In my old age I’ve gone from attending to what religion claims to know to focusing on how religion copes with unknowing. Sometimes it does this with faith. Other times it engages in practices—dance, song, pilgrimage, almsgiving, confession—that carry our lives forward. This change has freed me to be both a wholehearted practitioner of my own religion and a genuinely fascinated observer of others without any sense that, in so doing, I am flying in the face of scientific fact. If I were a physicist, I could believe just as I now do.
Religion for me has moved from a position of rivalry with science to one of companionship with art and play. I can attend a religious service in which people are burning incense and ringing bells and marching about in funny-looking dress and think to myself, This is ridiculous! But then, all play is ridiculous. Going to a Broadway musical and spending $250 to sit in a too-small seat for two hours and watch people pretend to someone else is ridiculous—and indispensable. We don’t outgrow art. The same goes for religion.
—Jack Miles, in interview, The Sun (March 2016)