In response to last week’s blog post about an article on whether or not conservatives hate English classes, musician, teacher, lawyer, husband and dad Steve Crampton had this to say:
I suppose you have to have faith to make it through life. The main purpose of science, it seems to me, is prediction. If I throw an apple in the air, the theory of gravity predicts that it will fall to the ground. However, life is so complex that predictions about whether I will make it through the next year without getting cancer, or without something terrible happening to one of my loved ones, is impossible to know. But the weather report for Saturday is looking good, so I have faith that my daughter’s birthday party on that day is going to be fun.
This kind of faith is not the same as religion. I have thought about religion for a long time, starting when my first serious girlfriend, a dedicated Catholic, encouraged me to come to church with her. I spent the Summer reading the whole Bible, trying to figure out what it was all about. Everything I have observed and read since has led me to the conclusion that religion is at bottom a fraud.
Every religion I have heard about asks its adherents to have “faith” in what others tell them or have written. Essentially, those in power say, I cannot prove these things, indeed, many of them do not even make sense, but I want you to believe in them (or at least pretend you believe in them). And, oh yeah, give me some of your money (and sex and power). It reminds me of a fraternity rite where the brothers all claim to believe in some crazy superstition. Their common stated belief helps bind them together, but it is based upon a fable.
Are there things beyond human comprehension? Of course, and there always will be. Will terrible things happen to us that challenge our will to go on? For most of us, yes. Is it nice to have a community to support us in troubled times? Yes, yes. But, do we really need to say that we believe some guy named Noah lived to be hundreds of years old and then took two of every animal species onto a wooden boat, while every other creature and person on the planet drowned? Is this even remotely plausible? Do we need to affirm a belief in a god, who despite being all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good allows young children, babies even, to die horrible and painful deaths, particularly in the third world?