As many of you know, I’m a scientist I’m also a person who is part of an organized system of religion In particular, I’m jewish and I believe in the tenets of Judaism and I actually get a lot out of religious observance You might be wondering, “How can you be a scientist and also be a religious person?” Scientists are only supposed to believe in observable, quantifiable things that you can physically have proof of Isn’t being religious fundamentally in opposition to everything that being a scientist is about? These are good questions. I’m a thoughtful person, I’m a skeptical person, and I am not a person who believes blindly in anything So, how is it that I believe in G-d and what does that belief look like? Well, maybe it’s easier to start with what I don’t believe G-d is. I don’t believe G-d is an old man with a beard in the sky who grants you magic fairy wishes if you recite the right words or feel guilty enough I don’t believe that G-d can grant you a parking space if you pray hard enough And I don’t believe that G-d has set up some code of behavior and if I don’t live by it, I won’t be granted my place in Heaven among the Angels. So if the G-d I believe in isn’t all of those things Who is G-d? Well, the G-d I believe in is the force in the universe that drives all of the phenomena that we experience as human beings G-d is gravity, and G-d is centrifugal force and G-d is the answer to why everything is the way it is. in the natural world You might be thinking, “Well, that’s not G-d! That’s just science!” I guess you’re right, but in my cultural and religious tradition that goes back thousands of years, we have a tremendous sense of gratitude and humility for our place in the natural and scientific world Understanding equations that describe gravity and pressure and force and torque is science But having a spiritual connection with that information so much so that it brings you to your knees because it is so unbelieveable is what it means to have a relationship with G-d. I also ascribe our ability to think, to reason, to love, to build, to create as divine Because it’s amazing that we exist. Do you ever get that feeling like “Oh my gosh I can’t believe we exist!” I get that feeling all the time A closeness with a notion of G-d gives me the opportunity to experience myself as a spiritual being and not just a physical or a mental one but having a relationship with G-d gives me a chance to understand my inner world. In a way that can’t be measured by inches or SAT scores, or HDL/HDL ratios or by diplomas hung on the wall commemorating learned information It can be measured by the way it feels when you read a poem or a Psalm and you feel like someone out there understands you and there is a purpose to continuing your existence. It can be measured by the way you feel when your stomach flip flops over and drops to the ground when you stare into the eyes of someone that you want to spend the rest of your life with it can be measured by the enormity of emotions you feel when you look at the Milky Way, or when your baby smiles at you for the first time. It can be measured by the depths of dispair that you feel when someone breaks your heart and it can also be measured by the hope you feel when you know that you will love again So what do I get from religion? Well, my religious practice gives me discipline. It’s normal and healthy for humans to have boundaries and I guess to what extent you want them is up to you. For me, my religious tradition helps me to think hard about decisons I make. I only eat certain foods, I make it a priority not to gossip to learn to be more compassionate to find ways to repair the world to meditate, to seek justice and pursue it All of these things are guided by the structure of my religious faith and I’m inspired by the notion of a responsibility to a universe that is governed by something bigger than me. It’s ok for smart people to believe in religion. and we aren’t always happy with how religion looks, or how religious people act But there’s a force in the universe that underlies all of this beautiful chaos. and understanding the relationship between Science and G-d, I think, makes me a better scientist and a more complete person Subscribe to my channel. See ya next time!