Maybe ‘tis the season for the spiritual and the secular to clash. Or maybe it’s a holdover from the election. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive for some reason.
In the past week I’ve seen a couple of posts on message boards that have dealt with science vs. religion, specifically creationism vs. evolution. One of those threads actually became that; the original intent of the author was to show that America is becoming “stupider” as it gets more religious.
Anyway, the posts got me to thinking, which doesn’t hurt as much as it used to. Remember, these forums I visit are made up mostly of writers, or at least readers, of horror. I don’t think “horror” automatically means the stories have to have a supernatural element (though my graduate thesis committee chairman still disagrees), but it implies that there is something in the story to be afraid of. I contend that if your religion is science, you have nothing to fear.
As I said, the posts in question were primarily creation vs. evolution. My own conviction is that belief in one does not exclude the other. All sacred texts give a creation story relevant to the people writing it and present the story in a way the audience of that time and locale can understand. Could Moses have understood DNA if God explained it to him? Of course not. And paradigm shifts in science may someday make modern beliefs about evolution seem like fairy stories, too.
Science as a religion has to be horribly depressing. One poster argued that there is no scientific proof of the human soul. Another argued against creation, or even the “Intelligent Design” idea (in which God orchestrated evolution). So, what does that mean?
First, if I understand the religion of science correctly, it seems to mean that we are nothing but animated mud balls. As such, there is no reason why we should adhere to any code of morality or civil conduct. Life is not precious because it is an accident. To kill another person is no worse than breaking up a clod of dirt.
Fear? The staple of horror writing? How can you have that if your religion is science? If there is no scientific reason to care for real mud balls, the reader certainly won’t care for made-up mud balls. Not to mention that, without a spiritual element, ghosts, demons and promise/threat of an afterlife has no power to evoke fear.
As you may already know, I was brought up going to Pentecostal churches. And hating it. I don’t attend any church at the moment, but maintain a calm and, I think, rational belief system based on Christian principles. So I can’t imagine living without a sense of spirituality, of higher purpose. To think that a parent could bury a child and think nothing of it because science says the body was never more than dust and water … that’s just too depressing.
To go back to elections, I couldn’t fathom voting for a leader who held science as his or her religion. All the real religions have one basic tenant in common, though it goes by different names. To paraphrase the rule, you should treat other people the way you want them to treat you.
This would not apply to science. The rule of science is natural selection; only the strong survive. In science, the meek not only won’t inherit the earth, they will become food for the strong. So you’d think these disciples of Darwin would support President Bush and the war in Iraq, right? No. Most of them I know are extremely liberal Bush-haters.
And that brings up another element of the “stupider” argument that I’d like to mention. Remember, he said that the rise in religion in the United States is coinciding with the country becoming “stupider.” Not surprisingly, this author was a John Kerry supporter; he lives in the 10th wealthiest state in the country.
If you look at the Catalogue for Philanthropy Web site, you’ll see that most of the states that came out Kerry-blue in the past election are listed at the bottom for charitable giving, but at the top in wealth (our friend’s state is ranked 31 on the Generosity Index). The red states, where religion is stronger and where the author I’m talking about says the “stupider” people live, are at the top in giving. Interestingly, the states at the top of the Generosity Index also show up near the top of most poverty charts.
I believe in God. I believe in the human soul. I believe in charity. I believe in being responsible for your actions and not relying on handouts, no matter how freely those handouts are given. If that makes me stupid, then I’m damn proud to be stupid.
What are your thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from some of the atheists. Why do you adhere to any moral code of conduct if we are all just animated mud? I won’t ridicule you. I just want to understand.