Wednesday, December 30, 2015

More Thoughts on Religion and American Values

I subscribe to the science blog Facebook group I Fucking Love Science (IFLS). It is run by Elise Andrews from LabX Media Group in Canada. Usually posts are about new science breakthroughs in biology, physics, and astronomy. But sometimes there are stories about other science fields like archeology, sociology, and paleontology. These fields sometimes bleed into the humanities.
Ina Gadda Davida. Links to the article.

Recently, IFLS posted a story about a new theory published by the Biblical Archeology Society. It is linked to the picture above. The theory combines what we know about basic biological anatomy with studies in ancient linguistics to come up with this idea that perhaps Adam's Rib actually is Adam's Penis. The theory, as I understand it, is pretty clever.  It combines what we know about animal penises and how they differ mostly from our own anatomy, and how ancient peoples must have made the same comparisons, and how they would have used that knowledge to inform their own mythologies. Combine that with how difficult it can be to translate idioms and euphemisms, and the theory does have some traction.

Science is pretty fluid, and allows for new discoveries to amend and change facts and theories based on new evidence. Unfortunately, religion has trouble amending anything, especially if its a common and popularly held belief.

This brings me to the end of the article. One of the detractors of the theory is quoted as saying, "I do not need and will not read articles that damage my faith or attempts to cause me to doubt what I know is the Truth from the Bible".

This statement is very telling, and I think highlights the major issue causing the rift between Science and Religion. Previously on the blog Tom is Clever, I wrote a piece on my own personal thoughts on Religion. In the article I outlined fundamentalism in Christianity. Inerrancy is a major part of fundamentalism, and this quote proves the stubbornness of this idea.

The theory posed above does not detract from or change the biblical theology in any major sense. Eve is still created from Adam, and all the dogma and misogynist code extrapolated from that story can still exist. Having Eve created from a penis bone is, at its core, no different from creating her from a rib, or any other of Adam's bones. So... I find it interesting that even the most hardline Christians would care. If anything, this theory helps explain how the mythology can still exist even with better translations.

The only explanation I can think of, is the need for the very religious to continue to attack and dismiss Science as a whole. It really doesn't matter if it is Science at all. I think anyone offering a differing opinion of what the religion means would be treated the same way by this particular quote. For all I know, this believer's faith, and what he knows to be "Truth from the Bible" could be completely ridiculous conjecture not supported at all by his Bible, or by actual Biblical scholars.

The scary part is, it wouldn't matter. Because this man, and all the other Christians like him have already made up their minds, and out right refuse to acknowledge anything different, no matter if the different ideas, theories, or theologies are far closer to actual Truth.

This attitude doesn't stop with personal theology, however. That is the truly scary part. This attitude of inerrancy and refusal to learn new things has bled into other parts of American society. The Truth in the Bible is not the only thing Americans are unwilling to compromise over. For example, the Second Amendment can not be compromised, not matter how many statistics, factual information, specialists, and experts prove that stronger gun regulations could decrease the number of massacres, and gun related crime.

Refusal to even listen to any other side of any other argument because it threatens personal understandings of the universe is a major problem in all facets of society. This idea that one person already knows the Truth, and anything else must be false creates a barrier where no beneficial discourse could possibly survive. Policies concerning military spending, immigration, tax reform, gun control, and domestic social spending have all been held at a near standstill for decades due to a refusal to back away from popularly held beliefs. Until we can get over the "what I know is right, and what you know is stupid" attitude, there will be no change, and nothing will get better.

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