Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Of Roosters and Hens

I think it's interesting to watch atheists try to explain things they can't explain, such as morals (such long Darwinian explanations that go on and on and in the end run out of steam far before they reach their destination) or miracles or even vegetarianism. But I'd never heard anyone comment on peoples' innate belief in God until recently. (Maybe that should be a lower-case g, I'm not even sure.) I presumed that the atheist stance was that religion is a crutch for the weak. But I read something recently where the author felt that it was more natural (albeit incorrect) than disbelief.
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She used statistics and brain scans and analysis and reached the conclusion that people believe in the supernatural (despite logic) because our minds are trained to look for order in disorder. You look at Lucas to the left here: he doesn't see a haphazard splatter of orange juice, he sees a hen. (And look at how pleased it makes him!) The author said that similarly, we tend to notice patterns in events and in circumstance that leads us to see something where there is nothing but a spill. The author says that this tendency serves a purpose, and that's why it's survived all these millions (is it millions?) of years. So what is the purpose? We treat each other better* and we sleep more soundly at night. The author (who sounded more academic than condescending; impressive skill in writing!) encourages us to swallow down fortune-tellers and rabbits' feet and ghosts and the cross alike; if your mind leads you to see Kool-Aid, drink it.
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But whereas the author is saying If you're wrong (which you are), what does it harm you?, Paul says If you're wrong (which you're not), "...you are to be pitied above all men." He's speaking specifically about Christ's resurrection and our hope to live after death, but what he's saying is that if we renounce earthly pleasures because of our religion-imposed morals -even beyond this, if we accept suffering in the name of Christ- and it turns out to be for nothing, we are wretched. It cannot be shrugged off. And I read this and I ached (again, again) to be counted worthy of suffering, to live life in a way that the author of a science column couldn't possibly write it off as good for me. I want this author to take the cross out of the line-up of encouraged superstitions; to see it as other, to see it as beyond neurological wiring. I want for people to stop patting Christians on the head with a simple "Believe whatever you want but keep it to yourself" and to understand, to see in a literal, physical sense, that something that's worth dying for is not just a choice of beliefs but a belief that is thick and heavy and based on a God who is real.
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I met a man who was hung upside down by the ankles and had boiling oil poured on his body because of his faith in Jesus Christ. And I do not want this, because I am human and a coward. But if it would mean that a person would put weight to my words and that their eyes would be lifted to my God, I want that.
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And the cock crows.



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And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I die every day—I mean that, brothers—just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

2 comments:

The Goodfellas said...
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The Goodfellas said...
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