I am worried about the state of American culture, and especially the rise of religion there. I have no problem with people believing as they wish, be it in some bearded God or in a flying spaghetti monster (with his noodly appendage). No, what worries me is when they try to foist their beliefs on others.
Marxists say that religion is a repressive state structure, designed to control a population. For a long period of time, church and state were linked, so the church was an integral part of enforcing the law of the land. Government took it’s authority from the church, which, in turn, took it’s authority from god. To an extent, the two were symbiotic.
Now the symbiosis is gone. With the rise of science came secularism, and governments draw their mandates from the ballot box. Hence, now the church is a competing, unelected power base, and in America at least it is thirsty for power. It seems to be trying to draw people back to the pew, and I think this is so it can once again control the people. The priests and the pastors have no mandate from the ballot box, but instead have chosen to seize power through going into the church. They want to control people, just as coca-cola wants to control you enough to buy coke. Religion is like any other business in capitalist America – it is designed to make money.
Only it is much more dangerous than the Disney or Microsoft corporations, as they just want your mmoney. The churches want your minds too.
For religion faces a problem in the form of science. Two centuries ago, the bible held unopposed authority – it offered an excellent explanation of how life came into being, where we were going and how we should act. This authority, I would argue, stemmed largely from the genesis story, but after Darwin that was called into doubt. More and more evidence is being found in support of evolution, from the remains of homo Neanderthalis to red shift, and this poses a major problems for religion as it shatters the bible’s authority and thus the church’s.
Marx famously called religion the opium of the people, and like any good drug dealer religion must find a way off keeping it’s clientele hooked. Thus, religious people in America brought about ‘Creationism’, a science set up to prove the story of genesis. This, needles to say, is logically flawed, as it’s stated objective is to come to a pre-set answer, and to discredit or ignore any data not pointing to that answer. True science is open-ended – a theory may be posited, tested, proven or superseded. Indeed, this weeks new scientist speculates that Einstein’s general relativity may have to be rewritten slightly to incorporate new findings like Dark Energy. True scientific theories are not, and must never be, set in stone. Thus to create a science with the sole intention of proving the claims of the bible is to distort the underlying logic of science.
Further, to present creationism as scientific is worryingly misleading. Such people are deliberately blinding others to proper, scientific thought in order to make money. Thousands, if not millions of dollars are made through Televangelism, I suspect. They need people to accept the biblical stories as fact, and do this by attacking established scientific theory. At a time when the world needs all the scientists it can get if it is to solve such problems as global climate change and energy shortage, these people are making such claims as
”[quote=”www.creationscience.comurl:http://www.creationscience.com/LifeSciences4.html”%5DSpontaneous generation (the emergence of life from nonliving matter) has never been observed. All observations have shown that life comes only from life. This has been observed so consistently it is called the law of biogenesis. The theory of evolution conflicts with this scientific law when claiming that life came from nonliving matter through natural processes.”[/quote].” http://www.creationscience.com/LifeSciences4.html
While some may say that it is wiser to let these people believe as they wish, I would maintain that, for them to try to force their way of thinking onto others, especially schoolchildren, is harmful. While all perspectives should be engaged with, I feel that to allow these people to continue to expound their ideas so vehemently is dangerous. All theories should be tested empirically, and the biblical model has been superseded, so it should be done away with, like theories linking ethnicity and intelligence. It is harmful to scientific thought, and the public in general in that it now serves only to line the priest’s pockets with money and power. No doubt, however, that they will continue to do as they are doing, trying desperately to blind congregations to an ever-increasing mountain of evidence, while simultaneously presenting themselves as the only valid authorities on the truth, just as McDonalds portray themselves as the only place to get good burgers.
If it wasn’t so sad and dangerous, it would be funny.