Friday, February 6, 2009

Travelling Alone

Supernatural belief is what corrupts religion: what normally would be a functional cultural system if it were allowed to reflect on itself rationally is turned irrational by its foundation in the belief of the irrational. Religion, as a cultural organization, provides organized study in ethics, cultural direction and identity, mnemonic rituals that highlight important events and meanings, and community services such as organized charities, rehabilitation, financial advice, and even community babysitting. Religion, as a community device, is a great organizer, but supernatural belief causes it to become out of touch with reality and oppressive.

Often the Catholic Church is criticized for "modernizing" previous canon, and taking divine authority to modify the religion, when really it's not the Church who's unreasonable, but the 10,000 year-old infallible "holy word" that's the problem! Why shouldn't it have the right to modernize its canon? Why not worship the organization itself? At least an organization can make rational decisions - an ancient infallible god cannot. Gods only give definitive answers, while the universe is questions stacked upon mysteries. Without definitive answers from supernatural beings, religion would be able to tackle relevant moral issues. Answers close doors; questions open doors to more questions.

Unfortunately, today the journey to supernatural belief is traveled in crowds, but the journey back toward reason is traveled alone.

The God of The Gaps

I think it's clear that the god of the Bible definitely does not describe the creation as being through evolution either metaphorically or literally. To pretend that he does describe it metaphorically is a huge stretch where one would have to interpret very clear, seemingly completely literal sentences as 'actually a metaphor' - a silly method that could just as easily be used to make any written work say anything you want it to say. It seems to me that either there's a rational point where you have to acknowledge that the written word can no longer be stretched or that no written word has any definitive meaning at all.

Either the Bible is wrong, or our observed evidence is wrong, or written works can be taken metaphorically into absurdity and there's no such thing as a written word that has any specific meaning.

The Bible defines the god that it describes, and that definition itself should be the greatest argument against a 'god of the gaps' to its own believers. It mystifies me how many of them can continue to stretch the meaning of their Bible each time new scientific understanding emerges and still call it the infallible word of god. It leads me to believe that they don't actually believe in God as complete fact, but rather they believe in solidarity with their family and culture. In many ways, I have more respect for fundamentalists that choose to believe that everyone else is simply wrong - at least then it's clear they actually believe that the word is infallible and there's not so much of this doublethink.