First, I read about the Georgia State Governor holding a day of prayer, asking for rain. I know I'm not the only one who wondered if it would be just as effective to have a rain dance. Then, I met my new co-worker and as we were casually chatting, he mentioned that he likes watching science shows--not for the content, but because he wants to see what those evolution types and Big Bang theory people have to say now that the 'science' is being proven wrong and what has been said in the Bible is being accepted as the best explanation for the beginning of life and the universe. I tried to take solace online, and found that Alex was going through a similar thing across the pond. And the icing on the cake was reading a reaction to the seasonal "War on Christmas" and some of the responses to the post.
How can I not say something?
While I am not particularly religious, and don't adhere to all of the tenets of the religion I was raised with, I have a healthy respect for religion and its role in people's lives, as well as people's religious identity. I sincerely pray for people (and myself). However:
- It bothers me when a day of prayer is announced, asking for rain to come or to stop coming. This is not an effective way to combat droughts; if it were, I'm sure the millions of people suffering from lack of rain in Africa and praying according to their respective religions would have solved their problems by now. They haven't. Our prayers are no more special and will not change the conditions on the ground any more effectively. Encouraging people to conserve as part of our lifestyles and rethinking our agricultural policies may help. Just a thought.
- I think it is dangerous when religion and faith in that religion--any religion--are used to not think. Not because science is absolute and can replace religion, but because when we stop thinking and blindly accept a doctrine, we are starting on a road that will take us to dark, dark places. It will be easier to give into fear and act without thinking. We become self-righteous in our beliefs and reject alternatives as blasphemy. My Muslim and Christian co-workers may mutually reject the idea of evolution and think all of these 'theories' are plots to disprove God and disrupt His will, but none of these theories disprove God. They try explain beginnings. If any of these people actually read Darwin, they would understand it better and wouldn't try to disprove evolution through Biblical/Quranic quotes. Even worse is when they mix theories and ideas in an effort to prove their point. Lamarckian evolution is different from Darwin's theory; neither prove that God doesn't exist. It is perfectly acceptable to believe in God and consider the possibility that the universe was not created in six days, without compromising your faith. As far as I know, all Abrahamic religions encourage questioning and thinking. Despite common perceptions, Islam teaches its adherents to think and question and not follow the faith of their fathers blindly. Judaic tradition encourages the same thing. Then why is it that you cannot be 'faithful' if you don't cling to ideas that are long obsolete and disputed?
- As someone who lived in a theocratic country, I am pretty sure Christians in this country are not being persecuted for their faith when someone says "Happy Holidays". As a matter of fact, on days when I'm thin skinned and paranoid, I think Muslims are being persecuted, what with the wars against Muslims, the profiling and the constantly suspicious looks every time I don't apologize for my religion. But at this point, this is still paranoia. Christians still enjoy a healthy majority, attend their houses of worship without fear (and broadcast it on television daily) and proselytize in public and private venues. Where I come from, none of that rings of persecution; it's the order of the day.