this is either "exibit A" for my thus accused anti-christian bias, or one of the funnier things that's been distributed on the internet in a long time. you can tell me. i can take it.
i'm not sure if the city apartment dwellers will get the joke as easily, but anyone living in or who has lived in a nice suburban enclave anytime in their lives has undoubtedly been visited in their time by a pair of white guys in dark, conservatively cut suits wishing to carry on a conversation exactly similar to the above, with just the dogma names changed to implicate the guilty. religious zealots will, of course, think i'm poking fun at their religion when i'm really only attempting to poke fun at them and a bunch of other people. (the fact that i'm also poking fun at the bizarre fervor of "science" zealots at the same time will, of course, be lost on the religious folk, since, of course, it IS always about "faith", isn't it...)
but i ask you: what, really, is the dogmatic distinction between "faiths" of any kind--scientific or otherwise? is there any difference between newton's principia and "the watchtower"? really?
back in the 18th century, because newton's gravity could not be seen, and there was no "contact" between objects to impel motion, his principia was regarded as a wholly philosophical, and, hence, religious text. (or anti-religious, for the thin-skinned and paranoid). simply put, those disinclined to "believe" it felt entirely free to not do so, and were not castigated or stigmatized for such. and, not so ironically, given einstein's subsequent update to our understanding, those disinclined disbelievers were actually RIGHT--though for entirely wrong reasons, but let's not quibble.
newton turned galileo's "uniform" gravity on its ear, not by disproving it, but by showing it to be a limit case of a broader understanding of inverse-square newtonian gravity. such understanding, in turn, was shown to be absent of a broader understanding of relativity, and since einstein's heyday we've learned that his theory, too, is short of a full explanation. in fact, each and every "scientific" explanation of natural laws (not natural law--we can save the REAL religious discussion for another time) has been successively and decisively proved to be bogus.
does this deter "science"? NO! it encourages them. each and every scientist wants to be the next one to discover the data that "proves" an improved understanding. and nobody makes fun of or disrespects those who went before and did the best they could with the materials they had on hand.
so why is this any different than the way religious zealots cling to their "holy" books?
many would say, and they would be wrong, that the entire problem with "religion" is that it does not allow for progressive update to its tenets, and that "science" somehow is thus superior. (hence the cartooning and lampooning). yet, i'll tell you when i cited "revised standard version" when bible quoting the other day, i was doing so in full respect that my other grandfather's king james was quite different in many important respects, and both of such are unique from translations both before and since. religion is no less fluid and evolutionary as "science", and people who mistake that fact are making a huge one. maybe it appears to move more slowly, but glaciers get where they are going as sure as photons, and what, in the end, really, matters about the speed of progress, as long as progress is being made?
dogmatists will swear that *their* book is infallible. yet they also ignore that their book might have been written in dead languages long since forgotten, translated to other foreign languages via historical idioms that neither survive to this day nor make any modern sense at all, translated yet again to "english", again via historical idioms that neither survive to this day nor make any modern sense at all, and remain as a testament (ok, that was a pun) to the bizarre devotion humans have to "truth" regardless of complete evidence to the contrary, and the inexorable march of everything to the sea of enlightenment.
and, YES, this is as applicable to "science" as any other religion.
the bible tells me the way to calculate the price i should recieve for my daughter should i prefer to sell her rather than endure any more of her disrespect. (randy newman said it best: i even love my teenage daughter--there's no accounting for it). for tradition's sake such passages are not redacted or deleted, but everyone these days, religiously zealous or not, knows to ignore them except perhaps to use in reminder to the religiously zealous that their "good book" is FULL of all sorts of extremely bad bullshit, and citing one passage to insist on something proves only that the citer is full of such bullshit.
i guess this all makes me a bad christian, huh.
except i really do buy into marvin gaye's better example: only love can conquer hate. turning the other cheek is really the right way. (it's not only brilliant, but it's a brilliant example to follow in leading one's life). i happily ignore the admonition to fight fire with fire and take eyes for eyes, and i feel no contradiction in my life to do so. because i know the "good book" is as flawed as anything else written by man (for it was indeed written by men, for one primary reason it's got a bullshit problem, but let's not digress) and i don't care.
but i do care that some people believe both that their shit don't stink, and that they're entitled to rub it in the faces of everybody on the planet who disagrees.
that ain't love. that ain't even christian by my belief in the concept. (render unto caesar and all that).
"the" truth won't ever set anyone free, whether it's "truth" from an anachronistic and proved-wrong piece of "science" or an anachronistic and proved-wrong pice of "religious" writing. we're all here to do the best we can for our selves and our world. we were endowed with a wonderful sense of right and wrong, (it's a stunning piece of either A) evolutionary or B) god-endowed brain wiring, and i think at least upon that we whould all be able to agree), and we are now sentenced to a lifetime of compromising our own personal and private understandings of such with the corresponding sense contained in each and every one of our fellow human beings. (the only thing i will insist that is wrong with any opinion is when it is "believed" on the sole basis that somebody else told them to believe so).
my country, to change the subject, is founded on the notion that i'm free to pursue happiness and my own thoughts according to my own beliefs. it's also, coincidentally, under attack by those on both sides who will insist that "their" book be the one to rewrite the rules--both religious and scientific.
both would be wrong. both ARE wrong.
we are people of faith, and we are people of science, which is really just being people of faith of a different kind, and and we are people of so many more things that it would be impossible to list them all.
but too many of us will tell the rest that "we only need fifteen minutes of your time" and the ideological wrestling match to the death begins...
(i laugh because it is both funny, and true, which is, as we all know, why things are funny).
lighten up, people. live. let live. defend others' right to live as they choose, so that you will be guaranteed your own. remember niemoller. and never, EVER, put your faith in something somebody else wrote. even if that somebody else is yourself. there's a better, broader and more complete truth out there, and some day we'll all be closer to it than we are today, you included. and that'll be good for all of us.
edited to add attribution to http://abstrusegoose.com/ and attempt to link it via the photo. they're funny. you should check 'em out from time to time.