religion

10
Jul

Religion in Schools.

As a matter of fact, I absolutely do think that religion should be taught in school.

Seriously.

All schools should teach to teach a mandatory class (lasting at least a semester) on comparative religions and mythologies. Religion would have to taught first from a historical perspective, from origin myths of classic religions (Greek, Roman, Norse, etc) to the rise of the dominant faiths. 

Later in the course, students must gain a working understanding of what each major religion believes, and how those beliefs compare to the other major religions.

And yes, I did say mandatory, for all schools public or private.

07
Jul

When Sex With Your Daughters Is Okay: A Bible Story

Someone approached me a few days ago, attacking an entire demographic, homesexuals in this case, using the Bible as his justification. God says it's evil and therefore homesexuality, and everything that goes with it including (of course) gay marriage, is equally evil. It says so right there in the Bible and since the Bible is the perfect word of God, it is the way it must be. In that case, sex with your daughters must be okay as well. It is, after all, the means by which Jesus Christ eventually came to save us all. Yes, incest is, Biblically speaking, the engine of your salvation.

Before you get angry at me for posting a story with this title, let me assure you that it's perfectly okay.  After all, my story comes from the Bible, the perfect word of God. And if God has no problem with the idea of a father impregnating his daughters, then who are you and I to question this? So read on, and make sure you have your children gathered around you as we share this reading from the Holy Bible. Please turn to Genesis, chapter 19. Verses 30 to 36.

30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.

That's from the King James Version. If that's too out there, how about the New International Version?

30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.” 33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. 34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. 36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father.

Let's pause for a moment to let that sink in.
 
A couple of thoughts . . . First, Lot was one of the good ones; remember that God saved him when he took out Sodom and Gomorrah. 
 
And second, we let kids read this stuff? People who let their kids read the Bible have obviously never read the Bible.
 
A drunken father has sex with his two daughters and (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), he doesn't remember a thing. I can see a few of you in the back saying, "yes, but they got him drunk." Excuse me! That makes it okay? If your logic holds up with the police and most judges in the country, rape victims are going to have an even tougher time than they do now. 
 
If you can somehow manage to convince yourself that Lot can't be blamed for this and that this doesn't in any way prove that the Bible condones behaviour like this, allow me to take you back a little earlier, when God was still hot on Lot. Harken to the Word in the book of Genesis, chapter 19, verses 1 through 8.

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.” “No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.” 3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom —both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” 6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

And from this selfless act of prostituting his own daughters, the purported master of the universe decided that Lot was the one good man in the city. Maybe that's why the daughters were so ready to hump Dad in his old age. Nothing says 'good man' like throwing your daughters out of the house to be raped by a horny crowd of miscreants. We wouldn't want Lot's guests to be inconvenienced.  

There you have it. The Bible says rape and incests are okay with God.

Which takes us back to Jesus. The Bible states that the children that came from this relationship went on to father the Moabites and the Ammonites. King David, who would go on to unite the tribes of Israel and write a few Psalms, was a descendant of the Moabites. So, the entirety of Israel and the birthplace of Christianity, including Jesus Christ (purportedly a direct descendant of King David and therefore able to trace his ancestry to the Moabites), are the product of an incestuous relationship.

Billboard on Bloor Street West in TorontoJune 30, 2012 is the date. Mark your calendars. Jesus said so.

This has been a busy couple of years for apocalypses. Last year, we had at least two that I wrote about and so far this year, I've written about another two. As I mentioned above, there's one coming up in another week or so and, if that doesn't work out, there's that old Mayan calendar end of the world to look forward to. Joss Whedon, in writing the Buffy and Angel series, probably thought he was packing a fair number of them into the two series, but these last couple of years have got him beat.

As you all know, the End Of The World (tm) has been coming  on and off for, oh, at least a couple of thousand years. Jesus himself said that some of his apostles would live to see the end of the world. "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." (Matthew 24:34) But what did Jesus know? It's not like the guy had the Bible to refer to. So let's cut old JC some slack, shall we?

Having the Bible to refer to does not guarantee success though. Harold Camping famously said that the world would end on May 21, 2011 and then, when it didn't happen, he updated his message and said that May 21 was just the beginning of the end of the world and that the real deal would take place around Halloween. 

Fast forward a few months and we've got Ronald Weinland who said the End of the World would take place May 27, 2012. That didn't happen either.

If you were pining for an Apocalypse, maybe June 30th will be your day. The Man Christ Jesus has said that it will happen. That man is Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, the charismatic leader of "Growing in Grace International", a Christian sect that believes that divine power will execute all of us who aren't part of the group and, by extension, have not been saved.

Now I do have to say that this particular Apocalypse will be different than all the others. Not in the sense that anything will happen mind you, but the big thing about this particular Apocalypse is that the world won't be destroyed. That's right. The planet gets a pass and while most of us will be axed by God, members of Growing in Grace will get a special prize. Jose Luis, the Man God Jesus -- yes, Jose is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ -- says that members will be transformed. And they'll get superpowers!  They'll be able to fly, walk through walls, and they'll be immortal. How cool is that?

Like Harold Camping, this guy has a respectable following with members in 130 countries. He also has radio stations pumping out his message of transformation 24 hours a day and a TV network. And they have billboards in major cities across the US and Canada. There's even one in Toronto on Bloor Street West. The group's members can be identified, in many cases, by the number '666' tatooed on their bodies. While most people think of 666 as the number of the beast, the group suggests it is the number of wisdom, a symbol of the coming transformation. It's a complicated explanation of the Apostle Paul's depiction of Jesus Christ. 

You see, according to Luis (sorry, I mean, Jesus Christ), Antichrist, as explained by Paul, means "no longer following Jesus of Nazareth as he lived in the days of his flesh" so it's more like an Uber-Christ, or a Super-Christ. You see? So branding yourself with a '666' tattoo means you're following the evolution of Christ, so to speak. And so, on June 30, the group will take over the entire world. IN the words of Jesus, "A government where we will govern everything with a perfect order. This is my last farewell for you. The time is finished. We will see each other soon in Armageddon."

Before you run off to make your final preparations, again, check out the video below.  Enjoy. The end is nigh. Again.

You have to admit, it could have happened. 
 
 
What was better? The opium or the sex?
 
 
 
08
Jun

Attacking Your Religion : An Open Letter

I write about a great many things, from Linux and open source software, to technology in general, to science fiction, to current events, to religion, and anything else that takes my fancy. Some of what I post is educational and some of it is fluff. For the most part, people seem to like what I write and given that it's hard to get really riled about a tutorial on a Linux appliation, I get very few angry or negative comments. Unless I talk about religion. Suddenly the landscape changes and I get accused of all sorts of strange things. The most common question is something along the lines of "Why are you doing this? Why are you attacking people's faith?" Recently, I received this message from a friend on Facebook.

I find it interesting that you feel you need to put so much energy into insulting Christians and the bible. I wonder why you think it is ok to do so? I guess it would be okay to publicly insult various races, homosexuals, anyone who doesn't think like you. It makes me sad.

The email was private and, as such, I am not disclosing who wrote it, but since the question comes up often enough, this post is an attempt to answer that question without going over the same ground time and again with every person who asks me the same question. Read on and feel free to comment.

I wouldn't ordinarily open a private conversation on this topic since I make my views public and, as such, stand behind them. I'm not looking to offend you specifically, even if I am critical of things you personally believe in. I take no offense if people challenge the things I believe in and I readily welcome and accept that I am wrong when new facts present themselves. That’s not saying that I might not be sad or temporarily upset to discover I was wrong, but I’d rather have the facts than continue working under false assumptions.

Under no circumstances would I attack a person on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation. If you follow what I write, you’ll discover that I am a vocal advocate of gay and lesbian rights as well as a staunch defender of gender equality. I routinely champion these causes and I challenge and confront those who would take these rights away or marginalize them. In suggesting that I might “think it is okay to do so”, you’re either reacting emotionally or you don’t know me at all, nor do you take the time to read what I write. In short you are being unfair. As for people who don't think like me, I welcome them and their ideas; I love a good discussion and having everyone agree with everything I think and say would be tiresome to say the least. 

Religion, on the other hand, is fair game. It is no different than politics and has no right to special treatment, especially since more harm is ever done in the name of religion than good.

When I write about religion, I don’t do it to be mean-spirited. You’re a believer. I get that. I also understand that you hold those beliefs dear. You probably believe that your religion and its teachings make the world a better place; that it makes your own life richer. I get that too.

Unlike you however, I believe religion (and superstition in all its guises) is dangerous to our world and everyone in it. If the god you believe in serves you, then so be it. But that won't change the fact that I see religion not as a force for good, but a tool for evil and history, both long past and recent, proves me right time and again. There is precious little evidence for a god and even if there is (a huge if), it's obvious he/she/it doesn't care about us. We are children of the universe. Why do we need to worship something? Why not simply do our best to be excellent to each other.

Religion poisons everything,” Christopher Hitchens wrote. “As well as a menace to civilization, it has become a threat to human survival.

That’s why I speak out about religion and the evils done in its name, in its god’s name. Because people should speak out when they see injustice being committed; when they see their fellow human beings being harmed, or lied to, or enslaved, or tortured, or any of the countless evil thing done in the name of god. Good people have to stand up to and fight against evil. And that’s what I am doing. If you actually read what I write, or the stories I post, it’s almost always in reaction to someone having done something evil in the name of god. Like that minister who suggest we put gays and lesbians inside electrical fences until ‘their kind’ dies out. Or the pastor who sermon asked that the government hunt down and kill homosexuals because the bible says we should do that in Leviticus. What is wrong with exposing these people? Should we ignore them and let them have their way only because they’re Christians? Is it okay to hate if you hate in the name of god? Should we let these people do and say as they please, growing their flocks and poisoning their minds? Or do you look the other way and remain silent because you fear it will make you or your religion look bad? Are you willing to overlook all of the evil things in the bible because it's scripture?

Is that really what you believe?

If you see evil being committed in the name of religion, don't you, as a believer, have a responsibility (as I feel I do) to speak out against those injustices?

Reality, reason, and science, all trump faith. While I won't deny that faith can help the occasional individual (in ways I don't feel), faith does nothing for the world at large. People are important. Life is important. This world is important. Arguing over what Jesus or Mohammed or Buddha really meant is an exercise in futility. If this holy book or that holy book isn't 100% right, then all of it is up for grabs. It either is the inspired word of god, or it isn't. If you aren't comfortable with that logic, I'm sorry.

The Bible, the Quran, the Talmud, and a host of other holy books are responsible for more pain and horror than any human being should ever be able to defend. People who continue to hold up these tomes as guides for living or for supporting a specific ideology are not helping to further our species. Just as you feel the need to defend your faith, I feel the need to defend human life. The very idea that some father figure in the sky will reward us when we die is anathema to our future. Live this life as though it is precious, as though it's the only life you, your family, or your friends will ever have. Because I'm probably right. As the old saying goes, "life is not a dress rehearsal".

I trust in my feeling that you are a good person. In that respect, you could say I have faith. Nevertheless, if you are the good person I believe you to be, it's not because of your faith. It's because of who you are. And good people will continue to be good people regardless of what their religions or faiths teach them. Faith just gets in the way.

Anyhow, I could go on but I'll leave further comments for future posts. I speak out against religion because I believe it must be done. It was never about you.

28
May

The World Ended Yesterday. How Do You Feel?

In case you missed it, yesterday was the end of the world. Again.

According to Ronald Weinland, the author of "2008 - God's Final Witness", the countdown to the end of the world started December 14, 2008 when the "the First Trumpet of the Seventh Seal of the Book of Revelation sounded". Trumpets are always extremely popular harbingers of doom. If you hear a trumpet, duck. But I digress . . . Apparently, since December '08, things have been going seriously downhill and now Armageddon has (apparently) happened and we're all dead. Apparently. 

I, for one, am sincerely happy that I had a chance to catch the new Avengers movie before the whole planet went belly up. 

Mr. Weinland now joins notables like Harold Camping for failing to predict the Biblically prophesized end of time. Interestingly, like Mr. Camping, it seems Mr. Weinland also has a thing for May apocalypses. After all, nothing makes you pine for Armageddon like May flowers. 

For those who would like to see how it all ended yesterday, visit the-end.com.

Enjoy! Or don't. 

And if you're still around out there, and you know of other up-and-coming Apocalypses (apocalypsi?), please, leave me a comment and let me know. I do so love a good end of times prediction.

16
May

Christians on the Edge of Atheism

A great many Christians are sailing awfully close to the edge of atheism in trying to justify those things in the Bible that are distateful to them. Say what you want about the moral lessons therein and the Word of God, there's a lot of truly hateful things in the Bible as well. Anyone who truly believes that every word of that book is the absolute Truth, direct from God himself, is a potentially dangerous person and I sincerely hope somebody is keeping a close eye on their actions. The Bible, after all, condones slavery, rape, and murder in countless passages. Those who truly believe that when God says "kill", you shoudl kill, are dangerous people.

Most Christians I know, however, are basically hypocrites, something I'm deeply thankful for. They waffle on the whole Bible being a perfect thing, picking and choosing the bits they like as though they were at a Chinese buffet, unsure of what everything is but indulging in the things they're comfortable with, like the deep fried chicken balls and the egg rolls. They ignore the vast majority of the Bible and instead focus on Jesus, the God made man. He's the hero of the story, after all, and the other 85% or so of the Bible can pretty much be ignored if you just focus on Jesus. Right?

If God is indeed God and Jesus an incarnation thereof, then pretty much every shred of evidence of his existence comes from the Bible. If you do not choose to believe in what the Bible says, or you elect to pick and choose the bits that matter to you, then you might, deep down inside, really be an atheist or, minimally an agnostic. No Bible pretty much adds up to no Jesus.

One Christian friend of mine argued that Chist didn't actually die on the cross. He points to a book called, "How Jesus Became Christian". The book challenges the modern Christian church on its not being Christian at all but a church of the apostle Paul. It lays a lot of the problems with Cristianity at Paul's feet, blaming him for taking things literally or misinterpreting the text. "Get back to the teachings of Jesus and the church is better off," my friend argued. He told me that Chist did not die on the cross, but rather endured great pain and pulled through; after attending a seminar called "A Coroner at Calvary", where forensic evidence to that effect was presented.

All right, let's talk about that one, mostly because it's pretty important in the Christian canon. If Christ did not die on the cross, then there is no miracle of the resurrection and he wasn't God. If he was merely (and I mean no disrespect by the word 'merely' here) a great teacher and healer, then he was a man. He could be as great as you want him to be, but he is still a man and, therefore, not somebody you worship. 

And, to push this to the breaking point, if we accept the 'teachings of Jesus' as the basis for a religion, then we also accept the evil he did and the evil he condoned as somehow being good. If I accept that he lived as the Bible states, then Jesus was far from perfect. He may not have been a bad guy, all in all -- he may have been a great guy -- but he was just a guy.

There have been plenty of great men and women on par with, and surpassing, Jesus Christ. Some, I'm sure, have worshippers. They, however, don't get the credit, or the social acceptance, that the borderline believers of Christ do. In short, most people do not worship somebody for being 'just a guy', no matter how wonderful a guy (or gal) they were. So what about you, my nominally Christian friends. Do you? How much of your holy book, of your religion, are you willing to turn a blind eye to before you accept that maybe, just maybe, you might not be as much a Christian as you think?

18
Apr

We want to talk to you about God

A few minutes ago (it's just after 11:00 am on this Wednesday morning, April 18, 2012), I had two very nice ladies come to the door to talk to me about god, the bible, and our place in the universe. They asked me how I was marking this time after the celebration of the lord's resurrection. I explained that I was an atheist and we proceeded to chat for about 10 minutes as they tried to convince me that the universe must have a designer, etc. They asked me how long I had been an atheist and what caused me to abandon my belief in god and his son. I assured them that I simply did not believe that there is such a being as god, or gods for that matter, and that religion was a colossal waste of time.

How then did all this come about, they asked, gesturing to the world around us. I gave a two minute history of the creation of the universe at the time of the Big Bang, the subsequent creation of heavier elements in the death of stars billions of years ago, the eventual collapse of particles into our planet, and the slow, four and a half billion year evolutionary road to us having this discussion.

The older woman, a well spoken elderly lady, had all the classic creationist arguments to science down pat; all wrong, but consistent on message. She tried her best to insert god into the 'gaps' of our scientific knowledge; always a bad idea since the gaps are always getting filled as we know more and more about our world and the laws that govern our universe.

"Don't you feel that there has to be a designer?"

No, I don't. Evolution is a fact.

"So you believe that we came from monkeys."

No, of course not. Monkeys and humans are descended from a common ancestor.

"But evolution says that things get better."

It doesn't necessarily get better. Not all evolutionary changes are good. Good or bad doesn't enter into it and no designer is required for the process to take place.

"You accept that a car is created." Of course. "But if you just leave a car alone, it doesn't evolve. It just decays and rusts and that isn't good."

It isn't bad either. When that tree over there dies, it decays, goes back into the soil and provides nutrients for the life that grows from it.

"So you don't believe in good or evil then?" she asked.

I have no trouble with the concept of good and evil, I explained.

"Then how do you explain the good that people do if it's isn't inspired by god?"

People will be good with or without god. People will be bad in the same way, but they can do terrible things in the name of a god in which they truly believe. Religion, in that way, is responsible for more death, destruction, and horror, than any other force or concept in human history.

At this point, the younger of the two, a middle aged woman who is probably close to my own age, starts flipping through the bible she is holding. The answers aren't there, I assured her. And yes, I had read it. All of it.

"Then you missed a lot of it," she said. "How do you explain the wisdom of the words."

She tried to explain that the answers were in that book she was holding, as 'directed' by god. I explained the fallacy of that belief. It's just a book, I told her, cobbled together over centuries by a variety of people and from a number of different faiths. It only looks like a single volume in that it's pressed between two covers. Much of it is fiction and the parts that aren't are innacurate at best. It's worthless as a guide for life in today's world.  I think I hurt her feelings. She said that I was insulting her. I assured her that no insult was intended, that it was just a book, and that she was free to make fun of or insult any of the hundreds of books in my house. 

We ended with the younger woman asking if there was some reason, some badness in my childhood, that made me 'hate god'. I explained that time, education, and experience had all gone to assure me there simply was no reason for believing in such a being. 

The younger explained that they were here trying to make the world a better place, and here was I was attacking their belief, angry at their being here. "If you don't want to talk to us," she began. If I hadn't wanted to talk to you, I would have sent you on your way as soon as I had noticed the book you were holding. They were very nice, I assured them, and I enjoyed the discussion.

The elderly woman, however, was unflappable, and did her best to address and counter all my arguments as I offered them. It didn't work. In the end, we wished each other a lovely day and they went on their ways.

Times like this, I wish I could hear the discussion that followed our parting.

19
Jan

Sanitized For Your Protection

Over the next few days, visitors will be treated to some changes. The first, and fairly obvious change, is that I've changed the look. In point of fact, I have completely reloaded the old "Marcel Gagné, Writer and Free Thinker at Large" site so that it's modern, up to date, and basically doesn't give me errors because I'm still paying for some experimental site work I did years ago that didn't quite work out. So the look will hopefully be something you enjoy as well. Then, there's content.

The first problem with content is that migrating comments was somewhat more difficult than migrating my blog and various articles from the site. Meaning that a lot of older comments may be gone forever (for this, I apologize but if you really need to check on what you said, I've kept a copy of the old site, locked in its last incarnation, at old.marcelgagne.com. Now, given that this is my personal Website, I feel that I can talk about whatever my little heart desires. And I do. A lot of the content has to do with Linux, Free and Open Source Software, a subject on which I am rather passionate, having written six books and several hundred articles for several different magazines.

But I also write about other things . . . 

These 'other things' include, but are not limited to, current events, science, politics, publishing, religion, atheism, and whatever else catches my attention including videos of little children facing off against Darth Vader. On some of these topics, most notably religion and politics, I may offend some of you. I consider this a good thing. Not because I like to offend people, but because it means I wrote about a subject that stirred something in you that you may not have wanted stirred, something that might be of value if you choose to explore the reasons why it offended you. This is all open to interpretation, much of it by you, the reader.  

All that said, I accept that you may not be coming to read my stuff because you want to hear me talk politics but because you want to learn or read about Linux and Free and Open Source software. To that end, I will from this moment on, post all Linux and FOSS stories to my Cooking With Linux site as well as here. If you just want the Linux/FOSS stuff without the extraneous attitude on other topics, stick with Cooking With Linux. Be warned, however, that I do occasionally include wine reviews on that site.

Hey, I'm only going to sanitize so much here.

02
Dec

Intelligent Design's Inferiority Complex

Bad ideas never die. Not without a fight. Like a disease causing bacteria or virus, they are occasionally defeated by Herculean measures, sometimes requiring that the host suffer extensive (but hopefully not fatal) damage or pain in an effort to rid the body of the invader. Sadly, as anyone who has battled serious illness, such as a cancer, the disease does occasionally return to battle anew. Even when the enemy has been defeated, you can never take for granted that it has been permanently eradicated.

So it is with Intelligent Design, or ID. In case you've been away in some place far more enlightened than this little blue-green planet of ours, Intelligent Design is an attempt by the superstitious and fearful to make the creation myth sound more scientific, thereby giving the old fable a sheen of reason.

You have to feel a special kind of pity, or sadness, for the proponents of intelligent design. Somewhere deep inside, they understand that their creation myths are, in today's world, nothing more than childish stories meant for a less enlightened age. So they try to wrap their fables and fairy tales in the scientific equivalent of the Emperor's new clothes. Nothing to see from a scientific perspective but Intelligent Design certainly sounds better than trying to pretend that the universe was created in six days and that a talking snake got the first man and woman thrown out of their all expenses paid five star resort. 

Burdened as they are with a huge weight of low self-esteem, courtesy of their religion, they look for a way to make their faith appear somewhat more modern and relevant in a world where science boldly explores and uncovers age-old mysteries, shedding light into the dark corners of ignorance. Religion, the offspring of ignorance, recoils like a vampyre exposed to sunlight. Intelligent Design seeks to protect this mystic child by suggesting that its existence is entirely compatible with science. 

Intelligent Design says, "science doesn't have all the answers" which is absolutely true. They point to the gaps in our knowledge of life, the universe, and everything, then ask, "how does your science explain these gaps?" They, of course, have an answer, but they don't call him God. That would be playing their hand too early. Instead they propose an "intelligence" that, here and there, tweaked and directed the universe, setting about the engine of creation that gave rise to us. If they can convince you that this intelligence is likely, they might suggest that you give him a name. Like God. Just as a placeholder, mind you.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest to you that the people advocating ID are probably less than honest, even with themselves. Some are, so they say, willing to talk about the Big Bang with the idea that God himself started the whole process, with the endgame being us, of course. What if he just started the universe knowing that someday, we would show up? That would be acceptable as well to a few in the ID crowd. But take note, it's always about them. About us.

Let's pretend for a moment that the universe was in fact created by some intelligence way back even before the Triassic was fashionable. Before the Earth and even our sun was a glimmer in the Milky Way's eye. This intelligence does its work and BANG, the universe is born. Fast forward 14 billion(ish) years and here we are. Do we then accept that this multi-billion year intelligence is somehow worthy of our worship?

Pretend again that this intelligence works for some other intelligence. Is this an acceptable stand-in for God? Do we worship him? Now pretend that this intelligence works for the equivalent of the Large Hadron Collider project and that, in the course of his work, creates a number of universes that blink into existence for a split second, tantalizingly close enough for this intelligence to measure. Then, through the strange nuances of the quantum, these universes retire to their own version of space time, beginning the cycle of creation, birth, death, and evolution, for billions of years until some other intelligence starts to wonder where they came from. Is this technician God? Do we worship him?

The short anwser is no. For a god to be worthy of worship, he has to care about you, and perhaps more importantly, you specifically. It's never about God. It's about the person who feels less than fulfilled if he or she can't imagine some universe and time-spanning being caring deeply about their lowly position in the vastness of space-time.

Belief in God or Intelligent Design, is a rather sad but socially acceptable and supported form of low self-esteem. It's a sanctioned inferiority complex.

Except that you shouldn't feel down. You and I are the products of billions of years of cosmic evolution. In a very real sense, it's even more miraculous to think that you and I are here to discuss these ideas without the need for some father figure in the sky who created us. We have our own mothers and fathers and they had theirs. Life, along with the power to question its origins, is glorious enough without making up stories about a non-existent creator.

And if there was some lab technician in some other universe many billions of years ago who was responsible for getting things going. I'm thankful for your crazy experiment.

But I won't worship you.

Pages

Comments

Subscribe to RSS - religion