Friday, September 3, 2010

Religion is wrong, and science is right
Writing in the Times, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said: "Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation ... The Bible simply isn't interested in how the Universe came into being."
What an absurd statement to make. Every religion makes claims about the origin of the world, and the Judeo-Christian religions are no exception. Those claims have been proven wrong, just like most of the claims in the Bible. The universe is billions of years old, not a few thousand. Humans were not created by God; they evolved from other primates. A river's waters never turned to blood. Jesus did not rise from the dead. These things didn't happen because we know they can't happen.

Faced with the fact that everything their traditions say about the world is certifiably wrong, many religious thinkers since the age of the Enlightenment have responded to this problem by redefining the meaning and purpose of religion. Religion is no longer about using reason to understand God, as it was for Aquinas (patron philosopher of the Catholic Church). Now it's about "faith", which is different from and mercifully immune to "reason". The Bible no longer contains an account of the origin of humans and the universe. Now it's there to give our lives "meaning".

It's analogous to a team which sucks at basketball, and instead of just retiring from basketball, they say, "Okay, basketball no longer means [rules of basketball]. It means sitting in the bleachers and singing Happy Birthday as loud as we can. Look how great we are at basketball."

Meanwhile the other 99% of religious people really do believe their crumbling, 3,000 year old scrolls give a better account of the origin of the world and human beings than science, and they're ready to butcher each other over it at a moment's notice. And hey, if it's a matter of their faith and not their reason, who are we to criticize them, right?

No comments: