Saturday, March 17, 2012

On Science and Faith

Those of you who have read from the beginning started with me in India. I was 19, working in the slums of Kolkata, trying to reconcile my work in the lab with what I saw on the streets. How to compromise the microscope with faith in my mind.
Those of you who have read saw me through Israel. Saw me praying for the strength of faith I saw in the Christians, Muslims and Jews around me.

Science and faith has been a thematic duality in my life for a long time. Sure I’m a scientist and thus a skeptic. We’re taught to be fearful of religion as it is unfounded in evidence (the only scripture of science.) But fear is scary no matter what the origin. And I figure, if I’m going to be in a field helping people be healthy I should try and understand what sustains them beyond the antibiotics. And maybe along the way I’ll find a little faith myself.

Now I’m in Bangladesh with Muslim prayers reminding me of faith 5 times a day. In the villages there are signs of warding off evil spirits on the children’s amulets around their necks and by the ash rubbed on the baby’s foreheads. When the women cannot afford doctor’s visits they visit the local Shaman. And who can blame them?
It’s the big questions, the ones that catch in your throat, that are all around me in Bangladesh. The questions about death and dying. What do you say to a woman my age who just lost her baby?

It’s big and it’s tough and I have no answers. I feel desperate because after death, I believe one’s existence is over. I’m afraid feeling like this will ruin me in this field and make my toothpick faith framework fall down.
I’m afraid because if I fail to save you, you will not live on in another world. I will be here, and you will be gone, and that will be that.

We’re always talking about sustainability. Sustainable programs, sustainable environment.

I want to know, how do I reconcile my own science and faith to ensure that I am sustainable?

1 comment:

  1. Miss ya love ya and most of all on this day
    Happ St Pat's