Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Synchronicity

So a few things happened today, and they all seemed to be along the same lines: Religion.

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.
I realize this little rant won't change anyone's mind. I'm pretty sure someone will come and offer me salvation pretty soon, as long as I believe what they believe--otherwise, I will burn in the eternal flames of hell. But that's where my faith comes in, they're not in a position to judge me on this.

4 comments:

TK said...

So...

HAVE you given yourself over the Jesus yet? I mean... you have, right?

Seriously, the thing is, of course your arguments make perfect sense. The catch is this - sometimes the reason the more hardcore religious types don't believe in evolution isn't a question of faith as much as it is a question of doctrine. Many people take issue with the "divine watchmaker" theory, because to accept that God created the evolutionary process is to accept that, in effect, the Bible is wrong.

And I think that's the disconnect, because once you start to believe in mistakes in what is essentially the fundamental root of your belief, well... the slope gets slipperier. So it's an all or nothing proposition.

Huh. "Slipperier" is actually a word.

OK. No more long-winded comments. Sorry.

girl with curious hair said...

No, I haven't. Not even after a Christian lady sat on the floor of my dorm room, eating mypizza and stating that although Jesus loved me, I would go to hell if I didn't accept him as my Lord and Savior. "It is sad, but you must accept him to save yourself." It is the only time I have ever wanted to take my food away from someone I was feeding.

And I agree with you about the slipperier slope. I remember someone telling me that evolution cannot be true because it denies Original Sin, which in turn means that Jesus didn't die for our sins--which is the basis of Christian beliefs. When he put it that way, I could see why they would be so anti-evolution. On the other hand, Muslims are generally anti-evolution as well, despite the fact that we don't believe in Jesus' crusifiction.

As you see, I love long winded comments.

Manda said...

Hey thanks for you comment and some link love. I really appreciated the information on Iran; it's refreshing to hear another perspective. I had read accounts(will have to find them) from some Iranian Christians who experienced prejudice in regards to the employment and some intimidation by local police all because of their proclaimed religious beliefs. Could have been related to where these particular people were living, as well. It's good to hear that it is not the case across the country.

Thanks again for your comment. It never ceases to fascinate me how much I learn from people I've never met.

Oh and I promise I'll never preach to you over pizza.

Bella said...

Very good post!