Can Scientists and Religious Leaders See Eye to Eye?


If we just take God out of it, might there not be some things right that your scientific beliefs can’t explain? My name is Matt, I’m 41 years old. I’m a pastor. I’m Gyokei, I’m 40 years old. I’m a minister of a Buddhist church. I’m Andrew, I’m 42, and I’m a chemist. I’m Jess, I’m 36, and I’m a volcanologist I’m Don, I’m 64. I’m a paleontologist and geologist. I’m Amy, I’m 53, and I’m a Rabbi This is literally my greatest fear that I’d be all alone in the circle. I believe that this world was created I’ve placed my faith in a God that is Infinitely creative in what he’s made. He then deserves my worship and my affection. Seriously last night I was talking to wife. I was like ‘what if there’s a question that I’m the only one that agrees to?’ She’s like ‘just stay where you are,’ and I was like ‘I don’t know’ The big problem is that means they start talking with creator and I’ve battled Creationism most my entire career as an evolutionary biologist and paleontologist, it brings in a whole category of things that violate my rules as a scientist as well and When I step back from that, especially when I step back from where I started as a religious person when I was younger I look at this and I say, you know if anything what we see now about the universe shows how poorly designed it is how sloppy it is and how painful it is and all these things which don’t speak to a very benevolent creator because if anything it makes him look bad. I don’t believe in a supernatural God. I’m a reconstructionist Jew. For me, I don’t rely on a supernatural creator in order to remain astounded at the beauty of this world, that’s sloppy. It’s the world right? It’s the world. We’re sloppy, the world is sloppy, but it’s also incredibly magical and and and worthy of awe and and respect and That it’s here is amazing that we’re here is amazing and I want to live in relationship to that amazement I never looked to science to go, like, “Is murder right or wrong?” I look to science to say “How many murders were committed last week?” You know? That – that’s what I want to know and then say “Is there a trend?” “What is the cause of these murders?” And then we use, you know, we use different, tools, I guess is the best way of putting it, to, to assess whether or not we should be murdering people. – Where did – where do those morals come from? – I think they’re innate in humans. All societies have had certain things that agree on. A Makar, that’s a religious background, and so on. We don’t require a deity or any kind of religion to give us those things. And we come with them as part of our species. And for me, it’s not so much that science can answer moral questions, but science certainly can guide us in a lot of ways, especially when moral questions in conflict with realities we’ve now learned it. – I’ve got serious gaps in my faith that require a supernatural answer. I mean, I can’t. I can’t understand and fathom the complexities of the universe all on my own. I’m a Christian. At a church service, someone had a hurt shoulder and they said “My shoulder really hurts. Will you pray for my shoulder to get better?” I’ll be honest with you. I have about 5% faith that that’s gonna work out. But I prayed for him. I put my hand on his shoulder and I said, you know, “I want this shoulder to get healed in Jesus name,” and I walked away thinking “Oh no, another disappointed person who didn’t get healed today.” Well, the next morning that person called me and said “You wouldn’t believe it. My shoulder feels 100 percent better.” I still don’t have a good answer to that. But I just know every time I get an answer or an opportunity to exercise my faith in a supernatural way, I want to take that opportunity because I just don’t know what the answer might be. It could be something terrific. – I totally agree with you. I liked when you said 5% I pretty much feel the same way, yeah. But in my hometown in Japan, like, we have this kind of service to instead of consultive spirits in the line When we chant for like an hour, you know half an hour maybe then Everybody feels a whole I feel so peaceful But then can quite explain it like logically and that’s the stuff That’s it’s efficient in that situation Science is all about understanding what we can understand and the science You’re pretty much not allowed to even consider is the supernatural because it’s beyond testable hypothesis It’s beyond anything that you can evaluate in any- what we might call an objective manner We are comfortable with the idea that we do not know something and we say we do not know something and that some day We might find the answer, or we may not. There’s a lot out there that we can’t explain It has absolutely nothing to do with my beliefs I was raised Catholic and I’m just as confused now as I was then about what’s really going on, you know? There is a small amount of stuff we can explain. I don’t need to have a belief about it I don’t even need to go beyond that just to decide that it’s magnificent and terrifying all at the same time and just kind of leave it at that So I think your your answer to the question would have been yes. I mean because I think you might agree that there’s Stuff that you can’t even know to test Yet so- maybe there’s something beyond scientific theory and proof that we don’t even know yet, and I’m not saying God, If we just take God out of it, might there not be something, right, that- that your scientific beliefs can’t explain. That’s right, certainly But and also in my philosophy, I don’t see any point in putting any kind of supernatural label on it as an explanation It’s just not solving the problem I’m so glad you’re with me because I didn’t want it to here all by myself. I Yeah I mean , I just see purpose for our lives that extends beyond the here and now that there is an eternity that God wants to have with us, his love for us is so deep that it desires to have a continued relationship with us as As far as time goes on. Because I live in Long Beach I go down to the beach and I see the waves of the ocean At the beach they- they come ashore and leave – we compare that to life We take different shapes in different forms and the length of the wave, we have no idea. You’ll show up in different locations Which you have no control The idea of this momentary shape that we have, this life and trying to preserve it You know and then we’re kind of missing the whole point that we are actually that greater ocean In my limited capacity as a Individual human like in this form and this shape. I have no idea how could I possibly have any idea about what that being ocean is gonna mean or be and so I know that I will continue to be part of the universe but not as me, not as this. I would agree with that I mean, I see no evidence from anything that I can observe or anything that that goes on that it’s more than just wishful thinking that humans in some form are gonna exist in some afterlife or they’re recognizable and their identities carry on When I was a kid, I asked my dad Mm-hmm. If our pets would be waiting for us in heaven when we died and my dad said no and I was shocked and I was like Why would there not be pets in heaven and my dad’s like well? there are animals and I’m like why not my animals and he’s like well There’s just like, a generic cat and a generic dog. And I went “wait, what?” and so at that point that’s when I started to question. Like wait a minute what happens next? And uh- and yeah, I’m kind of you know with a lot of you guys here I’m just saying that look You know It wouldn’t it be great if we could go on and on and on but I think because we don’t see any evidence for it I have to be in the camp of, well we get this one shot, make the most of it, do the best you can and then when it’s done, you know, don’t have any regrets, you know, live with doing as much as you could that is good so that you will live on in the memories of those who stay behind. I’m so sorry your dad told you your dogs not going to heaven. What what a crushing thing to hear as a child You know all good dogs go to heaven Thats what the movie said! It must be true I think he was trying to, you know like, let me down gently. Yeah, I know. Like some days I’m like totally Zen I’m totally like solely there like it’s okay. It’s all one and I will just not exist I’m usually not as afraid of death as I am of dying Like I mean, I’m afraid of dying because I’ve seen some really bad dying I’m very afraid of pain and a you know, the process of dying I lost both my parents from cancer, so I witnessed the whole process. My mom died Over 30 years ago and It was it was painful to witness that part I mean, my mom’s kind of has health deteriorate my dad went through the same process But then he was once writing letters as it just really Coincides with some Buddhist teachings that I’m having a wonderful day and really grateful for everybody who support us We have a saying that every day is As you say the greatest day I can see that, you know intellectual I can understand it intellectually but I just wasn’t sure if I could I Could feel if I I would be able to say something like that if I’m put in the situation Man, I’m such a skeptic and that includes questioning my own My own beliefs, especially if I form a hypothesis, and I’m working on an experiment I mean you always kind of want it to go a certain way and you have to do your best to remove that That bias and then some a lot of times if you’re in research just doesn’t work one of the things I tell students because I work with students a lot with my nonprofit organization and I tell them you know as they’re journeying into becoming Scientists and they come from all sorts of different backgrounds and I just say look don’t ever work with anyone who’s afraid to admit that They don’t know something or that they’re wrong Like those are really important qualities whether it’s in science or any aspect of life The whole fun in being a scientist is trying to break things and I actually wanted to start a journal of scientific mistakes so that we could share with each other what went wrong because too often we only talk about the successes and I think it’s very its very valuable to also know what failure is and what it teaches us the questioning. Is that such a healthy thing I always think it’s a healthier thing So whenever I see younger man asks a priest like yeah Go ahead and question question me a question what you do and then be okay and you need to understand? understand intellectually But at the same time I want to understand there are things that’s beyond this intellectual understanding so that’s an Unrecognizable part of understanding that comes only through experience Nice to meet you. Thank you good to meet you Hey guys, this is John I’m Kendra thank you so much for watching this episode of middle ground make sure to let us know what you think in the comments below and as always please be sure to click subscribe and Watch more of our stuff. We’ll see you next time


100 Responses

  1. Jubilee

    December 16, 2018 4:50 pm

    Middle Ground is back!! Thanks everyone for watching this highly requested episode. As always, we are not saying science and religion necessarily have to exclude each other – there are religious scientists out there! Instead, we are exploring two sides that society often pits against each other in hopes of finding middle ground #radicalempathy. Let us know in the comments below what future episodes you'd like to see!

  2. Melvin Seetoh

    August 24, 2019 10:51 am

    Everyone was pointing out that the rabbi isn't a rabbi, while I'm over here thinking which denomination of Christianity this pastor is, because he believes in a strange version of life after death

  3. abdullah

    August 24, 2019 12:24 pm

    why didn't you bring a muslim, islam is the second most popular religion, i think their prespective is very important

  4. K Ash

    August 24, 2019 5:43 pm

    Shoulder pain relief? Easily explainable by the PLACEBO EFFECT. Moreover, it would have been interesting to know how long it lasted… I bet you the pain came back and he needed that special "lord touch" again. Funny, one would assume that your Lord would cure for good, no? And haven't you noticed how those "healers" always "cure" something like shoulder pain, back pain but never things like cancer? Or HIV? Or Ebola? Or even diabetes? No? I wonder why…

  5. John C

    August 24, 2019 10:46 pm

    Guys, stop hating at the Rabbi, she was great too. Maybe you missed her point.
    Also she said she's a reformative Jew, so of course she's gonna have different opinions than a "traditional" jew.

  6. Jeremiah Robinson

    August 25, 2019 12:43 am

    I would read a journal about the failures because that's really important and this video brought clarity

  7. ForAllThe StupidShit

    August 25, 2019 1:33 am

    Seriously, how can you make these videos a part of the education curriculum in Canada and the US?

  8. Shenlan

    August 25, 2019 10:03 pm

    I was confused/endeared by the rabbi so I quickly checked on Wikipedia the definition of Reconstructionist Judaism.

    “Kaplan (the founder, let’s say) believed that, in light of advances in philosophy, science and history, it would be impossible for modern Jews to continue to adhere to many of Judaism's traditional theological claims.”

    “Kaplan affirmed that God is not anthropomorphic in any way. […] Kaplan's theology went further to claim that God is not personal, and not a conscious being, nor can God in any way relate to or communicate with humanity. Kaplan's theology defines God as the sum of all natural processes that allow people to become self-fulfilled.”

    I do not pretend to be able to understand a belief by checking out Wikipedia, but I found it quite an interesting evolution of our perception of God.

    Here is its most consequential confutation (summarised).

    “Many writers have criticized the movement […] for being intellectually dishonest for using terms such as “God” and “revelation”, being it a form of "conversion by definition"; in their critique, these redefinitions take non-theistic beliefs and attach theistic terms to them.”

    Quite a reasonable criticism, but It would be rather shallow to consider Reconstructionist Judaism hypocritical to its core.

    If you are still reading you should probably check out a decent source.

    Anyways, interesting discovery. Good content. Thanks.

  9. lester andes

    August 26, 2019 9:31 am

    I'm Father Lemaître, man behind the BIG BANG Theory. I am a scientist and a Catholic priest.

    I wonder why this channel seem to intentionally ignore very intellectual scientific Catholics and Orthodox Christians out there, some of which are former irreligious and atheists.

  10. Ace Star

    August 26, 2019 1:34 pm

    But Buddhists don’t believe in a God, some argue it’s not even a religion but a way of life. And that Rabbi wasn’t showing Judaism properly because Judaism is a bit like the original bible (cough cough the world was created) the only one that was true to the belief is the pastor. You should of done Islam and Hinduism and Christianity

  11. Enlightened Sista

    August 26, 2019 4:57 pm

    When the rabbi said "Im totally Zen" and looked at the Buddist monk I cringed. She was weird most of the video and made no sense most of the time. Everyone was able to clearly articulate why they felt the way they did but she was stranger.

  12. Fam4RM

    August 27, 2019 2:55 am

    Scientific Consensus: Most (if not all, just leaving myself an out) verified religious miracles are easily explained by science. There is no challenges to science. However, the possibilites of life existing as it does on Earth is so low that it may point to a Creator.

  13. hyped kidPh

    August 27, 2019 10:49 am

    i have a question but dont judge or be mad with we but if a scientist doesn't believe in god whould you call them an atheist ?? pls dont judge me

  14. adetokun abeeb

    August 27, 2019 8:38 pm

    please do another one and bring a muslim leader or jew too. i'm recommending Shabir Ally the muslim leader.

  15. Mateen

    August 28, 2019 3:55 pm

    It is very sad that none of them believe in a Creator and that they think science has anything to do with that.

  16. Semir

    August 28, 2019 10:48 pm

    How can religious people (except the Buddhist) don't agree that the universe was created by god? The whole concept of god makes even less sense that way.

  17. Semir

    August 28, 2019 11:04 pm

    Science CAN answer moral questions. How? Our prehistorical ancestors where living in small groups and we were very dependent on each other. Every death of a tribe member, especially a grown up, was very harmful for the whole tribe. We also developed empathy which answers most moral questions. This is all evolution.

  18. Queen of Meong

    August 29, 2019 6:57 pm

    you are better to have Muslim in this conversation. they're balanced between religion and science. they're the most intelligent and pious people. they're believers and also scientists

  19. Simo Henrik

    August 29, 2019 8:19 pm

    "But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”" (Luke 19:40)

    "Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”" (Numbers 22:28)

    ""An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master's manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand."" (Isaiah 1:3)

    "“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:27)

  20. d b

    August 30, 2019 12:39 am

    Let's have educated and professional scientists talk to woo-woo make-believe embracing noodleheads. Why? What's the point? Science is facts — FACTS! — and the others … who cares? Santa Clause, Tooth Fairies, Bigfoot, Invisible Sky-Man, magic … who cares, it's fantasy and fiction. Why are you even trying to give credibility to self-delusional people by trying to put them on the same level as fact based researchers?

  21. Narayan Koss

    August 30, 2019 12:46 am

    Ayyyyy science is cool, but its like a dog sniffing its own ass it likes what is smells, however it doesnt change the fact that its still shite

  22. Jane lane

    August 31, 2019 11:57 am

    Both of these camps follow a dogma but the religious dogmas are much more obvious .These should include people who have a a more middle view point who are free from the dogmatic beliefs.

  23. Sky Patronus

    August 31, 2019 6:43 pm

    How can you do this video without getting a representative of the world's most practiced religion; Islam?????

  24. Turtle_Lord97

    August 31, 2019 9:28 pm

    Most people in the comments criticizing the Rabbi are probably not even Jews. Most rabbis are like her, in Judaism the Torah is not to be taken literally.

  25. Keira Bailey-Hughes

    September 1, 2019 12:52 pm

    The rabbi was a bit confusing otherwise this was such a great conversation. No arguing, they were all basically all the way through calm! It was honestly pretty beautiful and inspiring.

  26. Susss X

    September 1, 2019 12:58 pm

    How can a pastor say that he didn’t knew if praying would really heal a person? Where’s is your faith then? I don’t get it.

  27. Xcraetor

    September 1, 2019 6:07 pm

    I don’t like saying that there are things science can’t explain, I prefer to say that there are things science hasn’t explained yet

  28. FERHAT

    September 2, 2019 9:12 am

    please help me pass these 4000 minutes and 1000 subscribersŞu 4000 saat 1000 aboneyi geçmeme yardımcı olur musunuz

  29. Sammy Sam

    September 3, 2019 7:22 am

    In the pursuit of knowledge and truth, yes. Other than that, they both have different goals and for different reason. Religion is based on belief of reward and punishment. Science is based on discovery and understanding.
    Neither can prove nor disprove.

  30. Abid Chowdhury

    September 4, 2019 7:36 am

    No….insofar as religions always try to actively hinder scientific reasoning, progress and principles. Religion is an outdated way of thinking that should be left behind for something that actually works and is based on verifiable evidence, which is SCIENCE.

  31. Mohammed Jeelani Shaikh

    September 4, 2019 4:10 pm

    Scientists make life easier of people….. religious leaders make life confused.. religious leaders propagates their teaching through , scientists invention…..
    According to me , as a Muslim and doctor ( surgeon) the religion should be personal , it should be between person and God ….
    Moral character is dependent on genes….

  32. R. Hasan

    September 4, 2019 7:22 pm

    There is no muslim priest…good for you

    If there was one the interview would go like this-

    christian guy: blah blah
    Jew lady: blah blah blah
    Volcanolohist: blah blah blah

    Muslim guy: boom

  33. Smiley_Idk

    September 6, 2019 7:12 pm

    explain why most scientists who try to find that God doesnt exist, have more evidence then he DOES exist. Then they become a christian scientist, or something else.

  34. Breflections

    September 7, 2019 8:57 pm

    What the heck, lady? How can you be a Rabbi and believe in Judaism, but actually not believe in it at all? 🤦🏼‍♀️

  35. sara

    September 7, 2019 11:32 pm

    idk why everone's hating on the rabbi, she seems like such a good person– maybe a little ignorant ("zen")– but a good person, nonetheless.

  36. Ellis K

    September 9, 2019 7:15 am

    i literally can not explain enough how much i love middle ground,, i am literally going through each season playlist to check if i missed any episodes just in case thank you jubilee i love you and i don't think you will see this comment because it's too far back long ago but it's okay because the internet will know i love you jubileeeee

  37. Angela Ferrari

    September 9, 2019 9:31 am

    can science help morality? YES. Science teaches equality between 'races' (i.e. ethnicities) and sexes. The theory of evolution teaches to view the world in the eco mode rather than the ego one (i.e. human beings are not the center, but rather a part of the cosmos).
    I believe that secularism should point more at the great potentiality of science as a possible source of explanation for old traditional ethics and morals. Evolution mainly explains how our moral compass makes sense in view of natural selection and survival of the species.

  38. Ike Frost

    September 9, 2019 12:45 pm

    Heroine addicts vs meth addicts

    OnlyFans vs Porn Stars

    Single Mothers vs housewife mothers

    Beyoncé Fans vs Mariah Carey Fans

    Dead or Alive fans vs Tekken fans

    Just kidding, these aren’t going to happen. Although I wouldn’t mind the Mariah Fans vs the Beyoncé fans.

  39. Paige Haley

    September 10, 2019 2:44 am

    I really love that a lot of times when they sit down together they realize that they didn’t necessarily disagree with each other they just interpreted the question differently. I think that it really helps them open their eyes to each other’s opposing believes. It’s what makes this series so beautiful to watch.


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