is to say about it in your declaration.

      There *may* be a creator-type ent!ity, but that's where assertion stops. To assign characteristics, especially human ones, such as love, hate, demands for worship and rewards, is not acceptable.

      February 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • come on man

      "If you believe in the Laws of Physics then you must believe that the universe could have created itself, right?"

      I believe in laws of physics, but I think you are confusing agency with mechanism...........just because you understand the mechanics by which something is created or done does not allow you to explain away the agent behind it.

      ex: I understand how a car engine works, but that doesn't allow me to explain away the inventor of the car engine. The car engine is the mechanism by which the inventor chose to power the car.

      February 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • NL

      come on man-
      I said "If you believe in the Laws of Physics then you must believe that the universe could have created itself, right?"

      Then you said "I believe in laws of physics, but I think you are confusing agency with mechanism"
      See, you believe that the Laws of Physics were invented, which is a separate, unprovable, religious belief from what the Laws actually are and how they operate. Hawking is a renowned expert on the Laws and understands them as allowing for a universe that can create itself. So, if you believe in the Laws of Physics you can believe in a self-creating universe, simple really.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
  3. prophet

    Deepak is a nice person but his advice cannot save you. only The Good God can

    February 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • NL

      Has there ever been a 'Good God"? Nowhere in the bible, surely!

      February 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • come on man

      @ NL
      So how exactly do you determine what is good?

      February 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • NL

      come on man-
      "So how exactly do you determine what is good?"
      Good point! A Christian would probably say that 'good' is whatever God is, but that 'good' for us is whatever God wants it to be. Thus a 'good' God can commit genocide, but a 'good' person can't. 'Good' is relative, then, and by human standards what god has ever been good?

      February 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • come on man

      @ NL
      I agree with you that if God does not exist then what is good is relative, but then that would render your judgement of anything as meaningless including your judgement of God...........because it's all relative or subjective and has nothing to do with objective reality.

      February 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • NL

      come on man-
      "I agree with you that if God does not exist then what is good is relative,"

      No, I said that even if God did exist there is 'good' as it applies to God and 'good' as it is dictated for us by God. Nobody can judge God so whatever he does has to be good, for him, but he can judge us by his own standard of good for us (if you believe in this) which is separate from what we would consider ethical on our own. Good is relative then between us and God with no god being seen as good by human standards for ourselves, right?

      February 15, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  4. james

    My fellow Americans, stop having such polarized reactions. It's become a herd thing. You know, like lower forms of life that blindly follow one another because they don't have higher level thinking skills. The sarcasm is uninspired and passé and the pretenciousness is suffocating. Wasn't it Einstein who said "the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know." For those of you who can't help but scoff at religion, I really don't care one way or another. What's the thrill in being so arrogant about it?

    February 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      What's the thrill in being so arrogant about it? We don't know, but your pretentiousness is suffocating. I'd knock off your hat if you were here in person.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • james

      Quite unbecoming logos for the queen of Romania : ).

      February 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Your sarcasm is still uninspired. Don't come around saying we are all lower life forms and then hope for a reasoned debate. Evolve, buddy. I agree with you, but why be so snotty?

      February 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • come on man

      @buster bloodvessel
      "I'd knock off your hat if you were here in person."
      lol thats funny..........hopefully james is not six foot four and an amateur MMA fighter! lol

      February 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • james

      My point is that I have more respect for people who admit they don't have all the answers. For me, it proves they've thought critically about the subject of their analysis. It also shows that they recognize that their own mind is limited (not in any pejorative sense). OK, I admit it: I practiced the sarcasm I preached against. My ego will recover. I've evolved. And you...?

      February 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • BR

      @james-The problem is that theists of any stripe, by definition, claim that they have...or have access to all the answers. And the answers themselves are, have faith...just believe...gods will, etc. more often than not. Admitting ones limitations, as you describe them, does not preclude calling B S on the claims of religion. The level of tact can certainly be raised in many instances, but that doesn't negate the validity of the arguments.

      February 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      @come on: I'm over six feet tall myself and completely covered with hair like a sasquatch, which frustrates all my attempts to evolve. At least I still have all my hair, and I mean ALL. james got the point, which was 'less sarcasm, more discussion.'

      February 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  5. Tiger

    Science is the soul of Spirituality.
    Religion is the disease plaguing Spirituality. Time to get rid of religion and set in Spirituality.
    Those who meditate intensly, will know that life, Science and Spirituality are one and the same.
    But Religion is quite harmful now. It's utility is over.

    February 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  6. Muneef

    As-Sajda sura 32:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Allah it is Who created the heavens and the earth, and that which is between them, in six Days. Then He mounted the Throne. Ye have not, beside Him, a protecting friend or mediator. Will ye not then remember? (4) He directeth the ordinance from the heaven unto the earth; then it ascendeth unto Him in a Day, whereof the measure is a thousand years of that ye reckon. (5) Such is the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, the Mighty, the Merciful, (6).

    Al-Hajj sura 22:
    And they will bid thee hasten on the Doom, and Allah faileth not His promise, but lo! a Day with Allah is as a thousand years of what ye reckon. (47).

    February 15, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  7. Muneef

    All the science that human knowledge has reached about the creation of the universe,heavens and Earth is nothing but a drop of water out of an oceans of knowledge that human science yet not has yet reached !!

    "Say (O Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) to mankind). 'If the sea were ink for (writing) the Words of my Lord, surely, the sea would be exhausted before the Words of my Lord would be finished, even if we brought (another sea) like it for its aid.'" [Surah al-Kahf 18:109 – interpretation of the meaning]

    And He also says:

    "And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the sea (were ink wherewith to write), with seven seas behind it to add to its (supply), yet the Words of Allah would not be exhausted. Verily, Allah is AllMighty, AllWise." [Surah Luqman 31:27 – interpretation of the meaning]

    February 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Colin

      Muhammad, hey. You mean the guy who had intercours-e with the nine year old?

      February 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  8. Rob

    I am not a religious person. But, even casual observation can demonstrate that science has missed the boat regarding consiousness. Philosophers have scratched at the surface but have yet to come up with any sort of applicible universal laws to describe the behavior of energies when performing the states other than mass. Newton actually did the easy work. He showed us that if I take a rock and a feather to the top of a tower and drop them both the will fall at the same rate (not accounting for drag). But, what if I drop a rock and whole bird..? Well then the answer depends, is the bird "conscious" or not? If not, it will behave just as the feather. If it is conscious, the behavior is unpredictable. It may fall at the same rate, or it may simply fly away and not hit the ground at all. Why is this? And more importantly, why have we as "scientists" not focussed our attention on answering that question? If there are universal laws that govern the motion of "objects", why are there no rules that govern the behavior of other forms of energy? And if there are, and they are not the same as the laws that govern the behavior of mass, then what does this imply about the universe as a whole?

    February 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Frank Pendle

      It's just a matter of time before cience figures consciousness, Rob. How much time will depend on how much effort has to go into getting fairy tales out of the way of observable facts.

      BTW, there's a major magazine out this week that writes extensively about the subject. i don't completely buy the Singularity thing, but it's immensely intriguing to me.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Rob

      I think the key to understanding begins with an abstract level of thinking. More specifically, understanding the difference between what we experience and perceive as objects/nouns and what are actually processes/verbs. For example, it is easy to percive a flame as a thing/noun. But, in fact it is not, it is an action/verb. Similarly, "I", as a consciousness, am not a thing/non which can be governed by the Newton's Laws, I am a process/verb which follows an entirely different set of rules. In fact, it seems obvious, even on the surface, that the observable world is made up of energies that either "exist" or are "doing" various states of being. And that each state is governed by a different set of natural laws...

      February 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Not sure what you are getting at but the bird can fly away because it can expend energy (food) in a way (flapping) that can be used to cause motion (flying). The rock on the other hand, has no such ability.
      "why are there no rules that govern the behavior of other forms of energy?"
      There are rules for gravity (mass) and rules for light (electromagnetism) and rules for how the atom behaves (nuclear strong and weak). Some have been combined, I think, into Quantum Electro Dynamic, but they haven't got the quantum gravity rules figured out yet, so no Grand Unified Theory... yet.

      February 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Face

      I recommend Kinds of Minds by Daniel Dennet for starters... or Consciousness Explained by Dan. Den.

      Or do some research on the workings of AI right now
      GL and never stop asking questions

      February 16, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  9. Richard Alva

    Someday we will all have an opportunity to meet Science and we will realize Science and Religion were the same all along. Humans didn't create "religion." Humans didn't create "science." We have simply discovered these things and in our limited understanding have wrestled to define them and come to terms with them. I believe one explains the other and vice versa. Instead of new truths being constantly created in the universe I believe we are constantly learning what these are, better defining them, understanding them. Regardless of who believes what, I know we will all find out someday. These questions will not go unanswered forever. Sounds like a fairy tale right? Well, I'm either totally nuts or totally right. I like my odds.

    February 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Colin

      Sorry man, but that is such a pile of flakey c-r-a-p, that my money's on "nuts".

      February 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • marco

      You Are Actually Leaning Towards Reality, Dont Let Anyone Take That Away From You.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • some emo kid

      OK, so you say mankind 'discovered' religion? It was just lying around under a burning bush and we picked it up? Nice of you to admit it, anyway.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • FudgeMonkey

      Okay Mystical marco...Your Act is Wearing Thin. Being Cryptic Is Interesting For About Two Posts....Then It Just Becomes Annoying.

      February 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  10. Bethiveta

    Atheists are such an angry lot. The thing I don't get- why it's so easy to wrap the mind around the idea of aliens but poo-poo the idea of a grand creation. Also, atheists could lighten up a bit. Get a little sense of humor back. It's possible to be smart AND funny. Nudge, nudge, wink wink. I'm a scientist and religious. To wit: I'm smart enough to know I don't know everything.

    February 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Colin

      I fail to see the connection between the plausibility of life in other parts of the Universe with the plausibility that there is a creator of the Universe that sent it's "son" to the Middle east 2,000 years ago to talk about sheep and goats.

      second, if you are religious in any traditional sense, your faith will in fact claim to know all the answers.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      You're a "religious scientist?" Yeah, I bet. I'm the queen of Romania, how do you do? Um, here's how I can tell you work at a minit mart or something: you don't know the procedure. Your big fail was "atheist=angry" and your second one was "atheist=humorless." TWO unproven theories, and not a whiff of testing anywhere; you are not a scientist. You'd have said "I perceive atheists as angry/humorless," not that they are. My hypothesis is that you have at least some college, but not enough to distinguish "pooh-pooh" from actual poo-poo. Now, get your elbows off the counter before your manager comes back and start watching what those kids are doing at the magazine rack.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • james

      @Colin – in my experience, faith is the lack of answers. It's very liberating.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • some emo kid

      I can wrap my mind around aliens a lot quicker than I can wrap it around a "religious" scientist whose religion doesn't have all the answers. You aren't a Christian or Muslim, so I'd guess you worship Spongebob Squarepants. Let's just assume it's that, because otherwise I'd be an atheist with a sense of humor.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • BR

      @Bethiveta-Because we actually know that other parts of the universe are real...kind of helps the credibility along. I have a great sense of humor...Love Monty Python...ironic you should reference them. Have you never seen Life of Bryan?

      February 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • NL

      What's so hard to believe about aliens? They'd have evolved on their home planets, right? They'd be able to do things and travel places we couldn't due to more advanced science, and not magic. It's not like people commonly believe that aliens are eternal, that they created the universe, or some other crazy stuff. When Neil Armstrong stepped off of that lunar lander wasn't he an alien visiting that world? If we keep advancing and manage to develop faster than light speed spacecraft we could very well cause UFO mania for some other species, right?

      "I'm a scientist and religious. To wit: I'm smart enough to know I don't know everything."
      Ah, but you choose to characterize what you don't know as part of something that you cannot know for certain, God, right?

      February 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • FudgeMonkey

      It's especially ironic that Beth is critcal of Athiests while referencing the makers of one of the most blasphemous (to Christians) works of the 20th Century. It is growing tiresome that we constantly have people saying that "athiests have no sense of humor", or "all Christians are judgemental".

      I don't have all the answers. In the absence of proof, I can proclaim nothing. But I'm not angry. A lot of my friends are Christians, try to convert me all the time...it's cool with me. I know I don't believe, and if they want to, that's fine. Live and let live.

      February 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Whenever a thumper asks an atheist why they are angry, I want to ask the thumper why they are stupid...

      February 16, 2011 at 2:57 am |
  11. Colin

    Can science and religion be friends? Hmmm, le'ts see.

    Science – Hello Religion, I'm science. I am about 3,000 years old.

    Religion – Hello Science, I am older than you. As far as we can tell, I go back about 40,000 years or more. There is even evidence that Neanderthals practiced me.

    Science – Really!! How do we know that, religion?

    Religion – Because of you.

    Science – So, religion, what do you do?

    Religion – Well, in the USA, I give comfort to not very smart people by letting them think that a being powerful ennough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies will cause them to live happily ever after in heaven after they die if they follow some rules laid down by farmers and hearders in the Middle East 2,000 years ago.

    Science – You're s-h-i-t-t-i-n-g me. They buy that.

    Religion – You'd be surprised. Not only that, but in poorer, less educated parts of the World, I can actually convince people to hit themselves until they bleed, starve themselves, bob in front of a stone wall for hours on end, wade into filthy rivers and, in some cases, to kill other people or even themselves.

    Science – Oh my goodness, I'm not sure I want to be your friend. Do you do any good?

    Religion – I sell a lot of books. And what about you science, what do you do.

    Science – I relieve pain and cure disease, I extend lives, allow travel, communication, and people to understand and control their environment. I allow humans to explore outer space, the bottom of the oceans and the smallest of particles. In short, I have allowed humans to live with a degree of knowledge comfort once never dreamed of.

    Religion – Wow, they buy that.

    Science – No, of course not. Unlike you, I have to deliver. I cannot claim something and avoid skepticism by alleging that my claim is "beyond understanding" or otherwise exempt from critical analysis or proof.

    Religion – that's gotts s-u-c-k.

    Science – you get used to it. Anyway, I need a friend I can rely on. One of substance, not dreams. One of proof, not spoof and one of intellectual discipline, not flakey promises. I don't think we can be friends. Please go away.

    Religion – now we both know that's not going to happen.

    February 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Where's the like button? Except we all know religion would say "There can be only one" and start stabbing science, just like real life.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • BR

      Presses 'like' button..............PRESS!!

      February 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Frank Pendle

      haaaa! that rocked. QFT.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Colin Rules

      Awesome. Thank you for making my day.

      February 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  12. james

    In my opinion, there's not one single approach, scientific or spiritual, to unlock all of the mysteries of existence in the infinite universe. Are science and religion mutually exclusive? Personally, I don't believe so. I don't feel that offering proof one way or the other about religion/spirituality is beneficial.

    What most spoke to me about this text is that the author wrote 'if God is to be found anywhere, it is in human consciousness.' In my own experience, I have become aware of my own consciousness and am sensitive to my own innate truth. This meta-consciousness is something I'm sure science can dissect, describe, catalogue and explain. However, for me personally, I instinctivly know that scientific explanation of my experience with what I believe to be Divine, will neither enhance my personal experience nor alter my belief. I've found my truth. I'll gladly discuss my experience or my belief with anyone with enough intelligence and sensitivity to maintain respect for me despite whatever points we may disagree on. (Religious right, leave me alone...)

    What I've written and the conclusion I've come to are not scientifically based... While I do love scientific curiosity and systematic reasoning, I believe that wisdom is rooted in admittance of and respect for the unexplainable.

    February 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • endure

      @James you wrote, "In my own experience, I have become aware of my own consciousness and am sensitive to my own innate truth. This meta-consciousness is something I'm sure science can dissect, describe, catalogue and explain."

      It is so intriguing to me to hear people talk about an innate truth or "your truth" and "my truth." Logically speaking, according to the law of noncontradiction, something cannot be x and not x at the same time. Therefore for a person to claim truth, it must be everyone's truth (this is scientific). If I claim my truth (x) and you claim your truth (which does not happen to be my truth, therefore not x), we obviously have a conflict and one of us is wrong. Something cannot be x and not x at the same time. If two people claim their own innate truth, but these two truths contradict each other, then one or both of these people are wrong. By definition, truth cannot be relative to one's own personal experience.

      Also, you sound confident that science can dissect, describe, catalogue and explain your meta-consciousness. I find that hard to believe since science cannot deal in this manner with something like love. What color is love? How much does love weigh? Science dissects, describes, catalogues and explains observable, physical data. There is nothing physical about a meta-consciousness. Yes, one might be able to describe it and even try to explain it, but at that point it becomes entirely subjective.

      This is why relying on one's own innate truth becomes messy. First, your own innate truth is going to contradict with someone else's truth (violating the law of noncontradiction) and second, your own innate truth becomes unscientific due to its lack of objective observability.

      February 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Normon

      It's true that Coke tastes better than Pepsi.

      February 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • endure

      I agree that Coke is better than Pepsi. However, in regards to truth, one cannot claim truth based on experience. This is part of my argument above. Saying it is true that Coke is better than Pepsi is entirely subjective based on experience. Comparing subjective, experiential preferences to objective truth is a farce. Absolute truth exists regardless of a person's experiences. It does not exist inside each individual, it exists outside the individual whether that individual likes it or not.

      February 16, 2011 at 2:48 am |
  13. Buster Bloodvessel

    Well, every time science looks the other way, religion tries to clap a bag over its head and tie it to a stake, all the while screaming "Burn the witch!" So the answer is "NO." Do I win anything?

    February 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  14. Can Science And Religion Be Friends?

    That would be a 'yes, Ma'am' Apageinthelife blog UFO Human Link The WorldTurns..The Secret of Min...just what state of mind we're in...

    February 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  15. Melissa

    "That something, I believe, will come down to a conscious universe."

    It should be interesting to see how they go about testing that hypothesis.

    February 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • james

      So it'll be a postulate and not a theorem.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  16. Denizen Kate

    Deepak Chopra is living proof that Christian televangelists are not the only ones good at combining self-delusion with self-promotion.

    February 15, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • kayjulia

      Very well said the man is a prince of self promotion similar to other self promoters that defrauded church goers out of millions, only he does it one book at a time so .... it's legal.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  17. marco

    The Highest Point Of Human Intellect And Recognizable Achievement Is The Advancement Of Modern Science Along With All Its Endless Branches. The Main Objective Of Modern Science Has Been To Verify Facts That Are Already Naturally Present. Coming To Understand These Facts And Their Counterparts Modern Science Has Not Put Much Effort To Understand Their Actual Causes. Rather Most Of The Time, Results Are Solely Used To Advance Whats Is Most Easily Perceived By The Majority. What Is Mostly Perceived By The Majority Is What We Know As Civilization Along With All Its Endless Divisions. From This Perspective We Automatically Limit Ourselves Only To What We Have Created, But Only With What We Have Come To Understand As A Whole. What Limits Our Understanding Is The Inability To KNOW, Or The Inability To Learn About The Causes. Modern Society And Its Educational Systems Focus Most Efforts On Countable Growth Or Measure. Success Has Been Generally Accepted By The Majority As The Attainment Of Intellect, Recognition, Or Physical Wealth If This Type Of Success Were True Then One Would Feel A Sense Of Purpose Or Completion In Their Life Without The Need To Strive For More. The Naked Truth Is That The Success That Is Perceived By The Majority Is Not A Personal Attainment But Rather A Supplemental Aid Or Fuel To The World That We Have Created. Instead Of Seeing Life As It Should Be In Its Purest Form We Have Come To Cloud It Beyond Comprehension And Have Lost Ourselves In Its Madness. The Most Recent Advancements In Mathematics, Quantum Physics And Psychology Paint A Very Different Picture Of The Universe. The Universe No Longer Seems Real, Time And Space Bow Downs To The Observer. The Observer Is What Molds Everything, Holds Everything, It Moves Everything In A Everlasting Dance. You Are The Only Real Thing, Your True Self Is Infinite And The Universe Serves You As A Resting Place To Expand And Experience All The Possibilities. The Lowest Point Of The Divine Man Is When Man Realizes The Richness Of Everything As It is, Finds Content In Everything And Lets Go Of Every Desire. This Is Success When The Thought Of Death No Longer Seems To Torment You, And Pain And Sorrow Are Reduced To Insignificance. In The Most Ancient Of Times Spirituality And Science Were One, Now It Is Known As The Occult, Or What Is Hidden. Their Is Only One Way To Attain The Highest Point Of Attainment. And That Is To Believe In Your Real Self, But First You Must Find This Real Self And Rescue It From Ignorance. blmgny.com/TheAlchemist

    February 15, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Why Are You Capitalizing Every Word? It Makes You Sound Crazy. Science Is All About Finding Causes, Not Verifying Facts, In Case You Are Interested. Why Don't You Go Watch Oprah Or Something?

      February 15, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • marco

      If Science Were About Finding Causes Then By Now It Should Of Had Been Able To Find At Least The One Cause. If Capitalizing Every Word Makes Me Look Crazy To You Then You Are A Easy Person To Deceive. And I Dont Watch TV, Oprah Wouldn't Even Be A Possibility.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • bmj

      You do realize that the only word you DIDN'T capitalize is your own name. I find that interesting.

      February 15, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  18. fsmgroupie

    GO Deepak!! Fleece those willing sheep. You deserve every dollar they give you.It just never ends,does it?They need you and are willing to pay for it. I see that grin!! Ching ching.

    February 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  19. Jorge

    "Can Science and Religion be friends?"-

    They were, until Science started saying that the world was round and that it rotated around the Sun, which made Religion look bad, so Religion got mad and threw Science into a dungeon for heresy until Education set it loose, then Science said that men should govern themselves, which made Religion look bad, so Religion got angry and censored Science until Democracy let it speak, then Science said that living things evolve, which made Religion look bad, so Religion got mad and ridiculed Science until Agriculture and Animal Husbandry redeemed it. Since then, Science and Religion haven't been on very good speaking terms...

    February 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Colin

      Well said!!

      February 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Very well put.

      February 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Magic

      Excellent, Jorge. Thank you.

      February 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Religion needs to be correct more often in the real world, instead of trying to make the real world match up to the book. I mean, the earth IS round. Why can't Christians just admit that and stop screaming "Heresy!" when you teach their kids?

      February 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • james

      I wouldn't dare defend religion, even though I do hold religious beliefs. You're absolutely right, religion has sought to silence science, not to mention propagate war etc... for centuries.

      I'll address another issue completely unrelated to religion and science. US culture has been becoming increasingly polarized ever since the 60s. Our natural reaction as Americans is to pick one side of any issue and rant, thereby reducing intellectual debate to a tug-of-war ego trip.

      I personally feel that no one ideology has cornered the market on truth.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Flora

      Haha, very well said. For centuries, science and religion have been like two squabbling teenagers, haven't they?

      February 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • FudgeMonkey

      I don't think it can be said any better than that. Jorge rules!

      February 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  20. Reality


    If you have not already done so, please watch Julia Sweeney's monologue "Letting Go of God". You are one of the "stars" in the show.

    To wit:

    "I was so intrigued with this quantum mechanics that Deepak refers to over and over and over again in his books, that I decided to take a class in it.

    And what I found is-Deepak Chopra is full of sh__!"

    Julia Sweeney, Letting Go of God

    (Ex-Catholic) Julia Sweeney's monologue "Letting Go Of God" will be the final nail in the coffin of religious belief/faith and is and will continue to be more effective than any money-generating book or your "Ultimate Happiness Prescription".

    Buy the DVD or watch it on Showtime. Check your cable listings.

    from http://www.amazon.com

    "Letting Go of God ~ Julia Sweeney (DVD – 2008)

    Five Star Rating

    February 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • sealchan

      Thanks for the reference. I will check this out on Netflix!

      One of the functions of a societies' myth is to explain the origins of things and the reasons why things are the way that they are and connect that to the rest of that belief system. The form that this takes has always been in the form of a story, particularly one with some intrinsic entertainment value. But for a long time now that function has been more and more served best by science. People desperately hold onto these "traditional", but dead, explanations because they cannot discriminately pick and choose from their religion's sacred teachings.

      This does not exhaust the value of myth (aka religion, spirituality, etc) however as it also serves the role of preparing individuals to become members of society through rites and rituals as well as to serve to effect psychological transformation and understanding when individuals find themselves personally out-of-balance with that society.

      The problem I tend to have with Deepak Chopra and his ilk is that he is still trying to explain where things come from in a literal sense while appealing to personal spiritual truths or perceived truths. To some extent this is valid but in the New Age movement this is entirely overdone. These writers are not using the craft of story to artfully restrict the intuitions about the metaphysical in a balanced way. They are not connecting their ideas back to individual characters that we can personally related to nor are they creating/describing specific rituals that are actually practiced by anyone.

      Two concepts in our modern culture qualify as primary myths: free will and consciousness. Myths, if they are a living truth, will always seem self-evident to the culture who believes in them. So I would not be surprised to hear of atheists and agnostics disagree with the idea of free will or consciousness as myths. These concepts are necessary faith assumptions that make our Western culture work on the most basic level.

      Christianity and other religions have much to offer to help us to come to terms with our society and its mythic construct. This is a battle of our psyches moreso than a battle of spirituality vs science. Science has as much to offer as our historical treasure house of mythic tales in this regard.

      February 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.