Different Ideas of God, Same Questions

Different Ideas of God, Same Questions

Could we be asking the same questions, even if we arrive at them from very different traditions? Could our different ideas of God be more compatible with each other, and with science, than we think? If curiosity is what motivates us, many connections that didn’t previously seem possible become apparent.

As part of Sinai and Synapses’ series “More Light, Less Heat,” Rabbi Michal Loving and Rabbi Rachael Jackson discuss how various life experiences showed them how science and religion add up to a holistic human experience.

Rabbi Rachael Jackson is the rabbi of Agudas Israel Congregation in Hendersonville, North Carolina, ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Prior to rabbinical school, she earned her Bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University and worked for a decade as an analytical chemist in biopharmaceutical, biofuel, and hazardous waste companies. These two careers are not as divergent as one might think, for Rachael believes that science and religion are quite similar: while each discipline specializes in its own set of questions, both seek to explain the hows and whys of the world. Science and religion inspire awe, and whether Rachael is working with instruments or working with people, reverence and wonder are constants in her life. The focus of her rabbinate is thus on exploring and imparting the meld of Judaism and modernity, and natural law and Jewish living.  She is especially interested in the field of medical ethics, and is a Board member of the Pardee Hospital Ethics Committee and the incoming Vice President of the Interfaith Assistance Ministries. She is also a 2017-2019 Sinai and Synapses Fellow.

Here she discusses what science and religion have in common, and how she realized this at a young age:

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Rabbi Michal Loving is a community rabbi in southern California. She holds a degree in English and Philosophy from Whittier College, a Master’s degree in Philosophy from California State University Long Beach, and was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Her writing on spirituality, education, and inclusion has appeared in various publications, including The Jewish Community Chronicle, The Reform Advocate, and the book The Sacred Encounter: Jewish Perspectives on Sexuality. When she is not discussing theology, she spends her free time reading, playing Minecraft with her three young sons, and tripping over LEGO pieces.

Here she discusses all the different meanings of religion:

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