Posts Tagged ‘Religion’
I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I.Joseph Smith
A Pew study released found that many Americans do not know the religious faiths of President Obama or presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. A third of Americans do not know that Romney is a Latter Day Saint, a Mormon! The Mormons have conservative views, especially on gender and homosexuality, and are intolerant of members’ questioning official teachings.
The United Church of Christ, President Obama’s church of choice, is more liberal on these issues. Unlike the Mormons, the UCC is not centralized to the extent that the Mormon sect is. It is not uniform across congregations because doctrinal issues in the UCC are left to the congregations, not to a central institute as is the case with the Mormons.
17 percent of Americans say Obama is a Moslem. In 2008, Americans were likely to correctly identify his religion as Christian. Political opposition to Obama as president aimed to remind voters of his pastor, Jeremiah Wright. But Pastor Wright’s supposedly racist remarks actually showed them Obama was Christian.
The separate Pew Research Center “American Values Survey”, which polled more than 3,000 adults nationwide, found that approximately one in five Americans don’t have a religious affiliation at all—the most ever documented. It also found that 32 percent of the latest adult generation have doubted the existence of God—double the number of those who felt the same way just five years ago.
This survey found increased tolerance for difference in every age, religious preference and political group. The new generation is known for wanting to distinguish itself from its peers—to stand out so to speak—by adopting unorthodox ideas.
Criticisms of Mormonism
The doctrine of the Mormon Church separates it from Christianity according to the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant religions, all of which descended from Jesus Christ and his apostles. Mormons had no apostolic succession by which the holy Spirit is passed from priest to priest from the original apostles, could not have been involved in the Nicene Creed, and Mormon cosmology with its plan of salvation including pre-mortal life, baptism of the dead, three degrees of heaven, and exaltation by which humans may become gods and goddesses on a par with Jesus is alien to Christian thought.
Critics have questioned the legitimacy of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of LDS, as a prophet as well as the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon, and include claims of historical revisionism, homophobia, racism, and sexism and paedophilia. Evangelical Christians argue that Smith was either a fraud or deluded.
The evangelical cow country messiahs since the nineteenth century say: “If you meet Charles Darwin in your travels, kill him”.
Pace the ninth century Buddhist master, Lin Chi, for cow country Christians, it is more important to eliminate their challengers as Devils than it is to face up to them as humans, notwithstanding the Ten Commandments. The reason is that they know they have no answer for them, so it is far better to eliminate them! Darwin proposed a theory of evolution, and because Christians are better at eliminating people than their ideas, they have ever since called it Darwinism—so for 150 years Charles Darwin has been the chief Christian Devil. Sadly for the evangelical messiahs, the theory of evolution has been so successful that Darwin no longer stands alone, defended by a solitary bulldog—he has innumerable bulldogs, or Devils as those with the ghastly antennae call them.
Carl Safina, a MacArthur fellow, and adjunct professor at Stony Brook University, writes in The New York Times:
Equating evolution with Charles Darwin ignores 150 years of discoveries, including…
- Gregor Mendel’s patterns of heredity—which gave Darwin’s idea of natural selection a mechanism, genetics, by which it could work
- the discovery of DNA—which gave genetics a mechanism and lets us see evolutionary lineages
- developmental biology—which gives DNA a mechanism
- studies documenting evolution in nature—which converted the hypothetical to observable fact
- evolution’s role in medicine and disease—bringing immediate relevance to the topic.Carl Safina
Which is to mention the most obvious additions and improvements made to the theory. So “Darwinism” as a word for the theory of evolution is so misleading it is no longer correct. The theory of evolution is not the guess of one man as the cow country messiahs pretend, and nor is it one theory, but it is a series of related hypotheses, each of which has been thoroughly tested and not found wanting. The theory of evolution encompasses all these ideas and ones not mentioned, so that it stands on several legs, all of which are solid and sound.
Almost everything we understand about evolution came after Darwin, not from him. He knew nothing of heredity or genetics, both crucial to evolution.Carl Safina
Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk, discovered that in pea plants inheritance of individual traits followed patterns. His religious superiors tried to “kill” Mendel, burning his papers posthumously in 1884. But Mendel’s “genetics” complemented Darwin’s natural selection and exlained how it worked yielding the “modern synthesis” in the 1920s. James Watson and Francis Crick using Rosalind Franklin’s X-ray diffraction data obtained in Maurice Wilkins’ laboratory, then made a huge advance by proposing the correct structure of DNA, the molecule that shows how variation and inheritance happen.
Safina decided all this constituted a good enough set of reasons for us to do the evangelical holy joes’ job for them:
Making a master teacher into a sacred fetish misses the essence of his teaching. So let us now kill Darwin.
Charles Darwin didn’t invent a belief system. He had an idea, not an ideology. The idea spawned a discipline, not disciples. He spent 20 plus years amassing and assessing the evidence and implications of similar, yet differing, creatures separated in time (fossils) or in space (islands). That’s science.Carl Safina
Darwin got an amazing amount right considering he did his work without knowing any of this, and before even microbes had been discovered, and medical men still had no idea what caused disease, when ships still had sails, when railways were a novelty, and long before the Wright brothers had defied gravity to fly the first aeroplane, before even Neanderthal man had been found and named, and even before the South had seceded from the Union, let alone that Lee had surrendered to Grant at the Appomattox Courthouse.
Indeed it was before the cow country messiahs even had a cow country!
My book (What Evolution Is, 2001) attempts to explain evolution. I don’t need to prove it again, evolution is so clearly a fact that you need to be committed to something like a belief in the supernatural if you are at all in disagreement with evolution. It is a fact and we don’t need to prove it anymore. Nonetheless, we must explain why it happened and how it happens.Ernst Mayr, 1904-2005
Ernst Mayr was a long lived and very eminent biologist, who based his thinking on the theory of evolution, just as all successful biological scientists must. He was interviewed by edge.org, just a few years before he died and was asked:
“How do you account for the fact that in this country, despite the effect of Darwinism on many people in the scientific community, more and more people are god fearing and believe in the 8 days of creation?”
To which he replied: “You know you cannot give a polite answer to that question”.
The Edge interviewer insisted:
We appreciate impolite, impolitical, answers.
So Mayr replied, saying:
They recently tested a group of schoolgirls. They asked, “Where is Mexico?”. Do you know that most of the kids had no idea where Mexico is? I’m using this only to illustrate the fact that—and pardon me for saying so—the average American is amazingly ignorant about just about everything. If he was better informed, how could he reject evolution? If you don’t accept evolution, then most of the facts of biology just don’t make sense. I can’t explain how an entire nation can be so ignorant, but there it is.
The Reason a Whole Nation can be Ignorant is Religion
In the Dark Ages, Europe was called Christendom. It was under Christian dominion, and few people could read because the Christians neglected all scholarship, and the whole of classical learning in favour of devotion to God. Only clerics were supposed to be able to read, and what they were supposed to read was devotional writing, especially, of course, the bible, although it was available only in Latin. Many monks could not even read their bibles, and simply learnt passages off by heart to mumble their way through Mass, which was also given in Latin. A few scholarly monks could read and write, and are now famous—they are remembered for it! They were, of course, the teachers of the ordinary clerics, who didn’t bother to do their lessons. So it continued for 600 years.
The situation in the USA now is getting similar to how it was in the fifth and sixth centuries in Europe when classical scholarship and even cleanliness was being discouraged as vanity by the clerics. The modern clerics, right wing pastors interested more in money than morals, oppose modern learning, like the theory of evolution, and large numbers of Americans follow them in decrying evolutionary theory and science in general. The outcome can only be bad—a parallel with medieval Europe. The USA cannot possibly remain the leading technological nation while teaching religious dogmata rather than modern science. Already the USA is falling completely behind countries like China and India, and is in a state of economic collapse.
Americans have to decide whether they want to retain the leadership they established over the twentieth century, or rapidly fall into a vainglorious yet worthless piety ending in the destitution of a new Dark Age.