Now there are two ways to interpret my question: Should we preach science to the faithful? First, the religious right in America already believe atheists are trying to convert them through liberal education, so the question becomes: Should we not teach science to protect people’s faith? The second way to look at that question is to assume the faithful have a war on science which turns the question into: Should we teach science so everyone will understand that faith is fantasy?
Evangelical America already knows secular American has declared war on them. Liberals say, “Oh no, not us,” but I think they are avoiding the issue. Most liberals are not atheists, or even agnostics, and cling to bits of religion, mysticism and theism. They want to be modern, educated and embrace science, but deep down they want God and heaven to exist. They want everything science can give them, like brain surgery, GPS, television, computers, cell phones, antibiotics, and so on, but they don’t want to let go of God. The conservative religious right have always known deep down that science invalidates religion. That’s why they want to do away with The Department of Education, change goals for higher education and rewrite K-12 textbooks.
For decades liberals have embraced the idea that all we need to do is embrace the separation of church and state and the religious will be protected and the liberals can keep science and education. They see this as fair, ethical, legal and most of all high minded. Sadly, this is completely clueless as to what the faithful want. They want America to be a Christian nation. Liberals have no idea what this means, or what it implies.
It would be fantastic if religion was a personal belief that was never political and always personal, but that’s not the case. For decades the religious have wanted to take over politics to get what they want. They are pushing their agenda so I’m asking should liberals push back? Of course, the faithful will claim we’ve been pushing them for decades and they are only defending themselves. It’s a complicated issue.
Nevertheless, we have to ask: How hard should we teach science, skeptical thinking, and evidence based reasoning? Essentially, the faithful are saying, “God says things are like this…” and we’re saying “There’s no God, but science tells us this….” As much as some people want to believe that God and Science can coexist that’s just not true. Early humans embraced metaphysical fantasies long ago and it’s taken millennia for some people to break out of those fantasies. Our choice is accept the fantasies or accept the truth about reality – there is no sitting on the fence.
I’ve never liked proselytizing. I’ve always thought the idea of missionaries traveling to other cultures to convert those people away from their own religion as offensive. I’ve always been a skeptic, an unbeliever, an atheist, and I’ve never wanted to go convert the faithful to my way of thinking – until now. What’s the harm in letting people believe in God, or believing they will go to heaven and meet all their old relatives and friends. It’s a wonderful dream to dream. What harm could there be in leaving people alone to believe in religion and all the things religion promises them?
But the Republicans are forcing me to make a choice. They have made their religious goals political. They have put education and science in their gun sights. They have essentially made the two political parties Democrats=Science and Republicans=Religion.
I use to believe it was important to let people believe whatever they wanted until I realized the faithful had begun an anti-Education campaign. Conservatives believe liberals are pushing education as a way of destroying their religious beliefs. Many liberals disagree with this, and even I don’t think it’s a conscious agenda, but I do think a good education tends to dispel religious beliefs. It’s natural for the faithful to fear higher education and to want to control the K-12 curriculum. I think liberals are being disingenuous not to recognize that a good education does erode religious belief.
But I think the faithful and conservatives need to realize that attacking the Department of Education, Higher Education, and the money we spend on K-12 schools is equal to the idea of liberals wanting to do away with Churches. The educational system is essentially the secular church of liberal beliefs. Now fundamentalists know this and that’s why they are attacking the educational system. Liberals have their heads in the sand if they don’t see this. Atheists believe in science and education, it’s not a religion, but it a belief system.
I know conservatives can’t understand this, but liberals and most atheists are very big believers in the freedom of religion, and they don’t want to challenge religious thinking directly, and especially not politically. But conservatives don’t see that, and they have decided to attack the educational system.
The faithful feel its their duty to spread the word of their faith and to attack evil where they see it. Of course, Muslims and Mormons believe this too, and they are growing faster than Christianity. All the aggressive faiths are in a battle for the hearts and minds of the people of Earth. My question is: Should atheists, skeptics, free thinkers, and other non-believers get in on the action by converting new recruits? Among the religious the war for souls is really a battle for who describes God best. Even though most Christians and Muslims hate each other, they do share the concept of God.
If atheists become missionaries for science, it will become a battle for God versus Science, and that could lead all religions to band together, and they’d have a big majority. Lucky for believers in science the faithful don’t get along. However, does that mean we need to make scientific converts to win the battle for scientific thinking?
When you think about it though, isn’t that what’s already happened around the world? Fundamentalism is pushing back against the secular all across the globe, in a disunited front? I think the recent rise of atheism is a retaliation to that movement. Maybe it’s time we all put our cards on the table and be honest. There are many Christians out there that want America to be a Christian theocracy. I think they are jealous of Islam innate relationship with politics. I want politics that’s based on reality and science.
On the surface Republican politics appears to be about reducing taxes, especially for the rich. And the rich members of the party see reducing the size of the Federal government as the best method to this goal. Below the surface are the religious members of the Republicans, and they’ve latched on to making a smaller Federal government as their method to undermine liberal education. The reason all candidates fall all over themselves claiming to be the one true conservative and the reason why they fear being called a moderate is because they are united in in their goals even though they want to achieve different outcomes.
For 2012, the question becomes: Are there enough pro small government voters to elect a small government president? Conservative politicians think they represent the majority of Americans but I can’t believe that. We’ll find out in November. Who are you going to vote for – the Party of God or the Party of Science?
JWH – 3/11/12