Doublethink & Religion (con’t from previous post)

March 25, 2011

Regarding the other major area of American culture rife with doublethink (the war between science and religion) Americans, who claim to be 80% religious and who, in significant numbers, believe in biblical literalness to the point of dismissing scientific thought, ironically owe their lifestyle and national power to the wonders of science.

In fact, the Theory of Evolution is pummeled on a regular basis. From the Scopes “monkey trial” to current efforts to equate religious myth to science in our schools, doublethink goes on. For example, despite scientific data suggesting the earth is approximately (with humility science doesn’t claim the exactitude of religion) 4.5 billion years old, creationists insist it’s 6000 years old.

Using the precision of biblical computation creationists count backward from the fall of Jerusalem to the division of Solomon’s kingdom through the building of the Temple to the Exodus and continue (with remarkable inerrancy in the age before paper) to the time between Exodus and Abraham entering Canaan (exactly 430 “to the day”) and so on, through The Flood back to Creation, winding up at 4000 B.C. making the earth 6000 years old. Meanwhile, using methods such as carbon dating, science comes up with the wildly different number of 4.5 billion.

Creationists dismiss the Theory of Evolution on the same basis. The Bible says “Adam and Eve!” and that’s it, no monkey business for them. The logic of evolution may be as plain as their opposing thumb or the near-identity of chimp to human DNA, but it doesn’t matter —science may bring me flat screen TV, but with doublethink and God all things are possible!

But can this be? Oh, it be: how science/holy-book doublethink comes into play may best be characterized by a story told to me by Roshi Bob, my go-to guy for common sense. Said Roshi:

One of my creationist students with a wart the size of a gumball on his nose told me science is overrated and anathema to God. In the same breath he said he was seeing a dermatologist about the wart. 

I asked, “Have you prayed about this?”

He said, “All the time.”

I asked, “Has it helped with the wart?”

He said, “I don’t pray about the wart. I pray for forgiveness for consulting a dermatologist.”

As his guru, I told him it would be smart to meditate upon his inclination to view God as an idiot.  He looked at me as if I’d told him the earth revolves around the sun and sulked off to call his dermatologist on his iphone.

by Jim Culleny, 3/25/11
for The Greenfield Recorder, 4/2/11

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