Thursday, December 15, 2005

Religion is the Wisdom of the Ages

Long, long ago, before your mother or your grandfather were born child, before humans began to use wheels to move things about, before anyone had learned that the earth is a sphere, before humans knew about electricity and magnetism, before we understood that the contenents drift about on the surface of our globe following the currents deep within Earth's surface, the smartest people in the tribe were assigned the task of speculating about the causes for the events around them: earthquakes, lightning, seasons, wild animals, agriculture, the sun and the moon and other thing which we now know are formed through natural causes. But they had no way of knowing because they lacked the technology to investigate thoroughly. Their mind was their main investigative tool. Most of the phenomena they witnessed were so terrible and awesome that they ascribed them to magical beings who, depending on their emotional state at the moment, could either grow the crops or bring a drought. These beings could kill an infant in its sleep or hurl thunderbolts down from on high. They could be pleased or displeased with our behavior and bring abundance or dearth accordingly.

As time went on, those wisest among us began to make discoveries into how our natural world worked. They discovered that the earth is a planet and not the "firmament" upon which all things are built. They discovered that it revolves around the sun and that the other planets do too. They discovered the properties of electricity and eventually they discovered the elements. What they observed became so complicated they invented new math and better ways to observe and measure the world around us until the idea that magic could influence our natural world became a colloquial fantasy, one not shared by those who seriously investigated the fundamental nature of our universe.

The great mythologies which had served so well before became quaint and one by one they fell out of favor. Who among us still believes that Zeus or Thor hurls the thunderbolts? Who among us believes that Achilles or Jesus were the product of a god and a human? We understand now that that doesn't happen. We know that even if we blaspheme an old god, the floods will not come down to punish our towns. With that knowledge came a difficult responsibility; we had to police our own actions. Since we know that we will not be punished by a god or gods for our transgressions, we must learn how to satisfy our wants and desires while still living together in society in relative harmony using just our moral sense to guide us. We must discover the rules that work to keep society working. Many of those rules can be found in the moral code of the ancient mythologies including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and the like. We should not forget that this information is brought to us by the smartest people of their times. It is, in fact, the wisdom of the ages.

But now our investigations, though they have shattered the myths of creation, have created equally as profound of questions as those proposed by religion. The unfortunate and difficult part is that, although investigation can show us some of what the universe is like, it has yet to tell us why. In all likelihood, we will never know the mind of god because it is simply outside our experiential world. We do, however, know that superstitions that attribute magical causes to events in our history are unfounded and false.

Intelligent design could do very well as the principle for the creation of the universe as a whole but in terms of what happened after that, it falls only into the realm of superstition. The wisest among us are now pursuing the same goal as always, just now the method has been refined and we call it science.

2 comments:

darrelgreene5149 said...
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Improbulus Maximus said...

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