Religion has always held a deep fascination for me. I cannot gaze at a sunset, look at a newborn or marvel at the beauty found in nature and not believe in god.

Some say that science and religion are at odds. I think that view is short sighted. I took a dip in the pool of physics trying to better understand the world around me and how it worked. As I read about cosmology I found that many of its progenitors were looking to 'know the mind of god.' Bingo, this is what I wanted to study.

After months of studying over my head I formed this conclusion. Some things are unknowable. Very basic things like why the big bang happened. What forms the matter that makes up the universe?

These unanswered questions are enormous holes in science. Science tries to remain grounded in fact. Anything that is not so grounded is relegated to the realm of philosophy. Since the 'answers' to very basic questions can never be proven they will forever remain philosophy, not science.

Do not misinterpret this view to mean that the impetus to better understand the universe is without value. Deeply rooted in human nature is the desire to understand the how and why of the world. Pure research is a worthy pursuit. The results enrich the lives and understanding of those enjoined in this pursuit.

By definition religion is philosophy. It is a system of beliefs that cannot be grounded in fact. By fact I mean something that can be substantiated by an outside source. Quoting a book that claims to be the one source of truth is simplistic in nature and circular in argument. Akin would be my stating that this writing is holy and the information contained herein is sacrosanct. What outside proof have I that this statement is correct?

Some may get the impression that I believe religion and philosophy are unimportant. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Our philosophy is the bedrock that forms our core beliefs and predicates our actions. It is who we are.

The study of philosophy is often a quest for answers. In this field the Holy Grail is to find a 'seamless cloak'. This is a core system of beliefs that allow the wearer to always be ethical in every situation. Given the intricacy of life this is of course impossible. But again, this line of study is a worthy pursuit because it asks hard questions and demands review of our core beliefs.

This is where I depart from any religious sect. No one religion can have all the answers. All religions together cannot provide a 'seamless cloak' that will carry one through life and into the afterlife.

I have a deep unwavering belief in god. I believe our task on this earth is to learn. I cannot march in lockstep to someone else's idea of how to lead a good life.

That the creator of a universe with infinite possibilities would approve of only one path is unfathomable. There are ideas in every religion worthy of study. But always remember, these are ideas, not dictums that require it's believers to slay their brothers who adhere to a different philosophy.

If god did create the universe it begs the question who created god? Use your beliefs to lead a good life, one filled with love and compassion. If your beliefs lead you in another direction it is time to reexamine those ideas or your understanding of them.