The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Shut It" and Work Together: A Modest Proposal for a Polarized Society

Flag of truce, warring camps ... let's talk
Okay, all you science and religious guys and gals who have been making all the noise out there--shrieking about how your point of view is absolutely right and the other guy's is absolutely wrong ... and both sides claiming the other side is going to their version of hell (irredeemable stupidity for one side and the fiery pit for the other ... yeah, I contend you're both really religious folks ... but we'll save that for another day)--put a cork in it, or "shut it" as the Brits would say, roll up your sleeves, and get to work! The world around you is burning Nero. It's time to put away the collective fiddle and do something.

Let's push through a few points really quickly here so we can move on. Science-atheist folks, listen, that line "if you're a Christian [or other religious group but you all seem to be obsessed with a small fraction of Christianity] you have to believe every word in the Bible and live it out, no matter how alien some of it sounds." OOO, got me there ... NO! Come on guys, you're bright folks who like to do research. Stop acting like literalists and dig a little. The Bible is 66 books written across a staggering number of centuries by writers who were addressing the peoples and concerns of their day using the most sophisticated means of their times, employing writing styles and tactics that were complex and engaging. All the text is written in a context, in a historical period, in a particular setting and served a particular purpose at the time. Some of the writings have universal applications, others do not. If you take it out of context in mindless little snippets you can of course make it sound pretty bizarre ... then again, the multiverse concept for which you have no direct evidence is awfully darned bizarre too, wouldn't you say? As far as the Old Testament God being all violent and the streets ran knee deep in blood ... go look up how tribal peoples believed their tribal deity was strong and also look up ancient Near East war reporting. You'll learn a few things. (I'll just say this, God meets us where we are, and where we are is usually pretty darned weird.) Also on the "you have to believe it all front," the religious types can apply that argument right back at you, you know. If you are believers in science, then you must believe in ... alchemy, heavier objects fall faster, phlogiston (?!), rain follows the plow, the human body cannot withstand speeds greater than 20 miles per hour, the atom is the smallest particle, Piltdown man, Pluto is a planet ... need I go on? It's the same argument and in this context you can see how silly it is.

Religious folks, stop nodding and grinning, you need to get a grip too. Science is not trying to destroy your faith, really! If you're faith can't withstand a little science, perhaps you need to reexamine your beliefs rather than railing about science. Did you know that some of the top atheists started life as fundamentalist Christians, but their belief system proved too fragile for the modern world and rather than being able to see their way clear to another, more robust theology (and there are several, science folks, there really are) their beliefs shattered and they ended up fundamental atheists, bringing all their fervor to the other camp to work hard to disprove what failed them. So, think about that. Further, do you really think the creator of the universe needs you to defend the Almighty? Really? Finally, there are some great tools out there the science folks have created that we can all use to both send out messages of hope and to help improve lives to this bleeding world. Really!

Now, stop flinging poo, folks, and find a way to work together. Damaged folks are arming themselves and gunning down crowds, as private individuals and dictators. How can you guys combine efforts to stop them? People are starving in shameful numbers. Work together to end that.

Science guys and gals, you are great at creating new stuff. Harness that ability to address global warming, food crises, pollution control, and all the other ills science can reach. Religious guys and gals, you are great at organizing people, carrying visions for social justice, and getting folks to act on them. Mobilize folks to help others. Be inspired by the group that is working to thwart the Westboro fanatics peacefully and ask yourselves how you can address social ills peacefully. Work with the science folks on a social vision you can push forward together.

Stop acting like the howler monkeys I saw at the zoo. They were broken into two camps, hooting madly away at each other, and not accomplishing one single thing. Times are too dangerous to fiddle while Rome burns. What do you say?

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