Monday, February 13, 2006

IDolatry versus religion

Yesterday, priests, ministers, preachers, padres, chaplains, clergymen and other pulpiters around the world told their flocks about how science and religion can mesh. At Churches Nationwide, Good Words for Evolution:
"A faith that requires you to close your mind in order to believe is not much of a faith at all."
This from a preacher in Atlanta.

Even in Kansas, anti-evolution clerics were prepared to have a discussion about it. On Darwin's birthday, a Mennonite minister said of Darwin: "He forced religion to grow up, to become, really, faith for the first time."

Intelligent design is a crutch for people who don't believe in God. They need evidence, signs, and portents. Like the apostle Thomas, they won't be satisfied without touching God's wounds (interesting side note: the Shakespearean exclamation "Zounds!" is derived from "God's wounds!")/


Caravaggio's Doubting Thomas
John 20:25:
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
There's nothing wrong with the skepticism Thomas exhibits. Skepticism is good and healthy and to be encouraged. But it defeats the point of religion. Some see that as a bad thing, some see it as a good thing. I don't care.

The New Catholic Dictionary (originally published in 1910) distinguishes religious faith from scientific assent:
faith: In general, is an assent of the mind to the truth of some proposition on the word of another, God or man. It differs from assent in matters of science in that the latter is based on evidence of fact, whereas the former is based solely on the word of another.
For all the truly religious people I've known, everything is evidence for God, but no evidence is necessary.

For IDolators, evidence is necessary for faith. If the evidence of the world doesn't perfectly match the evidence they find in the Word, their whole belief system shatters. This is why I call them IDolators (and why I stole the term from others). They worship the signs of God, not God. They need to see and touch the wounds, the splinters of the cross, or the umbilical cord. If they can't, then there has to be some Panglossian perfection to justify their faith.

That isn't faith, it's just bad theology. That it's bad science doesn't help, either.