Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It's All Coming Together...

...But at what cost?

In the late 80s and early 90s we had a rash of TV evangelist scandals: Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Garner Ted Armstrong. More recently: Jihadists around the world have been giving Islam a bad name (too many examples to chose just one link for this). Ted Haggard has been exposed as a hypocritical pervert. Pat Robertson has been sticking his foot in his mouth. Now, Jerry Falwell has died. Religion has seen better days.

And so blasphemy is on the rise! Chritopher hitchens has a new book out on atheism (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything). Richard Dawkins was on Colbert the other night promoting his book (The God Delusion). The BBC has recently aired a documentary that is purportedly highly critical of the Church of Scientology. The war between the pious fundies and the godless blasphemers is heating up lately. Good.

However, this guy makes some interesting points about that war in general, and some of the latest sorties specifically.

Personally, I find most atheists just as insufferable as religious fanatics. And the scientific community has its share of dogma (granted, they seem more open to new ideas than the church, but sometimes it takes a Herculean effort to shift that paradigm). What's a fella' to do? Who can I believe in?

I can't decide which idea I find more bizarre: That there is some mystical entity existing outside of existence who created the universe and all it's mayhem, seemingly for the sole purpose of testing whether we can be pushed through all these hoops of reality and still choose to worship him. Or that, for reasons unknown, all of this mayhem and madness emerged suddenly from an infinitesimal point somewhere within a seemingly infinite and eternal void, and to which all of this will one day collapse back into. Neither proposition seems very likely. In fact I don't believe any of it.

However, I do have one belief that places me decidedly in the camp of the godless blasphemers. I truly believe that there is no religious text or doctrine (or scientific ones, for that matter) anywhere on this planet, that contains the literal word of god and is therefore a definitive guide for how people should behave. There are only theories and mythologies. Perceptions and philosophies.

So, by all means, tear down the church steeples, shave the beards, lose the funny hats and the unreasonable restraints on normal sexual behavior. But be wary of becoming that which you despise.

One thing is for certain: You can't be certain of anything.