Saying YES to Science and Religion

Saying Yes is not just a response to a request or an order. Being Yes is a way of being human. We cannot but be Yes. We are our Yes in the world. There are several yesses that make this fundamental Yes. Among these yeses also there are nos. an instance of saying no is an instance of being Yes to our innermost self. This means our life is a laud Amen even when we seem to live a no. Thinking along with this mode of affirmations may examine the relations between Science and Religion. Let’s consider the logic of Yes and see how we can say Yes to Science and Yes to Religion. To do this, lets us understand what Jacques Derrida teaches us about our own signature. We Know that our signature signifies us. It says our Yes at several levels.

We sign our documents thinking that they are certified by us. Derrida on the contrary thinks that it is the ear of the other that signs. It is an ear of the Other that listens to our address with ken-enough attention and responds to it. It is only then our signature is said to have taken place. This indicates that the ear is a perceiving organ. We do also have our eye of Other at play in the signature. This makes it a countersignature. The signature is a countersignature because it becomes relevant only when its reproducibility is confirmed by comparing one handwritten instantiation of the signatories name with others. This means the Other legitimate our signature. In some way, our act of signing posits and negates its own singularity. Our signature, therefore, happens only when recognized by the Other.

If we reflect deeply on our signature we can see that it is our way of saying Yes. We can think of such a Yes as our proto-posture that undergirds all our utterances but it is waiting for the Yes of the Other. Our Yes becomes Yes only when it receives the Yes of the Other. This is why our speaking, writing and being is nothing but our way of Yessings. This means our Yes that undergirds our speaking, writing and being is a Yes in the coming. We may say there is a Yes condition of every signature and of every utterance that we make. This Yes condition is waiting for the Other that it does not constitute to ratify its signature or utterance. It can only ask this Other to say Yes. It is when this other that one does not constitute says Yes and our signature, speech and being becomes our Yes in the world. Our Yes is ratified by the Yes of the Other.

In this respect, our saying of Yes cannot affirm itself, it cannot ‘yes’ its own yes-ness, without betraying its dependence on another Yes, the Yes—a yes whose affirmative character the first yes can neither produce nor take it as given. Therefore, our Yes is anterior to all our utterances as well as interior to them and is waiting for the exterior Yes of the Other. Thus our Yes lives in the Yes that stays in the promise of the Other. Yes, therefore, is true Yes in the coming. Hence, there cannot be a last word on the Yes. If there is the last word on our Yes, it cannot be Yes. The exterior Yes becomes a response to the anterior Yes, therefore, it cannot be posterior Yes. It remains always in the promise, always in the happening, always in the Yessing .

The Yes that comes as a response to our anterior Yes can be of the form of a No. This No is Also of the form of Yes. it belongs to the truth of being Yes in the world. It is also not a final No or closure. No Yes, even one that has the form of No can be the last word. Yes, therefore, continues yessing even when this yessing articulate an affirmative no. This means Yes remains in the dialogical mode of becoming Yes. Hence, each individual instance of Yes calls for another yes. Each yes calls for a dialogical Yes. Because Yes remains in the dialogical process of becoming, there is no guarantee that the reply to such a call is anything but another call for yet another Yes, which means that Yes is never more or less than on the way of becoming Yes in the world. Our Yes, therefore, always remains under a promise. Yes is a verb. It is on the way to yessing. It makes us to Yes. It is we who Yes. It is we who become Yes in the world.

After reflecting on the dynamics of Yes, we can now think about what it means to say Yes to Science and Religion. This saying Yes invites us to be Yes to both Science and Religion. This being Yes to Science and Religion is not one that just juxtaposes them side by side. this Yes is not conflictual and therefore, it does not oppose them and set them into a dialectical spiral. It is a Yes that says Yes to the Yes of Science that is waiting for affirmation. It is a Yes that is a proto-posture of Science. It is also a Yes that is saying Yes to the Yes of religion, its proto-posture that is also waiting for affirmation. It is by being Yes to the proto-postures of both science and religion that we become the Other that affirms the condition of Yes in both of them. By making our being Yes in the world into a Yes of an affirming Other that we bring the Yes of Science and the Yes of religion into a process of dialogical Yesssing. Thus, becoming a Yes to Science and Religion, we set them into a dialogical mode of Yessing. There is momentum in this Yessing. It can transform Science and Religion as well as our society. Being Yes to science and religion we set their dialogical Yessing into motion and open ourselves and our Society for a radical transformation. There is no last word on this affirmative Yessing of Science and Religion. It stays always in the coming.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao