THE BLOG
06/20/2014 12:53 pm ET | Updated Aug 20, 2014

My TEDx Talk: Reality Reconciles Science and Religion

Language changes over time, and words create worlds. What we call Reality, the ancients called God, or if you lived in a polytheistic culture, the gods. These were personifications of our inner and outer reality. This fundamental insight not only makes sense of religious differences and bridges the science-religion divide, it also clarifies our way into the future.

Here is my recent TEDxGrandRapids talk, titled, "Reality Reconciles Science and Religion." Below the video player is how I began the talk.

I'm a Big History evangelist -- I preach 'the gospel of right relationship to reality' -- that is, the Good News that is only possible when we, individually and collectively, live in right relationship to what is fundamentally and inescapably REAL.

Now, obviously, there are many different worldviews that inspire people to live in right relationship to reality. The one I'm particularly passionate about I've come to call the path of sacred realism or factual faith. I'm an evidential mystic.

  • Reality is my God.
  • Evidence is my scripture.
  • Big history is my creation story.
  • Ecology is my theology.
  • Integrity is my salvation.
  • Ensuring a just and healthy future is my mission.

Let me say that again, a bit slower. Because this is my credo, my faith statement in a nutshell.

Reality is my God and evidence is my scripture. Big history is my creation story and ecology is my theology. Integrity is my salvation and ensuring a just and healthy future, not just for humanity but for the entire body of life, is my mission.

What I evangelize is a synthesis of science and religion. It's neither science nor religion. It's a synthesis of the two that transcends and includes both. And as with all bridge-building between perceived enemies, those on the polar ends of the faith and reason divide are sometimes less than fully enthused about the "radical middle" (synthesis) position I offer.

Anti-religious skeptics typically find it infuriating that I lift up the evolutionary significance and adaptive value of religion and show how science not only doesn't do away with the concept of the divine but actually offers the one and only way of thinking about God that is undeniably and unavoidably real. (I'll say more about that in a few minutes.)

Anti-science religious folk, however, often find it equally maddening that I lift up the inspirational, or religious, significance of science -- and show how scientific, historic, and cross-cultural evidence provide a much more accurate and empowering map of reality than bishops and bibles possibly can.

(Click on the video player above, or here, for the entire 18-minute TEDx talk.)