Thoughts of a Seventeen Year Old

Jonathan Kushner Senior, Trenton High School
Jonathan Kushner
Senior, Trenton High School

What follows is an unedited (and unassisted) copy of my son’s recent Facebook post.  Thought some of you might enjoy (and gives me a chance to brag him up). – Pastor Jim Kushner

Thinking lately about truth. Truth is something we all look for, and we tend to look for it in two main sources. The question and debate always revolves around where truth is found. Do we find TRUTH in science, or do we find TRUTH in religion/philosophy?We think of the two as separate. People either rely on science and discard religion/philosophy, or they rely strictly on faith and throw out any science that doesn’t jive with it. However, I’ve come to notice awful shortcomings in any one of those viewpoints held on their own, Both of which I will address.Suppose for argument’s sake that truth is only found through science. If that is the case, then we can only answer two questions about ourselves. Those questions are, what are we? And, how did we come into being? By the definition of science, we are simply the cosmic accident that arises when atoms and chemicals bond correctly. We are a jumble of molecules, animated by the correct organization of those molecules.
Science fails to answer two equally important truths. Those questions are, Who am I? And, why am I here, or what is my purpose? If we are simply a giant cosmic accident and a jumble of molecules, then there is no meaning. If that is the case, then why does crime, or unfair treatment of people, animals or the environment matter. If the goal is to reach the top, then who cares how many bundles of molecules you have to step on or kill to get there, and once you are there, what does it matter? screw posterity, cause it was all an accident anyways and there is no purpose for the position of power, servitude, or life.

Yes, as you see science falls very short of answering two equally important TRUTHS as the ones it can answer. So where do we find the answer to the who and why questions? We all ask who we are and why we are. Because if there is no meaning, then we live a VERY sad existence. This is where one must turn to religion/philosophy. Both are really the same thing, and I am going to use religion in this argument, because that’s where I come from.

Religion, like science, gives us a half of the four piece pie (what, who, how, why). Nowhere in a religious text or idea, is there any real attempts at a meaningful or real explanation for What or How. There is not a lab report in the back of my bible telling me how God created, how long he really took, or the molecular detail of what he created. If we look to religious texts to answer What and How, we look very ignorant and rightfully so, because the author made no attempt to explain it, they never do.

Instead of an answer to what and how, we find answers to the questions Who and Why in religion. All good creations are made with great care and for a specific purpose. In the bible, for example, we are told that we are the image of God in the world and have been given dominion over all creation (who).
We are also told that we are to rule over creation, to love one another, to discover and glorify God, and to do his work in all of creation. That we are his “gardeners” his “children” his caretakers for the universe (why)

The same types of purpose are found in all religions and philosophies. They explain who we are and they tell us why we are here.

I find it sad that humanity has regressed to separating science and religion/philosophy. By separating them, we only get half of a pie. One half lacks flavor and substance, the other lacks stability and form. Why would we want a crappy half pie when we can have a full, flavorful whole pie? By putting the two together, we can create that pie and have a much greater appreciation for existence. So, as an example, I’m going to tell you what my whole “pie” looks like when I put science and my religion back together.

I am a human made in the image of a loving God of the universe, to care for the heavens and earth he made and to marvel at all that is. As I grew older and marveled all the more, I asked what everything was made of and how God did it. So, I went out into creation to discover the majesty of what is. I discovered a complexity that even the greatest minds, can’t fully comprehend, and a massive beautiful universe, made of atoms, chemicals, stars, and light. There were finely tuned things and free things. And what’s more, each of us are just as complex as the universe we live in. We have emotions, countless parts made of countless smaller parts, we have brains and free will, we have the ability to adapt and evolve to survive through the toughest of times. Life is beautiful, the universe is beautiful, and it’s complexity and majesty, or the processes it goes through doesn’t take away from God in the least. In fact, as I learn more, I can’t help but be more amazed at how brilliant God must be to have made something so big, complex, ever-changing, and versatile. And not only did he create what science is discovering, he cared enough to give something as small as me a purpose and his love.

With that in mind, I can’t ever look at science and my religion as separate ever again. I only found half of TRUTH through science. I only found half of TRUTH through religion. It wasn’t until I put them together, that I saw the AWESOMENESS of a Real, and complete picture of how I find TRUTH!

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One thought on “Thoughts of a Seventeen Year Old”

  1. Brief clarification in order… Jon didn’t write this in response to an assignment or request. Its part of a process he’s going through (of his own accord) to bring some self-clarification to a personal crisis of faith. Not a questioning of faith in God, but a questioning of what to accept as true in his understanding of God and faith in Jesus. As many of us, he’s been part of several churches – some of which I’ve pastored, some we simply attended. He’s been exposed to a number of strongly expressed facts/teaching/opinions by both church officials and well meaning helpers in the church – some of which I’d fully endorse, some of which, well… That said, I’m glad he’s dealing with his first faith crisis before he leaves for college where he still has a few trusted sources to bounce thoughts off of. In the end, as he continues to challenge the boundaries of his assumptions and beliefs – which will likely change often, and sometimes radically – I’m confident with center of his formation and the God that inhabits it to ultimately keep him on track.

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