The Quest

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I am a deeply religious non-believer.  
This is a somewhat new kind of religion.

                                                -- Albert Einstein

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“A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and humility hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.”                                    -- Carl Sagan

Our ancestors lived in a world of gods and demons, magic and superstition. Although some try to cling to that past, it is gone - dragons & unicorns, elves & fairies, angels & demons, gods & goddesses - all gone.

Today our world is stars & galaxies; DNA & computers; - footprints on the Moon. Now caught between our own self destruction and exploring the stars - we need new guides, not fading gods and childish thinking.

What do they have to tell us - these our companions through time and space? Did they see the iron pounding in our blood forged in the stars before our sun? Did they find lucky little Earth hiding in a quiet corner? And did they see the cosmic winds wandering among the stars like sowers with bags of seeds -- sprinkling down upon Earth the beginnings of life?

Come with me and let’s re-view our new world together. My own personal quest for Einstein's new kind of religion has led me beyond science, religion and society.  I’ll try to share where I’ve been in hopes it will help you on your way.  As children say when playing doctor: “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” Of course they are talking about their private parts, but then our heart is our most private part, isn’t it?

Science? - cold and emotionless? OR exciting leaps over the edge of what we know? As we break free of the frozen worldviews of the past, science can help us restore our humanity, feelings connected not only to the stars, but also to our animal and plant cousins on this planet. Addressing what lies deep in our heart and between our ears - we will also explore the rarity and value of each and every one of us. 

This site is about science - with feeling. Each century science shows us even more dramatic and exciting visions of reality than what we have experienced in the past: The Earth as a sphere in orbit around the Sun; voyages of exploration sailing around the globe; Jupiter has Moons!; Cells and Microbes; Chemistry from Alchemy; Electrons & Magnetism; Our footprints on the Moon, DNA; Computers; - - - and we have barely started ...

Like fish swimming in the ocean, we swim in a vast sea of information. 
Like fish discovering water, we are only now becoming aware of this sea.

That awareness is called consciousness.
It will carry us deep into the waters of thought itself. 

Soon we will meet intelligence beyond our own.
But it will come, not from the stars,
It will come from us.
                                                                                                                          —  Gareth Harris

Why am I doing this? I am an atheist who agrees with Jesus that people’s hearts and minds are hungry, and further: “If your child asks for bread, will you give them a stone?” It has become clear that much of what society and institutional religion teaches us is for their benefit, obviously fabricated and bogus - a stone for your heart. We are in a compromised position: We can’t survive without society and yet it is killing us. So our work is cut out for us. As a priest and scientist, this is my attempt to provide us with something more  nourishing for our hearts and minds - plus exciting and fun. 

Take two steps. Like a dance, we will use two steps:
1 - a journey through the science of the last 500 years to give us a shared vocabulary, and
2 - reflection and meditation to consider what our new knowledge means.
You may want to skip around depending on your background and how lumpy or gappy my writing is.

Here our appeal will not be to authorities of the past, magic or the supernatural, but to what nature herself has to show us. While we will rescue some valuables from the religions and thinkers of our past, this is a journey of fading gods, of mileposts and shores left behind - a journey not for the faint hearted. As Columbus said: 

"You can never cross the ocean   . . . 
until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.


Come, my friends, ’Tis not too late to seek a newer world. 

Come, my friends,

’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

  --  Tennyson

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


Questions to ask ourselves as we go:

1 - What is your vision of your self that you use to guide your daily life?
2 - Did you get this view from traditional religion or build it yourself?
3 - Is traditional religion a sinking ship?
4 - Are there some valuables we should rescue from religion before it sinks?
5 - Can we learn from / translate to each other's worldview?
6 - How is your worldview changing?
7 - What is the place of others in your worldview?
      - - those we love, those we don’t know, our animal and plant cousins? 


Next >>>> navigate using the Site Map or take the next step to The Unfolding



Thanks for visiting this website.
Well, I warned you. This has become a never ending work in progress. I apologize for the ragged nature of this site and promise to do better in the future, clean up this mess and be a good boy. But meanwhile, the whole outline seems to be maturing now. Let’s stick with it a little longer …
 … 2014-11-22: Time to rewrite the last two sections: storytellers and now we are free ….


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it just occurred to me after writing this, that this site follows Joseph Campbell’s outline in
“The Hero with a Thousand Faces”:

1 - the call to challenge
2 - the journey of trials
3 - return with the prize or new knowledge 


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© Gareth Harris 2014       --------        Contact email:        --------         see also: