You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.
Sara Surani's Creative Portfolio

IMG_9011 photo 3-2

photo 2-2

While reading The Qassi Lamp, many questions piqued my interest. The story addressed the perceived controversy between religion and science. Going to a school like Harvard, where only 6% of the undergraduate class categorizes itself as “very religious” and 35% of the class is agnostic, the doubt many have for religion is somewhat contagious. Many a times I have questioned my beliefs, wondering if science could answer the questions I have about life better than my religion can. During this time, a close friend enlightened me with a simple story.

“Do you believe that there’s life in the sea beyond what is discovered?” He asked.

“Of course there is!” I responded.

“How do you know?” He questioned.

 “Well, because some divers have seen it!” I exclaimed.

“Have you seen this life?” He smirked.

“No…” I hesitated.

“Then how do you know it’s real?”

I stopped.

“You see, very few divers have gone to the depths of the ocean and told the world of the wonders they discovered. They tell us there is more. They tell us that we aren’t even close to discovering all of the sea creatures out there! But we believe them, even if we haven’t seen these creatures for ourselves. If this is the case, then seeing isn’t believing. Just like this, few have experienced God closely for themselves, and told the world about his magnificence. However, just because we have not reached that point, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. You have to believe.”

As I researched, read, and learned more, I realized that science is the how and religion is the why. They don’t contradict—they coalesce. In order to represent this thought, I created my own version of the qassi lamp, or the saint’s lamp. I took a clear glass vase as my base to represent how originally people had strong, pure beliefs in their religion. They did not doubt it. As years became decades and decades became centuries, layers of education covered the glass of faith. Layers of different colors, thoughts, theories, and ideas. However, the layers of science did not compromise belief in faith. Rather, it made the light more beautiful. Despite the controversies we have in the world today, the light of faith still shines through science. It still shines brightly. It doesn’t conflict with the layers, rather, it joins with the layers to shine even brighter—even more whole.


November 29th, 2014 at 10:13 PM