When I first read “Desiderata” I was struck by how much it expressed my own perspective and beliefs, i.e. Christian , and, hopefully optimistic about the meaning and purpose of human life.
I was surprised to learn it was written in relatively recent times as a prose poem in 1927 by Max Ehrmann (http://mwkworks.com/desiderata.html). The passage reflects a lot of my own perspective, especially as it relates to my own love of acquiring new information about things and specifically about physics. Sometimes in “discussions” – at times heated- with family or friends I have been questioned on how I can accept many of the paradigms of physics (e.g. The Higgs particle as the origin of mass, or the Big Bang theory) and still believe in God – or any religious ideas.
To me there is not only no conflict between the many new (or old) paradigms of physics (or science generally – such as the theory of evolution) and the central notions of religious belief – indeed as Desiderata implies – I see one reinforcing and nurturing the other.
If we accept that we are products of a Big Bang (say) and of billions of years of evolution, then we are in fact extremely tiny parts of the universe that is aware of itself. Our consciousness of our own existence and our yearning to know and understand more about it is essentially our universe yearning to know about itself – and enjoying existence to the full.
To me such ideas are completely consistent with the Judaeo- Christian ideas of loving one another as much as we love ourselves, and being prepared to sacrifice even life itself for one another, as well as all the many other basic features of Jesus’ teaching.
In spite of this it is obvious that many people who pursue physics or science (or academic life generally) do not support or share such ideas of faith, or even that there is any larger purpose or meaning in human life.
Therefore, I am focusing this blog on these two themes – my own enjoyment of physics and the new things to be learned from it, along with sharing how our universal quest for knowledge about the universe – that is ourselves and our own existence – adds reassurance and support to universal purpose and meaning for our existence – specifically as these are revealed in the basic tenets of Christian faith.