Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reality Over Fantasy

This is the second of a six part series in which I'm going to try to assume various personas, some of which I understand, and some of which I don't, in order to write from that point of view.  Today I'll be playing the part of an atheist writing in a scientific journal about the dangers of religion.
(Only through the application of reason can humanity be free)
I grew up in a religious household, but my parents never forced it down my throat.  I was allowed, instead, to explore various options and come to my own conclusions.  As I developed, I became keenly interested in science and less enamored of religion.  This only grew as I studied the history of religion and the atrocities it has caused and continues to cause.
It's time for us to let go of these fantastical precepts.  I realize that they once provided comfort to a primitive species trying to understand its environment, but as we gained a greater insight into the physical world and the mechanisms behind it, this cloak should have dropped from us.
We once believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe.  It seemed so apparent when we studied the heavens; after all, we couldn't feel ourselves moving, but we could see the stars and planets moving in the sky.  It was only logical at the time to assume that they were rotating around us, and such a belief was in accordance with biblical doctrine.  Since God made man in His own image, He would naturally want His greatest masterpiece at the center of Creation.
We've since come to grasp a far different reality.  Earth is but one tiny planet in one tiny galaxy, and that tiny galaxy is but one of billions in the Universe.  We are the remnants of the Big bang, that explosive event at the beginning of time that created our expanding cosmos.  As we are but an insignificant speck within a universe so large as to defy the imagination, why do we cling to these delusions?
I think it has to do with wanting to feel special.  If there's a God, and He created us, then we have relevance.  The Universe suddenly seems like there might be some semblance of order rather than the random nature that brought us into being, and that comforts many people.  Therefore they reject many of the things proven throughout the years through rational scientific observation and experimentation.  Just as we no longer believe that the Earth is flat, we should no longer believe in the absurd story of Creation when the geological and fossil record shows the gradual evolution of both our world and our species.
Religion has also been responsible for some of our greatest tragedies - the Crusades, the Inquisition, genocides.  All of these have come about as the result of religion and people thinking theirs is the only true one.  Even more recently, the Catholic Church Scandal involving adult priests molesting members of their congregations and seeing their role covered up by the head of the organization speaks to the vile nature of what we give pass due to historical attachment.  Sane minded individuals should be able to see that these destructive influences should be shoved aside.
The more frustrating part is the credence to which people give their God, but only when it suits them.  Mothers and fathers give thanks to God when their child is cured, but they don't place blame on Him when it stands to reason that God would have had to have been the one to create and bestow the disease in the first place.  Sports fans thank God for a home run or the touchdown their quarterback just scored without acknowledging that the opposing sports fans prayed for just the opposite.  Does this mean He's playing favorites, or just that He plunked $100 down to cover the spread for the week?
We've come so far since our hunter-gatherer days, and we could do so much more by relying on reason and fact rather than the notion of an all-powerful deity who can give us whatever we want but chooses not to.

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