Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dirty little secret

So, I have a dirty little secret.

As you can read in the rest of my posts, I'm a firm atheist. The thing is, I wasn't really always that way. I grew up in a Christian family, although more of an "occasional Sunday and maybe say grace when the grandparents are around" type of Christian family, rather than the rabid fundamentalist type I may rail against here from time to time. My teen years were pretty much firm atheist though.

The dirty little secret is that I slipped into religious mode through the better part of my university years, largely by falling into the first cause trap. Although I was quite proud of working myself into that philosophical position all by myself, I unfortunately did not work myself out of it.

This precipitated a number of years of reading the bible, attending church and generally seeing both fundamentalist and traditional Christianity from the inside. I have at various times felt this was one of my greatest failings, but I had a minor revelation today.

I really like reading Bad Astronomy because Phil is just a funny, smart and energetic scientist guy, plus I love astronomy. Lately he's been on a bit of a rant about creationists, and although his rather aggressive and confrontational tone on the matter makes me a bit uneasy, I generally agree with him.

Anyway, reading there led me to the Angry Astronomer's review of a Christian pastor's book. Let me sum up the book: Fundamentalist American Christianity's politicization of religion is utterly un-Christian.

That though has struck me a few times recently. Perhaps it is simply that I've been immersed through my religious journey in a bit deeper study of what the bible actually says, but I am inclied to agree.

I'm not going to dig up references at this exact moment, but these are a few things I recall:
  • *Jesus hated hypocrisy
  • *There are proverbs that seeking knowledge is good
  • *If anything, Jesus taught submission to the state
  • *Jesus taught nearly infinite tolerance and acceptance
  • *I think there was some Old Testament commandment about not lying...
Now, it's probably fair to say every creationist activist violates every single one of those at some point. (Maybe not the last one right away, but it always seems to come to that.)

So here's my new dirty little secret: I am going to dig up those references, and at the earliest opportunity I will use them in the battle against creationism. Since it's not actually possible to argue logically with these people, I wonder how they would respond to a theological argument that what they are doing is against the very religion they are claiming to support?

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