December 14, 2009
I’ve talked a little bit about bungee jumping into atheism before. I’ve since settled halfway between the religion bridge and the canyon of science, but I can’t say the same for other people. We are just not OK with being uncertain about anything. We need to know what the weather is outside, how much that flat-screen TV costs and what the spread is on the Cardinals’ game. However, those are little things. When you start talking about the origins of life, the meaning of existence and the ultimate fate of our souls, the stakes get a little higher and tempers start to flare.
Science vs. Religion LIVE AT MANDALAY BAY!
If anyone has been on any internet message board, you know how annoying these debates can get. It starts out innocuously enough with a video of some newborn baby named Charlie viciously assaulting his older brother. Then someone decides to steer the conversation in a completely different directions.
GammyGammy: Oh my god, that is so cute.
FuzzyOne: God? Are you kidding me? Nice reference. God doesn’t make things cute you idiot. Why don’t you just go worship a flying spaghetti monster while you’re at it. You sheep need to open your eyes to the world around you. God doesn’t exist. Do some research next time.
The problem on both sides is that everyone is absolutely 100% positive that their take on existence is the right one. The debate has lost all complexity and is now essentially two options:
1) I believe that God created the Earth 2,500 years ago and dinosaurs were just invented by Hillary Clinton in order to put gay people in the military.
2) Since I’m smarter than you, I know that human emotions are just different combinations of brain fluids and life is a succession of isolated random events. I believe there is no God, because no one can prove it.
I feel that this is where we’re missing the boat. God is an abstract idea, maybe even more of a feeling than anything else. I love my Mom, but I can’t necessarily prove it to you.
Here’s the thing though, there is plenty of uncertainty to go around in this debate. Basically, all religious manuscripts (The New Testament, The Quran, The Twilight Series, etc.) were all heavily edited from volumes and volumes of various writings. We’ve been reading the Cliff’s Notes version of them this whole time. Yeah, you get the gist of it, but it’s not technically the whole picture. Plus, we’ve translated them all from one language to another to another. As Burger King knows, it’s hard to get accurate translations.
Tasty Whopper –> Japanese –> 漢字 –> English –> Whale Colon*
Science, for all its accuracy, really doesn’t know a lot of stuff either. But most accept hypotheses that haven’t been proved yet as fact. Take space for instance. The leading thought is that space is made up 90% dark matter. Problem though: no one really knows what dark matter is all about. Right now scientists are in a lab in Switzerland trying to smash atoms together hoping that they’ll see something called the Higgs-Boson particle. If they can’t find evidence of this particle, then basically a lot of physics theories are going to get thrown right out of the window.
Neither side is perfect. I think religion was a rudimentary attempt at science, a way of explaining things. If I was an Egyptian slave 3,000 years ago and I had one person telling me that the Sun is a ball of plasma that has teeny-tiny clusters of atoms shedding even teenier and tinier electrons which result in an exothermic reaction that allows Earth to have an atmosphere, water to exists, and life to be sustained, then I had another person telling me that the sun was a flaming twig carried through the sky by a giant bird, I’d probably believe the second guy. Because, honestly, it’s just more plausible.
As for me, I believe in some type of unnamable force. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together. Isn’t that a beautiful philosophy?
If that sounds familiar, it should…because it’s from Star Wars.
I’m an Orthodox Jedi.
*Not an accurate translation. I pretty much just made that up.