Posted by honestpoet on December 11, 2007
“Americans want science confined to a money-making box, not wandering in church asking questions.” We had a big discussion about labels today, whether I ought to call myself an atheist or a secular humanist, or one of my own making, which I’ve been using and which my former mentor says he likes: agnostic secularist.
And it’s not that I’m not sure whether or not there’s a personal deity. I know that’s not so. Or at least I’m confident enough to consider people like Richard Dawkins to be perfectly reasonable, if somewhat impatient with people who value their heritage more than the need to feel 100% rational. Personally, for example, I think it’s just fine that some Christians and some Jews and even some Muslims have managed to pare away the extraneous BS of superstition and ignorance and cultural overlay to find the core of their faiths, which have enough truth to them (the smallness and insignificance of the individual as compared to the Whole, the importance of kindness and the other virtues, etc.) to be valuable when taken with a grain of salt (and never, ever insist that anyone agree with your take! enough evangelism, already, which ought to be called dominionism, at this point…let’s call a spade a spade). Heck, we even used the Bible recently to illustrate a point to our kids (the parable of the Good Samaritan, which has political connotations lost on most of us…). But I like using “agnostic” to say that I am not certain. That I’m not saying I know what happens when you die, or how the world came to be (I mean, I know life evolved, but I’m talking about what happened in the millisecond preceding the Big Bang), but that I do not know and further I don’t consider it important. What IS important is secularism. That religion and government remain forever separate. Religion is just too personal a choice to be legislated. Period. And the problems we all face together as one species on this beleaguered planet, problems of our own making that require solutions other than war OR prayer.
But back to Maj’s statement about science, it’s so true. These folk love science so long as it’s making them money. They gladly embrace it while it fills their coffers, but badmouth it if it seems to contradict the religious tenets that give them power. Another six weeks or so, and we escape the Bible Belt. I can’t tell you how eager I am.