When stories are written down and become scripture they cease to evolve. They are stuck with the state of knowledge at the time they were written down. Why is it that something written down years ago is "THE Word of God." Why aren't the amazing new understandings about our universe our world and ourselves, evolution, DNA and genetics, science, incorported into our current religious text and discussions. There are two kinds of revelation. Private inspiration and Public. Revelation in the sense of what we come to know, feel, experience, believe. Generally there is no way to establish the truth or falsity of the private revelation. Public revelation (including science) is argued and tested, verified and adjusted in open and public ways. Dowd talks about Day Language and Night Language concepts. Night language is subjectively real, but not necessarily objectively real. Night language is communicated by way of metaphors, poetry and vibrant images. Our focus is on "what does it mean." Night language is personally and culturally meaningful, it nourishes us with images of emotional truth. Day language is used in discussing what is factual and measurably true. Day language is used for Public revelation. I ask, why can't we use both in talking about the universe.
Personally, I think this pair (Dowd and Barlow) are serious fence-sitters. They seem to want to have the best of both worlds - belief in some form of metaphysical, mythical creationist (or at least creationist-like) creature and also a belief that science is fact. I say belief in science for that's what I think they have.
Science is fact - believe in it if you want or don't - neither will change the facts. Religion is belief, pure and simple - there's no facts, no proof, no reality associated with religion per se.
So, you wonder "Why aren't the amazing new understandings about our universe our world and ourselves, evolution, DNA and genetics, science, incorported into our current religious text and discussions." Well, because facts undermine religion. If The Bible (or any other particular religious tome) is THE word of god, then how can it be changed by man? (And yes, you are right that THE word of god is accepted to be what was written down eventually after many rounds of Chinese Whispers, and which is likely rather different to what would have been written down a few hundred or thousandf years earlier.) By having an "ages old" religion accept the scientific facts of the way the universe was created, the way life, once created, evolves and so on would totally undermine its insistence on a beard in the sky, a cosmic creator, or some other form of intelligently designed universe.
The two simply don't mix.
So, the plain, simple reason we can't use both of the languages you wish when talking about the universe is that one (science) is factual and the other (religion) is fairy tales that have no use aside from being interesting stories about how uninformed people viewed what was around them. We can use one (religion) to say "this is what people believed before the facts were made apparent, even though those religions KNEW they were right because some book told them that it was right" and the other (science) to say "this is how the universe is - yes, we know this will change over time as we learn more and more about the universe, but what we're talking are proven, observable, explainable facts and phenomena".
The two can't be used on an equal basis.
02 October 2009
I think the following 'quote' is probably outside fair use. But here is it. From a message by HiltonT in Kiva.org forum.