Statue of Shiva in front of the CERN scientific center near Geneva.
Mutual respect bloomed between Western science and Eastern religions throughout the 20th century, while an unfortunate gulf continued to widen between science and Western religion due mostly to fundamentalist, literal interpretations of the Bible. Though my background was mostly Christian, I recall the thrill thirty-plus years ago of reading Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics and appreciating the vital parallels he noted between what our scientists were discovering and what the Hindus, Buddhists and Taoists had been saying for millennia.
This was the topic of a brief essay last week by Philip Goldberg in The Huffington Post. I consider this to be a salient paragraph:
The interaction of Eastern spirituality and Western science has expanded methods of stress reduction, treatment of chronic disease, psychotherapy and other areas. But that is only part of the story. Hindu and Buddhist descriptions of higher stages of consciousness have expanded psychology's understanding of human development and inspired the formation of provocative new theories of consciousness itself.
Their ancient philosophies have also influenced physicists, among them Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg and J. Robert Oppenheimer, who read from the Bhagavad Gita at a memorial service for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his landmark TV series Cosmos, Carl Sagan called Hinduism the only religion whose time-scale for the universe matches the billions of years documented by modern science. Sagan filmed that segment in a Hindu temple featuring a statue of the god Shiva as the cosmic dancer, an image that now stands in the plaza of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva.
Click here for the complete essay.