Education of a materialist

My school years centred around the 1950s in Lincoln. Science was king. I well remember the reverence accorded to white-coated boffins on the television (when we eventually got one). What they said was treated as gospel. The pressure from teachers was for the sciences. This was the future, what the country needed. Humanities were second best, for those with no aptitude for science.

Religion was singing in morning assembly, and when we kids were sent to the Methodist chapel on Sundays. The minister warned us of the dangers of alcohol, while parents kept away and did the garden. Yet we loved the occasional lay preacher who came with song and speeches that stirred our soul with their passion. Except we had no concept of soul.

Spirituality was something we secretly found out about through reading library books. It seemed to be all to do with séances, ouija ouija boards and magic. It was not talked about in polite society, and definitely not recognised as valid by science.

So I emerged from the education system with an essentially materialistic scientific viewpoint, deeply sceptical of religion, and uncomprehending of spirituality. After studying mathematics, I took up what was then called computer science and soon became information systems engineering. I joined the everyday world of industry, married and started a family.

But I always had intimations that there might be something more, choosing the label ‘agnostic’ if pressed on my beliefs [atheism seemed to me to be irrational bravado].

This post is an extract from an article I wrote in 2002 on Science and Spirituality. Refer to that article if you want to read more of the story and how I eventually came to embrace spirituality as central to life.

Featured image of space scientist Dr Robert Goddard in 1924 by NASA, via Wikimedia Commons


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