Friday, September 15, 2006

God and Science

To the Illuminati and to those of science, let me say this. You have won the war. The wheels have been in motion for a long time; your victory has been inevitable. Never has it been more obvious than at this moment. Science is the new God. Medicine, electric communications, space travel, genetic manipulation…these are the miracles about which we now tell our children. These are the miracles we herald as proof that science will bring us the answers. The ancient stories of immaculate conceptions, burning bushes and parting seas are no longer relevant. God has become obsolete. Science has won the battle. We concede. But science’s victory has cost every one of us. And it has cost us deeply. Science may have alleviated the miseries of disease and drudgery and provided an array of gadgetry for our entertainment and convenience, but it has left us in a world without wonder. Our sunsets have been reduced to wavelengths and frequencies. The complexities of the universe have been shredded into mathematical equations. Even our self-worth as human beings has been destroyed. Science proclaims that Planet Earth and its inhabitants are a meaningless speck in the grand scheme. A cosmic accident. Even the technology that promises to unite us, divides us. Each of us is now electronically connected to the globe, and yet we feel utterly alone. We are bombarded with violence, division, fracture, and betrayal. Skepticism has become a virtue. Cynicism and demand for proof has become enlightened thought. Is it any wonder that humans now feel more depressed and defeated than they have in any point of human history? Does science hold anything sacred? Science looks for answers by probing our unborn fetuses. Science even presumes to rearrange our own DNA. It shatters God’s world into smaller and smaller pieces in quest of meaning…and all it finds is more questions.

The ancient war between science and religion is over. You have won. But you have not won fairly. You have not won by providing answers. You have won by so radically reorienting our society that the truths we once saw as signposts now seem inapplicable. Religion cannot keep up. Scientific growth is exponential. It feeds on itself like a virus. Every new breakthrough opens doors for new breakthroughs. Mankind took thousands of years to progress from the wheel to the car. Yet only decades from the car into space. Now we measure scientific progress in weeks. We are spinning out of control. The rift between us grows deeper and deeper, and as religion is left behind, people find themselves in a spiritual void. We cry out for meaning. And believe me, we do cry out. We see UFOs, engage in channeling, spirit contact, out-of-body experiences, mind quests---all these eccentric ideas have a scientific veneer, but they are unashamedly irrational. They are the desperate cry of the modern soul, lonely and tormented, crippled by its own enlightenment and its inability to accept meaning in anything removed from technology.

Science, you say, will save us. Science, I say, has destroyed us. Since the days of Galileo, the church has tried to slow the relentless march of science, sometimes with misguided means, but always with benevolent intention. Even so, the temptations are too great for a man to resist. I warn you, look around yourselves. The promises of science have not been kept. Promises of efficiency and simplicity have bred nothing but pollution and chaos. We are a fractured and frantic species…moving down a path of destruction.

Who is this God science? Who is the God who offers his people power but no moral framework to tell you how to use this power? What kind of God gives a child fire but does not warn the child of its dangers? The language of science comes with no signposts about good and bad. Science textbooks tell us how to create a nuclear reaction, and yet they contain no chapter asking us if it is a good or bad idea.

To science, I say this. The church is tired. We are exhausted from trying to be your signposts. Our resources are drying up from our campaign to be the voice of balance as you plow blindly on in your quest for smaller chips and larger profits. We ask not why you will not govern yourselves, but how can you? Your world moves so fast that if you stop even for an instant to consider the implications of your actions, someone more efficient will whip past you in a blur. So you move on. You proliferate weapons of mass destruction, but it is the Pope who travels the world beseeching leaders to use restraint. You clone living creatures, but it is the church reminding us to consider the moral implications of our actions. You encourage people to interact on phones, video screens, and computers, but it is the church that opens its doors and reminds us to commune in person as we were meant to do. You even murder unborn babies in the name of research that will save lives. Again, it is the church that points out the fallacy of this reasoning.

And all the while, you proclaim the church is ignorant. But who is more ignorant? The man who cannot define lightning, or the man who does not respect its awesome power? This church is reaching out to you. Reaching out to everyone. And yet the more we reach the more you push us away. Show me proof there is a God, you say. I say use your telescopes to look to the heavens, and tell me how could there not be a God! You ask me what does God look like. I say, where did that question come from? The answers are one and the same. Do you not see God in your science? How can you miss Him! You proclaim that even the slightest change in the force of gravity or the weight of an atom would have rendered our universe a lifeless mist rather than our magnificent sea of heavenly bodies, and yet you fail to see God’s hand in this? Is it really so much easier to believe that we simply chose the right card from a deck of billions? Have we become so spiritually bankrupt that we would rather believe in mathematical impossibility than in a power greater than us?

Whether or not you believe in God, you must believe this. When we as a species abandon our trust in the power greater than us, we abandon our sense of accountability. Faith…all faiths…are admonitions that there is something we cannot understand, something to which we are accountable…With faith we are accountable to each other, to ourselves, and to a higher truth. Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed.

I have taken this speech from Angels & Demons by the author Dan Brown.

Brown, Dan. Angels & Demons Pocket Star Books. 2000. pp. 378-384.


Blogger Jefferson said...

Dear Mr. Brown,
Re. your thoughtful, albeit suicidally depressing, GOD AND SCIENCE essay:

It appears as though you've thrown in towel a bit prematurely. Maybe you're French? I don't know. But I do know that, in a world which OVERWHELMINGLY bows the knee, kowtows, kisses the ring or otherwise grovels & bleats like pathetic sheep---to one deity or another---"science’s victory" is anything but "inevitable."

And if your "sunsets" have somehow grown more monochromatic, it isn't the fault of physics. The laws of nature are still the same, whether or not it was Jehovah or Allah or Aslan (or some long-gone concept which homo sapiens will never even guess at) that first flipped that original light switch.

Poor Mr. Brown, if you could only live in my universe for a few moments, you might see that there are indeed still plenty of things to wonder at: to watch a baby's little cranium push its way into the this world; to hang weightless in a forest of gently waving kelp and watch as the sun beams create a light show the likes of which any hollywood special effects guru would die for; to surf down a desert mountain on a four-foot deep blanket of solidified water, which feels more like goose down fluff than crystallized hydrogen and oxygen; to push little buttons and watch your thoughts congeal on a two-dimensional hologram in front of you; etc. etc.

Yeah, there are still plenty of things to wonder at. The problem is NOT one of having lost something: Wonder. No, the problem is evidently your inability to pull yourself from the muck of deicentric thought processes, unfold your wings and begin to soar in this unfathomably big, bad, scary, and almost completely unknown universe we live in. It's really not a blade place! Try it sometime.

In complaining that "the complexities of the universe have been shredded into mathematical equations," you exhibit an astonishing degree of naivete, confusing a mere description of the Thing with the Thing itself. Indeed, it's as if you're saying, that spoken language has somehow made the ideas and concepts which rattle around inside our craniums meaningless.

"Science proclaims that Planet Earth and its inhabitants are a meaningless speck in the grand scheme. A cosmic accident." I guess I must've slept through that class, because I can't for the life of me recall ever having heard any intelligent person refer to the universe as an "accident."

You seem to believe that a lack of knowledge and evidence of the events that led up to our present state of existence somehow makes the possibility of those events a null proposition. Granted, it does appear to be much easier, at least for the majority of the human race, to simply attribute all things unknown and/or unknowable as having come from an all-powerful deity...somewhere...out that mystical place where people go when they die. We (I lump myself in with Humans only because we share a common origination; not with regards to the issue at hand) somehow dismiss the fact that all natural phenomena are directly tracable to whatever events came before them.

"Even the technology that promises to unite us, divides us."
Again, I don't recall the inanimate concept of "technology" as ever having "promised" to unite us. To be sure, many humans have suffered under the delusion that technology would somehow overcome human nature. Alas, hope springs eternal, unmindful of realities.

Alas, Mr. Brown, your last few threads of credibility vaporize with the pathetically juvenile and entirely laughable statement that the entire human race feels "utterly alone."

I don't. My wife doesn't. My sons don't seem to. In fact thay all seem to fairly happy. Maybe we get in to therapy and find out what the problem is?

Or maybe you should join some kind of club, or have some kids, or go down to the corner pub and play a few games of pool with the local ironworkers; sitting in front of computer screens for days on end might be part of the problem.

"We are bombarded with violence, division, fracture, and betrayal." That life is nasty, brutish and short, Mr. Brown, is not a new phenomenon. And besides that, no small amount of the violence in the short history of homo sapiens can be directly or indirectly linked to religion and a rigid adherence to laws and tenets believed to have come from God.

"Skepticism has become a virtue."

Skepticism has always been a virtue. Ask anybody who's ever bought a time-share.

You go on and on and on, digressing into simple mono-thoughts: i.e. "Cynicism and demand for proof has become enlightened thought." But you finally hit the nader of stupidity with the astoundingly broad proclamation, couched in the following question: "Is it any wonder that humans now feel more depressed and defeated than they have in any point of human history?" Indeed, in making statements such as these, completely unfounded, without any data to back them up, without even any sort of verifiable consensus to claim, Mr. Brown, you demonstrate exactly WHY science has, to borrow your own defeatist words, "won the war."

You see, Science---that impersonal machine that you seem to believe is steamrolling the poor human race into a meaningless mass of DNA-based pulp---would demand that, before you make such ludicrous generalities, you go out and do the boring and tedious work of gathering some verifiable data. But that doesn't make for good fiction, now, does it?

One wonders if maybe you're doing some sort of freewriting experiment---frenetically tapping out each and every thought, regardless of how ridiculous it might seem, in an effort to inadvertently stumble upon some little gem which might be the beginning of something worth pursuing (that common practice amongst us writers, which I myself occasionally resort to when the ol' creative digestive tract gets stopped up, so to speak)--- you ask: "Does science hold anything sacred?"

Yes, Mr. Brown, that would be Truth. Truth in all its beauty and all its unflattering ugliness.

Marrs Maniteaux

PS: Go take a long walk in the hills and get some sunshine and fresh air. It's good for the soul.

9:40 am  
Blogger anonymous said...

By the way, yes, your english is poor for the most part. Also, you should publish this on a more wide spread scale so that more of the public is able to access it. I would love to hear their humble opinions on your baseless thoughts.

11:43 am  

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