Dual Universe: Eternity | Spacetime

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1  Faith and Reason

A sense of the existence of a spirit world pervades religion. It is often reinforced by the awe invoked by our surroundings, from the majesty of mountains, planets, stars, and galaxies, to the ferocity of storms on oceans or hurricanes on land, to the beauty of meadows, forests, and rivers. Such sensations may be telling us something about our spiritual relationship to the environment and life that sustains it. A sense of something beyond space and time is also evoked by the physical experience of birth and death, by the depth of love that can develop between people, by the spiritual experiences of those who meditate deeply, by encounters with inexplicable remissions of physical limitations or fatal illness, or by perceptions that instantaneously bridge great distances.

We know that a sense of a spirit world emerged in that phase of our recent evolution when we found we had an inner life and that we could examine it, and communicate to others our inner experiences and our thoughts about their mysteries. This was the beginning of a world view, and the beginning of ethical and esthetic theories. At the center of this evolving belief system some awareness of spirituality has remained -- a feeling that there is a deeper aspect to reality than the world view and ethos that we articulate with our evolving rational mind. Out of this awareness we developed spirit religions and later the formalized religions of tribes and empires. Throughout this history, the spiritual aspect of religion and the nature of reality has remained a mystery.

I suggest this mystery is heightened by the resolute avoidance by science of matters related to religion. This is understandable after centuries of persecution in which attempts to examine the nature of the world rationally were punished by torture and murder. However, it is now permissible to approach religious concepts from a scientific standpoint, and explore whether a new approach to the nature of the physical world might offer a way to reconcile science and religion in a unified reality.

My approach is to seek a scientific understanding of eternity, a fundamental concept of many religions. I pick this topic because it is a perplexing subject in both religion and science and may be fundamental to both, involving both spirituality and materiality. As such it may bring two universes of thought closer together and help resolve long-standing disagreements. In the process, it may suggest alternative world views that we might encounter if we were ever to make contact with an extraterrestrial civilization.

Updated 3/23/2017

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