I confess to being confused now and again. Like the other day, when I was chastised by a creationist for leading off a blog with a story about McDonald’s and Iceland, and then switching over to discuss religious homeschooling. Somehow she found my blog style unfair.
I just barely mentioned to the dear brain-impaired one that blogging has no real rules. And the point of blogging is precisely to speak one’s own mind about any topic one deems discussable. I would have assumed that such a basic understanding of the genre would have been obvious, but I guess one learns not to use the term obvious when talking to a person who has long since given up the art of thinking.
I was called a “liberal” as if such a connotation would send me running for cover. I was told I had a thorn in my side. (With all due respect, I think it best not to make analogies to the great Saint Paul in criticizing me!) I am a liberal, and I might add, a fairly radical one. My husband, the Contrarian would be happy to tell you all about it. He is what I might term a fiscal conservative/libertarian, and a social liberal. He’d be the first to tell you that if it were announced that George W. Bush discovered a cure for cancer, I’d find a reason to find that an abomination. And perhaps I would.
I have no truck with what I consider insanity on the part of anyone who proports to have an opinion that I find wholly out of the ballpark of rationality. Dubya is an idiot, thus if it were declared he had cured cancer, I’d be highly dubious that the great stupid one could do that. By the same token, when one declares themselves to be a creationist, I know I’m not dealing with a person who has any sense left. It’s as rational as asking us all to believe that suddenly, 2+2=5. You can cite all the nonsense you wish, all the sites run by the opportunists you wish, and 2+2 still will be equalling 4.
I am fairly open about my own shortcomings. I am often wrong. I invite reasoned discourse. I have often been convinced of the arguments of others. But again, if you are gonna try to explain how just maybe 2+2=5, we are wasting time. God created your mind too, and if you no longer trust the senses you were given, then well, we can’t communicate much can we? You live in a fantasy while I inhabit the real world.
Education is sacred to me. It doesn’t have to be formal, but a fine mind is worth going out of one’s way to sit at the feet of. I want to learn. I seek those who are more learned, not those who have boxed themselves into a world that promises salvation by denying what is clear to the rest of the rational world.
The Contrarian often told me that one of the smartest individuals he had ever known was a kid without a high school education. He couldn’t be bothered with the system. When he became interested in something he went to a library and he read. For as long as it took. Until he knew what he wanted to know.
I harp on critical thinking, because frankly, it’s embarrassing to accept the proposition that so many Americans are stone cold ignorant. I’ve been amused at reading some of the entries in my high school Facebook group. You can spot the ones that never went beyond high school. And that is scary, because contrary to what they say, I didn’t learn much at high school. Nothing of real lasting value. I learned the basic curriculum which is designed to make one literate and a good citizen. Nothing much more.
I value curiosity. I think that in some ways, it is the defining characteristic of humans. Oh, no doubt chimps and elephants and other animal species show signs of curiosity (not to mention cats of course) but in the main, humans are the ones who are curious just because they want to know. And that indeed makes us special. Muffling that, by instilling doctrine into a mind, is both dangerous and heart breaking to me.
Curiosity demands that we follow the facts wherever they lead. We are not permitted to set the “end” and then see if we can amass evidence to support it. And curiosity is what is lacking in the stultified mind of the creationist and others of that ilk. They have opted for safety and a false sense of that to be sure. They have simplified life so that a book holds the answers to life for them. They cannot live with uncertainty. The sculpt the book so that it is certain, at least for them. It is not for anyone who has bothered to take any actual class in biblical studies or theology.
Not all fundamentalists are cut from the same cloth. There are those who don’t see the bible as history or science and thus don’t expect answers to those questions in it. But they tend to see the bible as a moral compass, and in that they are not too awfully far from the mark. It is at least the considered conclusion of a number of men of what morality should be.
At the other extreme is the creationist, YEC proponent. These are the extreme phobic minds that are desperate for a clear cut map for the future. They don’t want a God that is mysterious. They want a great white human type that they can understand that chastises and rewards, forgives and commands. Whose ways are inscrutable but to whom blind faith is required for the big pay off.
I make no apologies for railing against this latter group. The reason is simple. They can and often do get the notion that God requires them to push this belief system on a stubborn polity. And when they reach that conclusion, then violence is all too often a logical step. Like the enviro-fascists and PETA fanatic, at some point, to show your dedication to the “truth,” action is required. If someone gets hurt? Why so be it. Lots of people got hurt in the bible for not following God’s commands. Such twisted thinking to justify violence just doesn’t sit well with me.
And frankly, I suspect other motives. It seems curious that so called Christians are for torture, for wars of choice, for the death penalty, against health care reform, against redistribution of wealth, against gays, against women (for the most part), for Patriot Acts, but against hate crime legislation, and unbelievably against care for the environment. The list is endless. Just about the opposite of what you would expect of a Christian. But pretty much what you would expect of someone who doesn’t want what he/she has to be taxed away in an equatable distribution so that the poor can be cared for. So, fair or not, I don’t trust ’em.
For a really good discussion on the present state of the religion versus evolutionary debate read Evolution and Creation at Religious Dispatches.