Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Friends who Challenge

The following was a statement from a friend of mine sent in an email. My response follows. I love friends who challenge us intellectually and this is one of my friends. Here's a shout out to them!

My initial comments:
I finished Angels & Demons and I liked it a lot. I'm a little bit cautious about Dan Brown (mainly over Da Vinci Code) because he takes just enough fact to make his books seem realistic which has been a huge source of controversy especially over the DaVinci Code book (which I haven't read yet, but will). I will have to re-read some parts of it again (Angels and Demons) because the first time through I just wanted to find out what happened, but he does have some very interesting discussions about science and religion. I would like to hear your thoughts on this as well.

A friend says:

I was thinking maybe Novel, by definition is not intentionally to be scientifically provable and correct. Isn't it a kind of art - art of the imagination of the author?

My response:

I wanted to respond right away, because I think you raise an interesting discussion about art and the Novel. I think art is powerful in that it reaches a part of us that we may not have known existed. It highlights emotions and thoughts and patterns of ourselves that we may not recognize in our daily routine so when we are confronted by it, we must stop and think and examine it; to see if there is truth there or not.

I have always loved reading fiction books and have learned many factual pieces of information from them that I may not have learned. So certain genres of fiction must have enough truth or fact in them to make them realistic/plausible enough. I think Dan Brown has researched extensively and then highlighted certain questions that make the book fascinating. Perhaps not scientifically provable but though provoking about real issues and real emotions (which by their nature are not satisfactorily proven through science alone). I don't think that Science can prove or explain everything.

For example, it can describe the chemical processes and brain patterns of love, but does that really explain what love is or the powerful effect it has in our lives. There is an intangible, ephemeral part of love that just is and no amount of science can explain it. Yet we know it exists and we believe that it is there. Religion is like this as well. There is only so much that science (any branch) can explain about community, need for belonging, power of prayer, existence of God. At some point, however, there is an element to faith that cannot be explained by science that must be captured or understood through some other mechanism.

It's like coming to a cliff where everything is tangible and able to be understood and comprehended and then stepping off and still find yourself standing in mid air. That is what faith is like.

Just some thoughts off the top of my head. I haven't really meditated on this so much. I appreciate your insights and questions and thoughts because they challenge me. There is much incomplete in what was said above, but this is something that never ends and the discussion continues forever :)

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