Manual The Revolution in Metaphysics: Reflections on Religion and Religious Science

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The Scientific Revolution
Contents:


  1. Distinctions between doctrine and dogma
  2. Doctrine and dogma
  3. Chapter 7: Paradigms in Religion – Religion Online
  4. Introduction

Several Christian authors have attempted to integrate science and religion e. They tend to interpret findings from the sciences, such as evolutionary theory or chaos theory, in a theological light, using established theological models, e. John Haught argues that the theological view of kenosis self-emptying anticipates scientific findings such as evolutionary theory: a self-emptying God i. The dominant epistemological outlook in Christian science and religion has been critical realism, a position that applies both to theology theological realism and to science scientific realism.

Barbour introduced this view into the science and religion literature; it has been further developed by theologians such as Arthur Peacocke and Wentzel van Huyssteen Critical realism has distinct flavors in the works of different authors, for instance, van Huyssteen , develops a weak form of critical realism set within a postfoundationalist notion of rationality, where theological views are shaped by social, cultural, and evolved biological factors. Murphy — outlines doctrinal and scientific requirements for approaches in science and religion: ideally, an integrated approach should be broadly in line with Christian doctrine, especially core tenets such as the doctrine of creation, while at the same time it should be in line with empirical observations without undercutting scientific practices.

Several historians e. Peter Harrison thinks the doctrine of original sin played a crucial role in this, arguing there was a widespread belief in the early modern period that Adam, prior to the fall, had superior senses, intellect, and understanding. As a result of the fall, human senses became duller, our ability to make correct inferences was diminished, and nature itself became less intelligible.

Postlapsarian humans i. They must supplement their reasoning and senses with observation through specialized instruments, such as microscopes and telescopes. As Robert Hooke wrote in the introduction to his Micrographia :. As a result, the Condemnation opened up intellectual space to think beyond ancient Greek natural philosophy. For example, medieval philosophers such as John Buridan fl. As further evidence for a formative role of Christianity in the development of science, some authors point to the Christian beliefs of prominent natural philosophers of the seventeenth century.

For example, Clark writes,. Exclude God from the definition of science and, in one fell definitional swoop, you exclude the greatest natural philosophers of the so-called scientific revolution—Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo, Boyle, and Newton to name just a few. Others authors even go as far as to claim that Christianity was unique and instrumental in catalyzing the scientific revolution—according to Rodney Stark , the scientific revolution was in fact a slow, gradual development from medieval Christian theology.

In spite of these positive readings of the relationship between science and religion in Christianity, there are sources of enduring tension. For example, there is still vocal opposition to the theory of evolution among Christian fundamentalists. Additionally, it refers to a culture which flourished within this political and religious context, with its own philosophical and scientific traditions Dhanani As the second largest religion in the world, Islam shows a wide variety of beliefs.

Beyond this, Muslims disagree on a number of doctrinal issues. The relationship between Islam and science is complex. Today, predominantly Muslim countries, such as the United Arabic Emirates, enjoy high urbanization and technological development, but they underperform in common metrics of scientific research, such as publications in leading journals and number of citations per scientist see Edis Moreover, Islamic countries are also hotbeds for pseudoscientific ideas, such as Old Earth creationism, the creation of human bodies on the day of resurrection from the tailbone, and the superiority of prayer in treating lower-back pain instead of conventional methods Guessoum 4—5.

The contemporary lack of scientific prominence is remarkable given that the Islamic world far exceeded European cultures in the range and quality of its scientific knowledge between approximately the ninth and the fifteenth century, excelling in domains such as mathematics algebra and geometry, trigonometry in particular , astronomy seriously considering, but not adopting, heliocentrism , optics, and medicine.

A major impetus for Arabic science was the patronage of the Abbasid caliphate — , centered in Baghdad. The former founded the Bayt al-Hikma House of Wisdom , which commissioned translations of major works by Aristotle, Galen, and many Persian and Indian scholars into Arabic. It was cosmopolitan in its outlook, employing astronomers, mathematicians, and physicians from abroad, including Indian mathematicians and Nestorian Christian astronomers. Throughout the Arabic world, public libraries attached to mosques provided access to a vast compendium of knowledge, which spread Islam, Greek philosophy, and Arabic science.

The use of a common language Arabic , as well as common religious and political institutions and flourishing trade relations encouraged the spread of scientific ideas throughout the empire. Some of this transmission was informal, e. The decline and fall of the Abbasid caliphate dealt a blow to Arabic science, but it remains unclear why it ultimately stagnated, and why it did not experience something analogous to the scientific revolution in Western Europe. Some liberal Muslim authors, such as Fatima Mernissi , argue that the rise of conservative forms of Islamic philosophical theology stifled more scientifically-minded natural philosophers.

This book vindicated more orthodox Muslim religious views. As Muslim intellectual life became more orthodox, it became less open to non-Muslim philosophical ideas, which led to the decline of Arabic science. The study of law fiqh was more stifling for Arabic science than developments in theology. The eleventh century saw changes in Islamic law that discouraged heterodox thought: lack of orthodoxy could now be regarded as apostasy from Islam zandaqa which is punishable by death, whereas before, a Muslim could only apostatize by an explicit declaration Griffel Given that heterodox thoughts could be interpreted as apostasy, this created a stifling climate for Arabic science.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, as science and technology became firmly entrenched in Western society, Muslim empires were languishing or colonized. Scientific ideas, such as evolutionary theory, were equated with European colonialism, and thus met with distrust. In spite of this negative association between science and Western modernity, there is an emerging literature on science and religion by Muslim scholars mostly scientists.

The physicist Nidhal Guessoum holds that science and religion are not only compatible, but in harmony. Nevertheless, Muslim scientists such as Guessoum and Rana Dajani have advocated acceptance of evolution. In contrast to the major monotheistic religions, Hinduism does not draw a sharp distinction between God and creation while there are pantheistic and panentheistic views in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, these are minority positions.

Many Hindus believe in a personal God, and identify this God as immanent in creation. This view has ramifications for the science and religion debate, in that there is no sharp ontological distinction between creator and creature Subbarayappa Philosophical theology in Hinduism and other Indic religions is usually referred to as dharma , and religious traditions originating on the Indian subcontinent, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, are referred to as dharmic religions. One factor that unites dharmic religions is the importance of foundational texts, which were formulated during the Vedic period, between ca.


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More gods were added in the following centuries e. Ancient Vedic rituals encouraged knowledge of diverse sciences, including astronomy, linguistics, and mathematics. Astronomical knowledge was required to determine the timing of rituals and the construction of sacrificial altars. Linguistics developed out of a need to formalize grammatical rules for classical Sanskrit, which was used in rituals.

Large public offerings also required the construction of elaborate altars, which posed geometrical problems and thus led to advances in geometry. Classic Vedic texts also frequently used very large numbers, for instance, to denote the age of humanity and the Earth, which required a system to represent numbers parsimoniously, giving rise to a base positional system and a symbolic representation for zero as a placeholder, which would later be imported in other mathematical traditions Joseph In this way, ancient Indian dharma encouraged the emergence of the sciences.

Around the sixth—fifth century BCE, the northern part of the Indian subcontinent experienced an extensive urbanization. The latter defended a form of metaphysical naturalism, denying the existence of gods or karma. The relationship between science and religion on the Indian subcontinent is complex, in part because the dharmic religions and philosophical schools are so diverse.

Such views were close to philosophical naturalism in modern science, but this school disappeared in the twelfth century. He formulated design and cosmological arguments, drawing on analogies between the world and artifacts: in ordinary life, we never see non-intelligent agents produce purposive design, yet the universe is suitable for human life, just like benches and pleasure gardens are designed for us.

Given that the universe is so complex that even an intelligent craftsman cannot comprehend it, how could it have been created by non-intelligent natural forces? Brown From to , India was under British colonial rule. This had a profound influence on its culture. Hindus came into contact with Western science and technology. For local intellectuals, the contact with Western science presented a challenge: how to assimilate these ideas with their Hindu beliefs?

Mahendrahal Sircar — was one of the first authors to examine evolutionary theory and its implications for Hindu religious beliefs. Sircar was an evolutionary theist, who believed that God used evolution to create the current life forms. Evolutionary theism was not a new hypothesis in Hinduism, but the many lines of empirical evidence Darwin provided for evolution gave it a fresh impetus.

While Sircar accepted organic evolution through common descent, he questioned the mechanism of natural selection as it was not teleological, which went against his evolutionary theism—this was a widespread problem for the acceptance of evolutionary theory, one that Christian evolutionary theists also wrestled with Bowler Brown chapter 6. The assimilation of Western culture prompted various revivalist movements that sought to reaffirm the cultural value of Hinduism. Responses to evolutionary theory were as diverse as Christian views on this subject, ranging from creationism denial of evolutionary theory based on a perceived incompatibility with Vedic texts to acceptance see C.

Brown for a thorough overview. Authors such as Dayananda Saraswati — rejected evolutionary theory. More generally, he claimed that Hinduism and science are in harmony: Hinduism is scientific in spirit, as is evident from its long history of scientific discovery Vivekananda Sri Aurobindo Ghose, a yogi and Indian nationalist, who was educated in the West, formulated a synthesis of evolutionary thought and Hinduism.

He interpreted the classic avatara doctrine, according to which God incarnates into the world repeatedly throughout time, in evolutionary terms.

Distinctions between doctrine and dogma

He proposed a metaphysical picture where both spiritual evolution reincarnation and avatars and physical evolution are ultimately a manifestation of God Brahman. Brown for discussion. During the twentieth century, Indian scientists began to gain prominence, including C. Raman — , a Nobel Prize winner in physics, and Satyendra Nath Bose — , a theoretical physicist who described the behavior of photons statistically, and who gave his name to bosons. However, these authors were silent on the relationship between their scientific work and their religious beliefs.

By contrast, the mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan — was open about his religious beliefs and their influence on his mathematical work. He claimed that the goddess Namagiri helped him to intuit solutions to mathematical problems. Likewise, Jagadish Chandra Bose — , a theoretical physicist, biologist, biophysicist, botanist, and archaeologist, who worked on radio waves, saw the Hindu idea of unity reflected in the study of nature.

He started the Bose institute in Kolkata in , the earliest interdisciplinary scientific institute in India Subbarayappa Current work in the field of science and religion encompasses a wealth of topics, including free will, ethics, human nature, and consciousness. Contemporary natural theologians discuss fine-tuning, in particular design arguments based on it e. Collins , the interpretation of multiverse cosmology, and the significance of the Big Bang. For instance, authors such as Hud Hudson have explored the idea that God has actualized the best of all possible multiverses.

Here follows an overview of two topics that generated substantial interest and debate over the past decades: divine action and the closely related topic of creation , and human origins. Before scientists developed their views on cosmology and origins of the world, Western cultures already had an elaborate doctrine of creation, based on Biblical texts e. This doctrine of creation has the following interrelated features: first, God created the world ex nihilo, i. Differently put, God did not need any pre-existing materials to make the world, unlike, e. Rather, God created the world freely.

Third, the doctrine of creation holds that creation is essentially good this is repeatedly affirmed in Genesis 1. The world does contain evil, but God does not directly cause this evil to exist. Moreover, God does not merely passively sustain creation, but rather plays an active role in it, using special divine actions e. Fourth, God made provisions for the end of the world, and will create a new heaven and earth, in this way eradicating evil. Related to the doctrine of creation are views on divine action.

Theologians commonly draw a distinction between general and special divine action. Unfortunately, there is no universally accepted definition of these two concepts in the fields of theology or science and religion. One way to distinguish them Wildman is to regard general divine action as the creation and sustenance of reality, and special divine action as the collection of specific providential acts, often at particular times and places, such as miracles and revelations to prophets.

Drawing this distinction allows for creatures to be autonomous and indicates that God does not micromanage every detail of creation. Still, the distinction is not always clear-cut, as some phenomena are difficult to classify as either general or special divine action.

Roots of the Scientific Revolution

Alston makes a related distinction between direct and indirect divine acts. God brings about direct acts without the use of natural causes, whereas indirect acts are achieved through natural causes. Using this distinction, there are four possible kinds of actions that God could do: God could not act in the world at all, God could act only directly, God could act only indirectly, or God could act both directly and indirectly.

In the science and religion literature, there are two central questions on creation and divine action. To what extent are the Christian doctrine of creation and traditional views of divine action compatible with science? How can these concepts be understood within a scientific context, e. Note that the doctrine of creation says nothing about the age of the Earth, nor that it specifies a mode of creation. This allows for a wide range of possible views within science and religion, of which Young Earth Creationism is but one that is consistent with scripture.

The theory seems to support creatio ex nihilo as it specifies that the universe originated from an extremely hot and dense state around The net result of scientific findings since the seventeenth century has been that God was increasingly pushed into the margins. This encroachment of science on the territory of religion happened in two ways: first, scientific findings—in particular from geology and evolutionary theory—challenged and replaced biblical accounts of creation.

While the doctrine of creation does not contain details of the mode and timing of creation, the Bible was regarded as authoritative. Second, the emerging concept of scientific laws in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century physics seemed to leave no room for special divine action.

These two challenges will be discussed below, along with proposed solutions in the contemporary science and religion literature. Christian authors have traditionally used the Bible as a source of historical information. Biblical exegesis of the creation narratives, especially Genesis 1 and 2 and some other scattered passages, such as in the Book of Job , remains fraught with difficulties.

Are these texts to be interpreted in a historical, metaphorical, or poetic fashion, and what are we to make of the fact that the order of creation differs between these accounts Harris ? Although such literalist interpretations of the Biblical creation narratives were not uncommon, and are still used by Young Earth creationists today, theologians before Ussher already offered alternative, non-literalist readings of the biblical materials e. From the seventeenth century onward, the Christian doctrine of creation came under pressure from geology, with findings suggesting that the Earth was significantly older than BCE.

From the eighteenth century on, natural philosophers, such as de Maillet, Lamarck, Chambers, and Darwin, proposed transmutationist what would now be called evolutionary theories, which seem incompatible with scriptural interpretations of the special creation of species. Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett have outlined a divine action spectrum to clarify the distinct positions about creation and divine action in the contemporary science and religion literature.

They discern two dimensions in this spectrum: the degree of divine action in the natural world, and the form of causal explanations that relate divine action to natural processes. At one extreme are creationists. Like other theists, they believe God has created the world and its fundamental laws, and that God occasionally performs special divine actions miracles that intervene in the fabric of laws. Creationists deny any role of natural selection in the origin of species. Within creationism, there are Old and Young Earth creationism, with the former accepting geology and rejecting evolutionary biology, and the latter rejecting both.

Next to creationism is Intelligent Design, which affirms divine intervention in natural processes. Intelligent Design creationists e. Like other creationists, they deny a significant role for natural selection in shaping organic complexity and they affirm an interventionist account of divine action.

For political reasons they do not label their intelligent designer as God, as they hope to circumvent the constitutional separation of church and state in the US which prohibits teaching religious doctrines in public schools Forrest and Gross Theistic evolutionists hold a non-interventionist approach to divine action: God creates indirectly, through the laws of nature e.

For example, the theologian John Haught regards divine providence as self-giving love, and natural selection and other natural processes as manifestations of this love, as they foster autonomy and independence. While theistic evolutionists allow for special divine action, particularly the miracle of the Incarnation in Christ e. Deism is still a long distance from ontological materialism, the idea that the material world is all there is. Views on divine action were influenced by developments in physics and their philosophical interpretation.

In the seventeenth century, natural philosophers, such as Robert Boyle and John Wilkins, developed a mechanistic view of the world as governed by orderly and lawlike processes. Laws, understood as immutable and stable, created difficulties for the concept of special divine action Pannenberg How could God act in a world that was determined by laws? One way to regard miracles and other forms of special divine action is to see them as actions that somehow suspend or ignore the laws of nature.

This concept of divine action is commonly labeled interventionist. Interventionism regards the world as causally deterministic, so God has to create room for special divine actions. By contrast, non-interventionist forms of divine action e. In the seventeenth century, the explanation of the workings of nature in terms of elegant physical laws suggested the ingenuity of a divine designer. Another conclusion that the new laws-based physics suggested was that the universe was able to run smoothly without requiring an intervening God.

The increasingly deterministic understanding of the universe, ruled by deterministic causal laws as, for example, outlined by Pierre-Simon Laplace — , seemed to leave no room for special divine action, which is a key element of the traditional Christian doctrine of creation. Alston argued, contra authors such as Polkinghorne , that mechanistic, pre-twentieth century physics is compatible with divine action and divine free will. In such a mechanistic world, every event is an indirect divine act. Advances in twentieth-century physics, including the theories of general and special relativity, chaos theory, and quantum theory, overturned the mechanical clockwork view of creation.

In the latter half of the twentieth century, chaos theory and quantum physics have been explored as possible avenues to reinterpret divine action. One difficulty with this model is that it moves from our knowledge of the world to assumptions about how the world is: does chaos theory mean that outcomes are genuinely undetermined, or that we as limited humans cannot predict them? Robert Russell proposed that God acts in quantum events.

This would allow God to directly act in nature without having to contravene the laws of nature, and is therefore a non-interventionist model. Since, under the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, there are no natural efficient causes at the quantum level, God is not reduced to a natural cause. Murphy outlined a similar bottom-up model where God acts in the space provided by quantum indeterminacy. After all, it is not even clear whether quantum theory would allow for free human action, let alone divine action, which we do not know much about Jaeger a.

Next to this, William Carroll , building on Thomistic philosophy, argues that authors such as Murphy and Polkinghorne are making a category mistake: God is not a cause in a way creatures are causes, competing with natural causes, and God does not need indeterminacy in order to act in the world.

Rather, as primary cause God supports and grounds secondary causes. While this solution is compatible with determinism indeed, on this view, the precise details of physics do not matter much , it blurs the distinction between general and special divine action. Moreover, the Incarnation suggests that the idea of God as a cause among natural causes is not an alien idea in theology, and that God at least sometimes acts as a natural cause Sollereder There has been a debate on the question to what extent randomness is a genuine feature of creation, and how divine action and chance interrelate.

Chance and stochasticity are important features of evolutionary theory the non-random retention of random variations. In a famous thought experiment, Gould imagined that we could rewind the tape of life back to the time of the Burgess Shale million years ago ; the chance we would end up with anything like the present-day life forms is vanishingly small.

However, Simon Conway Morris has argued species very similar to the ones we know now including human-like intelligent species would evolve under a broad range of conditions. Under a theist interpretation, randomness could either be a merely apparent aspect of creation, or a genuine feature.

Plantinga suggests that randomness is a physicalist interpretation of the evidence. God may have guided every mutation along the evolutionary process. In this way, God could. By contrast, some authors see stochasticity as a genuine design feature, and not just as a physicalist gloss. These were the seeds of preventive medicine. We use the intelligence that God gave us to go beyond the raw nature which God created, and to preserve the health which we need to obey His commandments. Vaccination is one of the practices we developed from these seeds.

It should be considered in the sense of Pikuakh nefesh — the act that saves lives 31 , or the protection of the children and neighbors.


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  4. Although the Israeli law does not require vaccination, the government is trying to exercise pressure by denying child allowance payments to parents who do not vaccinate their children. This step has attracted opposition on the grounds of interference with individual rights. The controversy has not yet been settled When children are concerned, and serious risks to health or life are involved, it is irresponsible to ignore the almost universal weight of medical opinion. Children should be vaccinated, as almost all Israeli parents agree with it Other animals are licit — halal — depending on how they die This problem is reflected in medicine regarding the use of gelatin in medical products.

    If gelatin is derived from halal animal it is permissible to use it. According to Islamic tradition, vaccination serves to protect life, to respect the principle of preventing harm izalat aldharar , and public interest maslahat al ummah. Vaccination protects others, which is why the law of necessity should be considered. It has a purpose in prevention, therefore its components cannot be judged as a diet Buddhism claims that life is one, which means that all forms of life are essentially related to one another and share a common essence.

    Even though there are different expressions of life, their lives are basically the same and they only differ in their external forms of being. Buddhism also believes in the Wheel of Rebirth, meaning that all forms of life will be reincarnated according to the karma they accumulated while living. Someday, in the process of reincarnation when all karma has been completely exhausted, the wheel of rebirth can be stopped.

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    In order to reach this Nirvana , every Buddhist must carefully observe the 8-fold Path and the Ten Precepts that help prevent any accumulation of karma. These precepts include: not taking life, not stealing, being chaste, not lying, not drinking intoxicants, etc Modern Buddhists will generally use vaccines to make sure their health is protected. But according to the essential teaching of Buddhism, if the vaccine is derived from any life form its use is debatable.

    Buddhism basically forbids any act that will lead to the destruction of any potential life. Therefore, Buddhism requires its followers to treat all life kindly On the other hand, Buddhist biomedical researchers who experiment on life forms believe that the purpose of biomedical research is to save rather than to sacrifice life.

    Buddhist biomedical researchers do the experiments for the love of life, for instance, they experiment on the donated tissues or samples, thereby accumulating no bad karma. The modern view of Buddhism will stress the importance of saving life rather than taking life Generally speaking, Buddhist teaching is rather conservative in terms of using any life form to create vaccine.

    There have been many religious forms in Japan. Religious forms are various, but their metaphysical core is consistent. The universe for Japanese people is a moving network of various relations of things and actions, like an infinite living system.

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    Doctrine and dogma

    They believe in an unknowable and willful entity reflecting the universe like a virtual focus in a mirror, which has been called Kami gods , Hotoke Buddha , or Ten Heaven. This mysterious entity orders and gives people the whole necessary connections of universe, which is called Michi Tao or Way or Ri Logos or Ratio. Based on their religious common sense background, Japanese people accept all relations of things and actions as they are and feel very familiar with everything relating to them.

    Moreover, with gratitude, they hold memorial services for used tools or for sacrificed laboratory animals Therefore, they tend to reject all biomedical practices, technologies, or effects considered as unnatural. This is very obvious in the case of organ-transplant and vaccination. Since Meiji Revolution , Japanese people have basically acknowledged modern biomedicine, and they have gradually accepted vaccination as its symbol. In , new Japanese government made vaccination mandatory.

    Thus, after , vaccination has been practiced collectively and compulsory. But, in , it was suddenly proclaimed optional under the pressure of the public taking side effects as dangerous. Vaccination refusal among the parents of pediatric population is emerging globally, regardless of religious or political background or geographical location.

    In many countries legal systems advise how to react to vaccination refusal For example, in Croatia vaccination is mandatory, the law is clear, but the practice of vaccination and the court judgments are not standardized. The legislators are unlikely to enact legal limitations of religious or philosophical exemption 4 , 5. The number of vaccination refusals based on religious exemption is increasing. The question is whether religious freedom is a threat to public health, in this case to the vaccination system There are many publications regarding the religious exception of vaccination 6 , 14 , 15 based on the rights of religious freedom.

    Most of these publications refer to religious exemption for immunization. However, religion can provide perspectives on vaccination that are rarely used in debates on this topic. For example, the notions of solidarity, risk sharing, or taking the risk of vaccination for those who cannot be vaccinated because of medical contraindication or because of their conditions.

    Although in this paper the authors did not cover all religions, they reflect on religions and social environment of the society which they come from. The majority of religions respect life as a basic value and therefore oppose the use of vaccines derived from aborted human fetuses Catholicism or any form of life Buddhism. But if these vaccines serve to protect many more lives they are permitted. Regarding this, we should not consider vaccination opposed to the theological base and values. Following this idea, religion is not in contradiction with vaccination and public health.

    It is only individual parents or religious leaders and their questionable interpretation of religious practices that are opposed to vaccination, no religion as such. In order to protect vaccination from the questionable religious interpretation we should bring closer to the public the basic theological perspective.

    The society of the 21st century, just as many societies and cultures in the history of human civilization, use religion as an excuse for wars, discrimination, and now for vaccination refusal. The question is whether the public is aware of the teachings of their religion on these issues.

    Chapter 7: Paradigms in Religion – Religion Online

    One of the first steps in resolving the situation should be the appropriate communication 46 - 48 to illuminate the essence of theological perspectives regarding vaccination. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Croat Med J v. Croat Med J. Mikirtichan , 4 Olga I.

    Kubar , 5 Frank J.

    Introduction

    Galina L. Olga I. Frank J. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Email: rh. All rights reserved. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The view of Catholicism The most morally questionable issue regarding vaccination in Catholicism is using cell lines derived from a voluntary aborted fetus.

    Orthodox view To clarify the Orthodox view on the vaccination process, we chose the example of Russia, a country where the orthodox religion is the leading religion and where historical perspective plays a special role in public, social, and cultural life. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction. Imagine there's no countries, It isn't hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for, No religion too, Imagine all the people living life in peace You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one, I hope some day you'll join us, And the world will be as one.

    The lives and writings of the mystics of all great religions bear witness to religious experiences of great intensity, in which considerable changes are effected in the quality of consciousness. Profound absorption in prayer or meditation can bring about a deepening and widening, a brightening and intensifying, of consciousness, accompanied by a transporting feeling of rapture and bliss. The contrast between these states and normal conscious awareness is so great that the mystic believes his experiences to be manifestations of the divine; and given the contrast, this assumption is quite understandable.

    Mystical experiences are also characterized by a marked reduction or temporary exclusion of the multiplicity of sense-perceptions and restless thoughts. This relative unification of mind is then interpreted as a union or communion with the One God.