Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mark Vernon's "Science, Religion and the Meaning of Life"

Mark Vernon is a writer, broadcaster and journalist. He is the author of Science, Religion and the Meaning of Life, The Philosophy of Friendship, and Business: the Key Concepts.

He applied the "Page 99 Test" to Science, Religion and the Meaning of Life and reported the following:
On p99 of my book, Science, Religion and the Meaning of Life, I am asking myself a question: should I start going back to church? Therein lies the story of the book.

I used to be a priest in the Church of England. Then, after a few years, I left, a conviction atheist. But then, something else unexpected happened. Gradually, I became a passionate agnostic.

I came to think that being absolutely sure that there is not a god is as deluded as being absolutely sure that there is a god. Both are dogmatic positions since the evidence hangs in the balance. But then the question for me became: how to be a committed agnostic? In particular, can it be more than just a shrug of the shoulders or a de facto atheism? Or, is a spirituality based only on art galleries and enjoying music enough? Can such an attitude add up to a way of life or is it a cop out?

In my book, I try to show how it can and, moreover, why the agnostic way of life increasingly matters in our age of certainties and extremes.

As for whether or not to go back to church - the quick answer is sometimes. I see now that religions carry a wisdom that is simply not expressed in any other form, for all that contemporary believers so often make a horrid mess of it. But I go back as a religiously inspired agnostic, since I am equally sure that I cannot make the assertions of faith that modern church-going so often requires. I am drawn to churches where the architecture and music speak louder than words.
Visit Mark Vernon's website, his blog, and read an excerpt from Science, Religion and the Meaning of Life.

--Marshal Zeringue