Clan 404

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Op-Ed: Church on Sundays

03 Apr 2007 by ShogZ

To break the impression that clan404.com is now solely a, poorly written movie review, database I thought it time to add some content with depth.

 A recent news article over at the BBC, here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6517807.stm
Got me thinking on the subject of religion, faith, God et al.

I've recently read professor Dawkin's excellent book 'The God delusion' and all this has had me thinking pretty durn hard about the true nature of the world we live in.

Religion bashing is easy, with a bit of historical comparison, sourcing and textual analysis one can pick apart any of the worlds major faiths by discrediting its literature. Biblical studies over the Renaissance period yielded the science we know as religious study today. And the arguments against the worlds strongest religions remain as strong today as when Darwin first begged God's forgiveness for having to 'tell the truth' in the theory of evolution.

However, as the BBC article highlights, most of us are satisfied with very little intellectual inquiry, despite possesing the faculties to do so. We assume vague, half truths defning ourselves as 'Christian' or 'Agnostic' (In the West at least) and turn to a dimly remembered version of school-time Christianity when the going gets rough. Whilst any one religion does not have all the answers any longer and none of the major texts can (IMHO) stand up to intense scrutiny, that does not mean that belief in God is redundant or illogical.

If we define religion as beliefs supported by a set of practices then to some, science is a religion unto itself. The belief is the quest for universal truth which is suported by the practice of rigourous logic and scientific inquiry. True, scientists dont simply explain away the unknown with 'Magic Man in the sky did it' but neither do they have all the answers. The irk for most scientists or, dare I say, rationalists, as I see it is the blind acceptance by the religious masses that if there's no current answer it doesnt warrant study because 'God did it'. This is true most of the time, indeed Dawkin's refers to it as the 'God of the gaps' theory in his book. Where there is no science as yet, God exists, when science shines its light into a gap, belief simply fills another one, and so on.

However there are a group of people beyond the agnostic and the scientific, they are the deists. They believe in God, but don't necessarily feel that they have any special place in God's existance, being merely another form of life, albeit one cognicent enough to marvel at creation.
Of course this theory has its detractors too, on the religious side comes the argument 'If God exists and gifted the capacity for independant thought surely it is divine will that we search, find and subsequently praise.' And the scientific: 'Accepting the existence of God with little or no evidenc eother than the lack of explanation for certain phenomena is no more logical than ascribing all life to a giant teapot spinning in the sky over Pluto'.

Both arguments have their weaknesses, first the religious argument that if God exists we must naturally create a religion and follow/serve is somewhat self aggrandising. Whoever said mankind was so special? If that's true how do we differentiate between competing religions? Which is truly inspired by God? Who's miracles are bigger? The answer is clouded in 'we cannot know the mind of God' answers. Which sadly are circular and axiomatic. For everythnig we cant explain 'God did it' and for everythnig we dont understand but do know 'Dont ask'. Logic is not the enemy of religion, but it isn't even treated on equal terms in this argument.

Second, science. It is a myth that science jumps form fact to well established fact. It doesn't. Many areas of subjects now taken for granted (Ironically like the vague recollection of religion we all carry) are not factual, just hypothetical. Some Darwinists will crow that evolution is a 'proven fact'. Just because something is observable and repeatable in current circumstances does not make it a fact. There could be many reasons or exceptions to our rule, indeed there are many gaps in the evolutionary chain as we know it, just in general, our rule works most of the time. Second, Big Bang theory. Creationists have a problem with this one as it means the universe didnt start with God saying 'Be'. Sure the universe may not have been made in 7 days, but who said God didnt kick off the bang? Second we enter the circular realm of 'what came first' what created the bang etc. Again we have plenty of circumstantial evidence that backs up the idea of an expanding universe, but in an example of where science continues to contradict, an older-modern (If such an oxymoron can be used) view was that the universe would expand and contract, there are now studies indicating it will expand forever. Again, no answers.

We are, to borrow from Fight Club, the middle children of history. No longer obediant to religion through ignorance to the world, but not illuminated enough by Science to drop our ideas of divinity. In short, we've got problems.

All comments welcome, peace.