As we cultivate Bigger Mind and Bigger Heart, our perspective moves up the expanding Spiral of Consciousness, from tribal/national to a truly global perspective. Because our world is more populous than ever before in human history, we have to view ourselves as part of one diverse human family. As one family, the demands for true justice become paramount in importance, establishing and maintaining the conditions wherein each being’s full potential can be maximized:
That Global Perspective Includes the Earth – a Gaian Perspective We are going to have to get serious about caring for Creation and tend to the needs of the planet upon which our Path is placed. More than that, as the fully conscious self-expression of the Natural World, might we not also realize that our consciousness is an emergent unfolding of Nature itself, and that our full health requires that we become fully are of Nature as part of ourselves and ourselves as part of Nature?
Bigger World moves beyond Domination Systems and Doctrines to systems of honoring, respecting, sharing, caring. This includes repudiation of doctrines such as the Doctrine of Discovery and other religious and legal justifications for the domination of humans over other humans and over the natural world in any form. Bigger World also involves the radical practice of Re-embedding and Reintegrating into the Natural World, in which we recognize that we are all creatures in a magnificent Creation.
Interfaith and InterSpiritual Bigger World is also Interfaith and InterSpiritual, in which people work together rather than try to conquer one another. Interfaith and InterSpiritual movements involve sharing and gifting our discoveries and ways of transformation. In Bigger World, we engage Learning from one another as coequals and companions, deepening our understanding of the world, and what it means to be human. Read The InterSpirituality Manifesto to learn more about the InterSpiritual aspects of Bigger World.
Science and Religion Bigger World holds Science and Religion together in a mutual dialog in which both cooperatively share knowledge and insights into the Nature of Reality and the Reality of Nature. Scientific research for the last two or more centuries has yielded dramatic and extensive knowledge and insight into the physical constitution of the universe. Our knowledge of the physical reality extends for quarks and bosons to the farthest reaches of intergalactic space. But what is the meaning and significance of that knowledge, and what is the appropriate use of all that knowledge. To what end do we probe life and all its mysteries?
One of the central contributions that religion can offer science is an understanding of the significance of a thing. A thing in its various relationships and interrelationships has significance precisely because of those relationships. In fact, you cannot understand a thing apart from its relationships. You can’t understand an electron apart from its relationship to protons and neutrons. You can’t understand molecules apart from the interrelationships of their constituent atoms, nor apart from their interactions with other molecules. And so on right up the levels of complexity in life, including human and biotic communities.
Each thing in the world is a bearer of meaning precisely because its significance in the grand scheme of things, the vast network of interbeing, (to borrow an expression from Thich Nhat Hanh), of all things. This level of significance – this level of meaning is as constitutive a part of things as is their physical structures and the natural laws that describe those structures. Religion reminds us that the language of relationship is also the language of purpose. Most scientists are extremely leery of speaking of the “purpose of things” precisely because that suggests a leap into metaphysics, and meaning cannot be empirically demonstrated or subjected to scientific analysis and experimentation. However, if the language of scientific discourse were shifted to include the thing under investigation to be also described in terms of its various interrelationships, then meaning can become part of the conversation, and part of the research process.
Morality – to what end? If mathematics can be considered the formal language of scientific description, then morality and ethics together constitute the formal language of relationship. Ethics and morality are based upon the idea that things, and in particular, people, are bearers of meaning and purpose, of significance. The impartiality and unbribability of God to which Deuteronomy witnesses, alludes to this notion of everyone and everything having significance. Widows and orphans have significance in themselves, not in relationship to their husbands or fathers, not in terms of their productivity, and not in terms of their wealth or ownership of property. For example, there is a basic ethical and moral principle: “People are not means to an end, they are to be treated as ends in themselves.” They are ends precisely because they are bearers of meaning, and this meaning is realized in terms of relationship.
What religion offers science, then, is an additional language for describing the natural world, not only in terms of its physical structures, but additionally in terms of the significances of all the interrelationships of those physical structures internally and externally. But it also reminds scientific researchers that questions of morality, questions that ask why a particular research program is necessary or important, significant, or which inquire into the ethics of research methodologies are as necessary as are the research protocols themselves.
Meaning, morality and purpose are gifts of religion to science. Through the creative engagement of religion with science we can expand our understanding of what it means to be human, and how our story is inextricably bound up with the meaning and purposes with which God has endowed the entire universe. But we are not dwarfed by this universe. As the Christian tradition puts it, God’s eye is on every sparrow, and on each of us. Each of us is significant, and each of us has purpose and meaning.