Cultural Traditions and Contemporary World Views

Cultural Traditions and Contemporary World Views

Cultural Traditions and Contemporary World Views 150 150 Peter

Discussion 1: Science and Religion: Cultural Traditions and Contemporary World Views

In many traditions—both monotheistic and polytheistic—that have arisen in the last 10,000 years, gods and goddesses have been anthropomorphized into human form. Yet, despite their physical and emotional similarities to humans, these gods are often relegated to realms above and below earth. In this way, humans project their own understanding of the world upon their deities, yet maintain a well-defined separation from them in order to preserve the unknowable nature of the Divine. In the conclusion of his book, Dr. Sharpe seeks to step past this separation. He raises the concept of seeing the world as a whole as a spiritual entity and science as a way of coming to know that entity better. Through this lens he ceases to see a conflict between the two subjects of Science and Spirituality.

To prepare for this Discussion:

· Review this week’s readings in Chapter 7, Chapter 8, and Interlude 4 of the course text, which focus on Divine projections and scientific hypotheses about the Universe.

· Consider the question of whether or not science is always objective, or if it has elements of subjectivity.

· Reflect on some of the contemporary secular views about the environment and the world as a whole, and consider how thinkers from different scientific or spiritual traditions might react to these views.

Post a 3- to 4-paragraph response describing your reaction to Dr. Sharpe’s conclusion. Analyze how different scientific and spiritual traditions connect with or differ from contemporary secular views about the world. Then, explain why you think Dr. Sharpe’s view of the Universe as a whole spiritual entity unto itself does, or does not, successfully bridge the gap between scientific and spiritual thinking. Support your assertions by making at least 2 references, in proper APA format, to your course readings.


Sharpe, K. J., & Bryant, R. I. (2005). Has science displaced the soul? Debating love and happiness. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

· Chapter 7, “Divine Projections” (pp. 125 – 134) In this chapter, Dr. Sharpe introduces the notion of divine projections. He examines the human need to project our own desires, attitudes, values, and purposes onto our perception of the Divine, and talks about how these projections sometimes outlive the cultures that produce them. He cautions that these projections may be at the root of many of the conflicts between Science and Religion, and he proposes a way to reconstruct our image of the Divine so that it can encompass both scientific and spiritual thought.

· Chapter 8, “Scientific Hypotheses” (pp. 135 – 146) In this chapter, Dr. Sharpe puts forth his own solutions on how to reconcile the conflicts between Science and Religion, so that the two schools of thought may instead work in concert to further human understanding of love, happiness, and the Divine.

· Interlude 4, “Ted Peters’ Conflagration Band-Aid” (pp. 113 – 124) In Interlude 4, Dr. Sharpe analyzes the ideas of Ted Peters, another academic thinker who tried to reconcile the dualisms between scientific and religious schools of thought.