Sunday, 10 January 2010

The Chairman's Sunday Sermon


Yesterday’s post got me considering creationism and how it flies in the face of indisputable fact while wearing the beatific smile of holy certainty based on fallacy and self-delusion.

It’s a fact that one’s religion is primarily determined not by critical analysis of all available religions, but by the dominant religion within one’s geographic location and, most importantly, by the religion of one’s parents. If you’re unlucky enough to be born in a Muslim country then you are guaranteed to grow up a theocratic fascist believing in all manner of contradictory and irrational superstitions; creationists and believers in Intelligent Design live mostly in the more conservative southern states of the USA; Buddhists thrive in Thailand; Jews in Israel and Jewish families the world over, Russian Orthodox congregations flourish in Russia and Russian √©migr√© communities; if you were born in Italy then you’d be guilty of being a miserable sinner steeped in Catholicism, etc.

Religion therefore has nothing to do with genuine enquiry concerning the ultimate truth of reality but everything to do with establishing one’s cultural and familial identity. Evolution (ironically being the very thing creationists deny) has predisposed us to value acceptance by and membership of the group above everything else – in more barbaric times this was a matter of pure survival; if you didn’t belong to a group you would probably die.

It therefore follows that adhering to the cultural religious groupthink, no matter how high-minded or utterly bizarre, has an evolutionary benefit that is greater than using rational faculties and accepting observed facts that could negate the veracity of the groupthink and risk putting oneself outside of the protection of the group or clan. It may mean the difference between life and death – quite literally when it comes to some of the more barbaric religions where apostasy could mean a death sentence. In the less barbaric religions it can at the very least mean family ostracism and having to fend for oneself, which to the less socially robust is anathema.

Religion is not alone in being an area where humans show a predilection to self-deception and irrational behaviour – you can find myriad examples in politics, economics, sociology, education, etc. The irrational groupthink of one’s milieu reigns supreme if you are intellectually lazy, crave the approval of the clan and fear ostracism.


9 comments:

  1. What gets me with creationism is that, if God is so bloody powerful, why did the slacker take 6 days to create this place?

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  2. ....And on the seventh day, God rested. Fine - except that the church insists that we use OUR day of rest to go and praise their Chief! Doesn't seem fair to me.

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  3. To be a "proper" Muslim you have to be a creationist, indeed you could argue that to be a proper Christian you need to believe it too, i.e. if Genesis and "the fall" didn't happen then why did we need Christ to be a scapegoat for all our sins in the first place.

    I agree creationists are on the whole ignorant or stupid (apart from the smart ones making cash out of it) but at least they're consistent about their "holy" books.

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  4. Thank the Lord I was born in the South ha - or the Bible Belt as we like to call it. Seriously though I have often wondered had I been born on another dot on the map how different my life would be. But I believe that the Bible tells us that those that seek God will find him no matter where they are born or what family.
    Where I come from yes, there is a church on nearly every corner and Bible based radio/tv 24 hours a day. I attend a weekly Bible Study also. I meet with a group who grapples with tough topics and we do indepth Bible Studies. I come away amazed all the time at how relevant the Bible is to our everyday lives and how I can trust it based on prophecy that was written and then fulfilled, eye witnesses that gave their accounts of Jesus life and death on this earth. So much of written history are on its pages. And yes, more is proven every for all you science folks.
    Where I come from we are taught not blaspheme the name of God of Jesus. Not just because your Momma might pop you in the mouth, but we will all stand before God one day and give an account.
    It definitely does take faith. There are some things on this earth I will never understand and won't pretend too. But I stand amazed at the intricacy of the human body: the eye, the ear, the heart and each organ and blood that courses thru the veins and can only believe there is a God. I don't have to prove to you each part of the body and how it works. Eye doctors study for years to learn each little detail of the eye and how it works. I just know mine does work, just because I haven't studied it in great detail doesn't mean its not true.
    I can look at our solar system and wonder why do we need all of these extra planets...what's up with that. But when I understand how these planets work with the earth to keep it on track and in proper rotation. God did that. I just know I'm not floating around because of gravity and I'm not fried to crisp because the earth floated too close to the sun. God did that too because He cares.
    Yes, Jesus was our scapegoat. But please know it wasn't because of Adam and Eve. It wasn't plan B. Before the foundation of the world God knew Jesus would be have to die for us.

    Sorry for the length of my Sunday sermon. haha.
    You're a great guy Chairman Bill and I really enjoy my visits.
    I'm just curious how much of the Bible have you personally read or studied?

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  5. Interesting, and possibly true to the majority, but what about those of us who choose despite our birth, conditioning, family, culture, etc? That's a little dose of reality, isn't it? Not suckered by some conditioned response but using intelligent, philosophical endeavor to nurture that which we find appealing.

    In the end, Mr Chairman, it's all personal choice: why does what anyone does bother you? :)

    I used to do Sunday Sermons :)) You're inspiring me to start them again :) Just sent you an email too...hope you like it. Go ahead, post it and tear it apart :))))

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  6. Joy: You're confusing cause and effect.

    Braja: It doesn't bother me, except when those who profess to have a connection with God get into positions of power and start doing things that affect me, justifying it by saying God told them to do it. God told the Israelites to massacre rival tribes and enslave their women. He also told his adherents to not suffer witches to live.

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  7. Joy: PS - who were these eye witnesses?

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  8. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
    John 20, 21: after His resurrection He appeared to Mary Magdalene, Peter, Nathanael, All 11 disciples, Thomas - aka Doubting Thomas. (Jesus loves Doubters)

    Acts 1: He gave many convincing proofs. He appeared to them over a period of 40 days before His Ascension.

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  9. Joy: I htink you're confusing the Gospel writers with the Discipes. They are not one and the same. As fo rthe 500 - saying 500 saw him and having the testament of these 500 are two totally different things. There is written evidence of one or other pagan Roman Emperor rasing someone from the dead - it doesn't mean it actually happened though. The stories of the dead being raised are legion in that time.

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