Evolution and Spirituality

I’ve been a fan of Sir David Attenborough’s work since childhood. I share his fascination for the natural world. Unlike Sir David, I grew up believing things evolved, yet now I do feel this is all part of a Divine plan. Not that I disagree that life has evolved, in one way or another. But that there is a grand design in nature, which cannot easily be explained.

On the other hand, I think religiosity can be a serious problem, and I say this as a devout Muslim! There is little wrong with genuine spirituality, but the problem that often arises, when religion gets organised; It can lose the initial spark and profound wisdom of it’s guiding lights. Corruption sets in, and the “official” religious leaders are often just doing a job. Hence, the hypocrisy that arises, naturally causes people to shy away from religion.

Yet, I have found tremendous good in religion. I believe we need a spiritual outlook on life, that it is good for us. But we must retain perspective, reason and science. One of the great wisdoms found in many ancient scriptures, is that we need to find balance. We need to walk the middle way; as the Buddha discovered, “if you tighten the string too much, it will break. But if you leave it loose, it will not play.” In between these too extremes, we find harmony and enlightenment.

I feel I have profoundly benefited, from my scientific upbringing, as I have benefited from spirituality. I would give up neither, neither do I see any real contradiction. Our challenge is really narrow minded perception. Science and spirituality are equally valid ways of understanding, problems only arise when we don’t see this, and feel our way, is the only way of seeing things.

Paul Salahuddin Armstrong

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