Science, Romance and God

I have been a fan of Roison Murphy’s strange blend of quirky pop music and avante garde haute couture for a while, lately I have been listening to her album Overpowered. On the album she attempts to write what I would label Darwinian determinist love songs. I am not sure if she is trying to be subversive of the whole idea, but it is quite fascinating to try and listen to her songs which are about love yet that take on the view that there is no meaning in our lives and that we are simply organisms following our DNA programming.

Overpowered Roison Murphy

When I think that
I’m over you
I’m overpowered

Your data, my data
The chromosomes match
Exact doesn’t matter
A matter of fact

These amoring feelings
A cognitive state
Need the love object
To reciprocate

When I think that
I’m over you
I’m overpowered
It’s long overdue
I’m overpowered

When I think that
I’m over you
I’m overpowered
It’s long overdue
I’m overpowered

A chemical reason
It reason’s your game
A chemical needing
Is there in the brain

With preprogrammed meanings
Like a little more pep
Alien feelings
We have to accept

When I think that
I’m over you
I’m overpowered
It’s long overdue
I’m overpowered

As science struggles on to try to explain
Oxytoxins flowing ever into my brain

As science struggles on to try to explain
Oxytoxins flowing ever into my brain

What is jarring as you listen, is the disconnect in our culture regarding our beliefs. On one hand our culture tells us that we are biological accidents, yet we spend our lives acting in ways which are completely contrary to this belief. Our cultures adopted worldview tells us that love and romance occur simply because of biology, yet there is part of us which yearns for a sense of transcendence in our love lives. Our heads are told that the world is an accident, a smashing together of chemicals, yet our hearts betray our true feelings, that there is a deeper magic operating in our world. That even in the midst of our everyday lives moments of transcendence break out in the ordinary to point to God’s plans for the future.

In The Trouble With Paris I write

As a culture we have tried to downplay such feelings. The hyperreal culture tries to offer its own version of awe. Be it the not-to-be-missed TV event, the Hollywood blockbuster, or the once-in-a-lifetime concert experience, instead of awe we are simply given hype. For as Abraham Heschel wisely observed, “There is no answer in the world to man’s amazement.” When we feel awe we are reminded of the eternal destiny of our world. C. S. Lewis noted that humans pose feelings and desires that cannot be satisfied by this world or in this lifetime. For Lewis these longings were evidence of our being destined for another world. Deep down we all have feelings to see a world devoid of evil and filled with beauty and unconditional love. Such feelings point to God’s original intentions for our world. Novelist Chaim Potok is right to say, “Food, a melody, a sunset-all tell us of the presence of the sacred in the everyday world.” Such experiences become tastes of the world to come.

The Political Incorrectness of a Non-Judgemental God

Hell sure ain’t cool these days. The idea of a post-death judgment of our actions here on earth is repugnant to the western 21st century citizen. Suggesting that after we die that we may be held accountable to our actions during this life, will not bring cyber-hugs from your list of facebook friends. The concept that God has set up a system of justice in our universe, and that some people may chose the path of evil and thus renege their place in the coming kingdom, simply does not wash with modern  post-modern post-post-modern sensibilities.

Partly this is because we who live our lives within the Western comfort bubble have become distanced from evil. Sure we see it on TV, we read about it in the newspaper, but on the whole it does not touch our real lives in any palpable way.

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