sources and supplements
for the endless essay

My religious and spiritual virtual Wunderkammer

Neil Greenberg


This personal collection of serendipitously encountered spiritual and religious wonders, curiosities, and tethers to communities of like-minded people began in the service of an open essay --"Science and the Spirit." -- But has subsequently taken on a life of its own.

Sites identified here range from illuminating and intrinsically fascinating through genuinely weird and amusing. Taken together they help circumnavigate the human concern for transcendence. Be challenged and enlightened, inspired and enthused . . .

RESOURCES for the endless adventure:
(why it seem endless)

THE GREAT STORY "is a way of telling the history of everyone and everything that honors and embraces all religious traditions and creation stories. It is the sacred narrative of an evolving Universe of emergent complexity and breathtaking creativity and cooperation — a story that offers each of us the opportunity to find meaning and purpose in our lives and our time in history. . . . Science writer Connie Barlow points out . . . that The Great Story is distinguished from most other creation stories in four ways:
  1. it is the story of the changing story. Whenever a new discovery is made in the sciences, this creation story changes. Change is to be welcomed; not feared.
  2. it is a creation story that is not yet over. Evolutionary change at all levels (cosmos, planetary, life, culture) will continue into the future, and we humans bear a responsibility for how the story will continue on Earth.
  3. it is a new creation story shaped with a planetary perspective. Because the scientific enterprise is now global in scope, this story necessarily has its origins and ongoing influences centered at the scale of the whole Earth — influenced by peoples of all ethnicities, all religious traditions, and hailing from all bioregions. (This is the unity character.)
  4. it is radically open to multiple interpretations. Because the empirical and theoretical sciences search entirely for material explanations of the world, whenever one ventures into the realm of meaning or into the realm of spirit, the interpretations necessarily go beyond the science. And yet, make meaning we must! Humans are intrinsically meaning-makers, whether we construe that meaning to be innate in the cosmos or created by the human mind. (This is the diversity character.)
  5. it is the marriage of science and religion. Because the creation stories of classical religions and primary peoples were birthed well prior to the discoveries of an evolutionary universe, these stories can at best be reconciled with scientific awareness. In contrast, The Great Story grounds its celebratory creation story on the contributions of the scientific endeavor, and the interpretations are nuanced to be empowering for today's concerns.

in 2002 Rev. Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow have taken to the road to tell the Great Story. Their "website was launched . . . initially [to help them schedule] events for their life on the road, teaching in schools and colleges the wonders of cosmic and life evolution, and preaching in churches ways of regarding evolution such that diverse faiths and worldviews are enriched."

UU Best Practices

VIRTUAL RELIGION INDEX is a large collection of links that is "designed to advance research in matters of religion. As a global forum that may be accessed instantaneously anywhere, the internet promises to surpass the impact of the printing press on the study of religion."

Another nice list specifically on the psychology of religion is maintained by Michael Nielsen at Georgian Souther University

Science & Spirit is a magazine that "explores how science and religion can work together to address the vital issues of our time. Life's complexities . . . . [can be viewed] through the lenses of both science and religion [to offer] insight neither discipline provides alone. more



REVIEW of Tenzin Gyatso's The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality
by Esther Sternberg
"As one would expect from Buddhist practice, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, believes that there is a place for compassion in all aspects of life, even within the hallowed halls of science. In his most recent book, The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality, he uses logic and specific examples to build a case for adding compassion, a broader view, and some degree of subjectivity into what many see as the otherwise sterile, reductionist practice of modern science.
[complete review from Science 2006]


SCIENCE IN THE NEWS from Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society

Today's Headlines - November 4, 2005

Vatican: Faithful Should Listen to Science
from Associated Press

VATICAN CITY - A Vatican cardinal said Thursday the faithful should listen to what secular modern science has to offer, warning that religion risks turning into "fundamentalism" if it ignores scientific reason.

Cardinal Paul Poupard, who heads the Pontifical Council for Culture, made the comments at a news conference on a Vatican project to help end the "mutual prejudice" between religion and science that has long bedeviled the Roman Catholic Church and is part of the evolution debate in the United States.

The Vatican project was inspired by Pope John Paul II's 1992 declaration that the church's 17th-century denunciation of Galileo was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension." Galileo was condemned for supporting Nicolaus Copernicus' discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun; church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe.

The STOQ Project II (Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest):
  • Is founded on the collaboration of three Pontifical Roman Universities: Lateran, Gregorian and Regina Apostolorum. From this year other three Pontifical Universities - the St.Thomas, the Salesian and the Holy Cross - started to collaborate at the STOQ Project II.
  • Is coordinated by the Pontifical Council for Culture with the support of the John Templeton Foundation.
  • Is aimed at developing the dialogue between Science, Philosophy, and Theology, in order to confront the Christian vision of world, man and society with the many theoretical, ethical and cultural challenges raised by the developments of science.
  • Is to be immersed over three years (from 2003 to 2006), into different Study and Research Programs in the Universities involved in the Project. Students can follow courses of The STOQ Project in all the Universities involved. These courses will be recognized within each University and can be inserted into the student curricula.
  • Is directed at students, scientists, philosophers, theologians and all those interested in deepening the rational basis of their faith, or exploring the possibility of being believers at the beginning of the Third Millennium

"The need to grope our collective way through such quandaries may force theologians, church leaders, biologists, and philosophers to engage one another. Perhaps this debate will get hopelessly hung up in doctrine, for instance on the question of whether life begins when sperm meets egg. But there is at least an equal chance that the pressure of solving biotech questions will force science and theology to find the reasonable points of either field. Unlike cosmology, which poses fascinating questions whose answers have no effect on daily life, biotech will affect almost everyone in an immediate way. A science-and-religion reconciliation on this subject may be needed to write research rules, physician ethics, and, ultimately, law."

from "the New Convergence" by Gregg Easterbrook in
WIRED magazine December, 2002 (complete essay)
illustrations by Alex Ostroy


    "It is no secret that science and religion, once allied in homage to divinely crafted harmonies, have long been growing apart. As the scientific worldview has become more authoritative and self-sufficient, it has loosed a cascade of appalling fears: that the human soul, insofar as it can be said to exist, may be a mortal and broadly comprehensible product of material forces; that the immanent, caring God of the Western monotheisms may never have been more than a fiction devised by members of a species that self-indulgently denies its continuity with the rest of nature; and that our universe may lack any discernible purpose, moral character, or special relation to ourselves. But as those intimations have spread, the retrenchment known as creationism has also gained in strength and has widened its appeal, acquiring recruits and sympathizers among intellectual sophisticates, hard-headed pragmatists, and even some scientists. And so formidable a political influence is this wave of resistance that some Darwinian thinkers who stand quite apart from it nevertheless feel obliged to placate it with tactful sophistries, lest the cause of evolutionism itself be swept away."
Opening paragraph of Frederic C. Crews 2-part essay review, "Saving us From Darwin" in the New York Review of Books,
appearing Oct 4 (pp 24-27) and Oct 18, 2001 (pp 51-55) URLs: and .

Religion And The Brain (May 7, 2000) Section: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; 3888 words
"In the new field of ‘neurotheology,’ scientists seek the biological basis of spirituality. . . Is God all in our heads? "
By Sharon Begley with Anne Underwood
AND a response by Kenneth L. Woodward: "Faith Is More Than A Feeling"
"The problem with neurotheology is that it confuses spiritual experiences—which few believers actually have—with religion"

July 20, 1998, U.S. Edition

if you have a high-speed connection, view:

    a recent (Jan 2000) sermon by a colleague in Scientific Pantheism: "The view --"syncretistic universalism" (SU) -- [that] was essentially advocated over 150 years ago by Ralph Waldo Emerson, . . . it is also advocated by (some) intellectuals in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions..." UNIVERSAL RELIGION AND RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY by Dr. Jan Garrett

EDGE 53, April 8, 1999 Presents"IS SCIENCE KILLING THE SOUL?" a "high-level seminar" presented by Richard Dawkins & Steven Pinker (Chaired by Tim Radford) On February 10, 1999: Westminster Central Hall, London:

Its mission is to "promote education, research, and outreach on religion and science issues in the Delaware Valley and beyond through lectures, publications, courses, conferences, dialogues, and electronic media. The four main areas of interest are:
  • Constructive dialogue between religious traditions and science including interested parties from all academic disciplines
  • Religion and spirituality in health care and healing
  • Scientific approaches to understanding religion and religious phenomena
  • Different religious approaches to understanding and relating to science.

PERSPECTIVE: Is Science Religious? Why do these often opposing pursuits engender similar emotions? (By Steve Bunk in The Scientist 13[22]:10, Nov. 8, 1999 (visit )

    • Universal Pantheism: ("Faith in wilderness, or in nature as a creative force... is a philosophy, a faith; it is even, if you like, a religion. It puts your ultimate trust not in human intelligence, but in whatever it is that created human intelligence." --Joseph Wood Krutch)

    TAO writings for that about which words are inadequate. Thanks, Dr. J. and see:

    Professor Joe Wilson's (excellent) wide-ranging page on Asian and Buddhist Studies includes a nice collection of Asian art links


A Brief Science and Religion Bibliography Topically Arranged
Compiled by Daniel Wray
last accessed 9-15-2004

Among the most inquiring and open congregations of like-minded folks are the
Tennessee Valley UU Church, WESTSIDE UU Church, and Rationalists of East Tennessee, SGM, UT UU Campus Ministry

SERMONS I've delivered at Tennessee Valley UU, WESTSIDE and other favorite experiences

  • Notes from TVUUC and Related Forums:
  • Science & Religion: Sibling Rivalry and Reconciliation" (July 2001)
  • "Self and Selflessness" (11/2001)
  • "God in the Brain" (March 3 & April 7, 2002)
  • "Mystical Experiences" (Sept 1 & Dec 8, 2002)
  • "Alternate Paths to Epiphany" (Sept 14, 2003)
    TRUTH AND THE BRAIN: The Natural History of Belief (March 28, 2004)
  • Science and Religion: Sibling Rivalry and Reconciliation (Knoxville Ministerial Assoc, Sept 16, 2004)
  • Qi, Art, Science, and the Brain (Feb 27, 2005)
  • "The natural history of miracles and myths" (Nov 13, 2005)
  • "Living in Fragments and the God of the Gaps (Aug 28, 2005)
  • "The Intuitive Self" (April 10, 2005)
  • "TRUTH AND THE BRAIN" (Oak Ridge Phil. Soc., Oct 7, 2005)
  • Neurorchestration - In preparation

  • .

    return to: SCIENCE and the SPIRIT Essay

    Aug 22, 2005