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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 14. September 26, 1957

No Ostrich Me

No Ostrich Me

May I take this opportunity to clarify my views, which were thoughtfully criticised by Mr. Price in your August 1st issue?

Although "essential religion" cannot be strictly defined if the concept is to retain any depth, some idea of its meaning might be gained if one considers the relative importance of, say. strict, observance of contemporary orthodox church lore and an individual realization of the closeness, and value of God as a guide and companion, without conventional expression, if this is real, then it must exist independently of fluctuating church attendances and its position on the popularity poll of university discussion. The [unclear: vm] is used in an attempt to distinguish shallow "Sunday-only" worship from "living religion".

The "storm of inevitable progress" does refer more to the steady and unquestionable advance in scientific knowledge than in other spheres of human activity. Science does not necessarily disprove religion; in fact, it sometimes clarifies it, and corrects erroneous impression which have arise from a wide-eyed, credulous attitude to the Biblical scripture the origin of man, the age and history of his physical universe, are still points of contention between science and some religious groups. I find statements like: "God is omnipotent, with Him nothing is impossible . . and "Science will ultimately explain all things that we are conscious of even if we become conscious of all things . . fundamentally contradictory; yet as a scientist. I work with implicit faith in the truth of the latter statement. My Christian faith might ultimately be included within the infinite bounds of science.

I choose the latter of these two aspects of science and religion by considering, firstly, the self-consistency of each, and observing that whilst each statement implies universal consistency, the former is as yet an isolated principle which must at present be merely believed", as people once "believe" that the sun and stars rotated about [unclear: the earth] while the latter is an extension of the present scientific trend. The world is a closed but unbounded surface whether people choose to believe it or not. This very consistency may be made the basis of a world view which is neither completely materialistic nor confusing. Although I do not claim to be a "confusions", as Mr. Price wrongly suggests. I am at least aware of confusing and contradictory views (not being an ostrich) which interfere with my own to some extent, and I am interested in seeing whether a more truthful view might be cast from the melting pot of student ideas, even if it refutes the reality of God. It is only by opening one's mind to our own and contemporary ideas, ideals and actions that we may arrive at some approximation to the "truth" in its absolute sense.

Truth at the level of "sense perception" or scientific truth often seems inadequate. Rational explanations of religious events are difficult to formulate in terms of contemporary knowledge. One does not question the truthfulness of "Christ was crucified on Calvary" (so were others) if he accepts the historical accurate of the statement, but this is less important than the claimed significance of His death, which is more open to question.


Drawing of man studying