Science and Religion

Do words like “Intelligent Design” or “Faith in God” make you condescendingly smile or get your eyes rolling? Read-on.

Checking what happened in the scientific community after Darwin, it would be fair to say that scientists as a whole went from being most probably theists to most probably atheists.  Basically, science replaced God or made it obsolete.  Why? and why would that make sense? There are only 2 ways I explain that:
1) they had used the bible as a mere natural history book and then no longer (in which case they should have been a bit more careful and the point is moot).
2) they had used the claimed “facts” of the bible as prop for their faith… when that prop was gone, well that faith was also gone and was put in something more reliable: Science.

In the latter case, which is suspect was more probable, faith then, was just a means to quell the disquieting nature of deep unanswered or unanswerable questions and it still is. Science won,  not because it was objectively true, but because objectivity provides a sense of satisfaction, and interestingly enough that is exactly what traditional religion provides to whose who believe: Satisfactory answers.

Science also aims at satisfying its believers.  Being by definition, a work in progress, what is is true today does not need to be true tomorrow, but scientists have faith that it will eventually provide the right (and satisfactory) answers through application  and refinement of the scientific method.

It is not my contention that all scientist worship science.  There is a (quantum) difference between trusting a particular process and having faith, meaning religious faith, in it.  The way I tell is considering the effect, purpose and result of that trust.

Whenever scientific conclusions are the basis for  determining the meaning and/or purpose of life (or lack thereof) it is most definitely an act of “religious” faith.  It constitutes ultimate belief in a notion/system in/to which one entrusts one’s own intrinsic value (or lack thereof) with no other guarantee than that faith itself. In that, the scientific method is the opiate of the elites… and science is their God.

Such people are no better or worse than the most naive of the fervent faithful in traditional religions.  To that effect I suspect that most skeptics fall in that category of pseudo-religious, having exchanged superstitions, ready-to-consume beliefs and imaginary friends for the more rigorous analysis of hard data paradise or scientific nirvana. To those, one might, while reading their stinging rebuttal and vehement rebuke of biblical or other religious belief, condescendingly smile or roll one’s eyes…

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Why Abraham Matters

You say Abraham, and you get “faith”… father of faith and father of faiths (plural).

Well, Abraham got me thinking and concerned…  Not because of the eventual so called “extremism” that sometimes occurs… but because the simple act of faith.  Let’s face it. God has (per biblical accounts) asked people to do some pretty violent things by faith in the past.  Aren’t we just happy that God no longer asks for that level of violence? Well, is it really the case? I find little evidence that God will not ask the same things nowadays

Let’s put ourselves back in Abraham’s family’s shoes….They did not know about Abraham’s intentions the day he was to sacrifice his son.  Let’s now imagine that somebody followed him to the mountain and see what he is about to do…. How would that person react? How would you react?

Now fast forward to the present.  Let’s say that somebody is about to carry out such an act in the name of God.  How should we react? Granted, the act was not carried out. However, we don’t know in advance is God’s plan. In addition, there is plenty evidence of God going either way, in terms of killings. So what should we do or think?

I would surmise that any sane person would attempt to prevent the act to be executed. And therein lies my first problem: a stated act of faith can look every bit as crazy as any abject act of senseless (senseless for whom?) religious violence to any body who is not privy to God’s intention. Problem? I don’t know how to make the difference between who is obeying to God and who is just a loony with a predilection for mass murder?

I say people of faith can be very dangerous bunch.

Luckily most people of faith would probably not carry an act that is clearly way out of certain range.  The reason? I would say, lack of faith.  They would not believe that God would ask them to carry such an egregious act. In fact their faith would be curtailed by reason.  It is clear that Abraham was not comfortable with sacrificing his son. The order did seem unreasonable to him. Yet his faith was able to get him over the hurdle.

In summary, if you have enough faith there is no act that you could not perform. That is the more faith, the more extreme the acts can be. (That’s why I am very afraid of people of faith, having access to weapons).

Nonetheless, as I mentioned in the very first sentence, extremism is not my main concern… 😀
Instead what has called my attention is the very fact that God would play with Abraham’s feeling just to test him. To the secular individuals out there, that in itself does not seem very loving or caring.  I would think that life is hard enough and Satan interested enough, as to provide ample means to test one’s faith without having to recourse to this kind of mental torture (Notice how Abraham lies to the Pharoh to save his butt, yet is ready to sacrifice his Son).  In fact the whole story sounds a bit grotesque… it feels crude and primitive.  A bit like the many folktales of proving “true love” by making one’s lover jump through fire hoops.

Really, can one imagine God telling Abraham; “Abby, Abby ma man, don’t hurt d child, a was a just kidding bro!”