Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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6 / Dialogue We shall not cease from exploration And the end of our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. . . Mormonism's understanding of man as a potential god who through his free agency can progress eternally can also help in the unification of science and religion. Such a concept focuses on man as a co-creator with God, one who, working with and learning from God, can change his life and his world in a positive way. According to Brigham Young, the real test of our lives here is to see whether we will learn to use knowledge and power as God does. Mormons see God as the ultimate scientist: He knows all laws of the Universe and operates through and by those laws. This is why, as Duane Jeffrey states elsewhere in this issue, "Mor-monism [has] a basis for synthesis [of science and religion] that exists in few if any other Western religions." Mormonism's avowed commitment to and vigilant quest of truth could also help bring science and religion together. But this commitment must first be manifest in the Church before it can be manifest in the world, and this means that Mormons must be more willing to open their hearts and minds to discern and accept truth—even when it goes against cherished myths and traditions. This is what President John Taylor meant when he said, "Our religion . . . embraces every principle of truth and intelligence pertaining to us as moral, intellectual, mortal and immortal beings, pertaining to this world and the world that is to come. We are open to truth of every kind, no matter whence it comes, where it originates, or who believes it." Our belief that all truth can be circumscribed into one great whole should help us realize that the conflict between science and religion, though real and often of earth-shaking proportions, is after all only a temporary conflict caused by the fact that we now see through a glass darkly. Although our partial understanding of both science and religion prevents our seeing how they are unified, in our deepest selves we undoubtedly sense this unity. As Ihab Hassan has said, "Perhaps this is where science and prophesy meet: in deep fictions of the mind, still locked in emblems of our sleep." Finally, Mormonism, as a Christian religion, can help foster the unification of science and religion through affirming the central principle of Christ's life—love. The Christian message continually emphasizes the possibilities of new life through love. This is what Teilhard de Chardin calls "Christogenesis," the rebirth and unification of the world through Christ. Teilhard saw this as the last stage in man's evolutionary process. He says, ". . . it is above all Christ who invests Himself with the whole reality of the Universe; but at the same time it is the Universe which is illumined with all the warmth and immortality of Christ [what Mormons call "the Spirit of Christ," which is in all things]. So that finally ... a new impulse becomes possible and is now beginning to take shape in human consciousness. Born of the psychic combination of two kinds of faith—in the transcendent action of a personal God and the innate perfectibility of a world in progress— it is an impulse, (or better, a spirit of love) that is truly evolutionary." And, one might add, revolutionary. Such a vision may seem radical to most Christians, but it is the ultimate flowering of the Mormon concept of God and man.