Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Apropos my gripes about the abysmal state of what passes for conservative science journalism, Teresa Nielsen Hayden weighs in:

Why should it be so important to insist that God created the animals via mysterious unspecified means, and to deny that the processes that brought them into being left perceptible traces in the geological record and in the form and nature of the animals we have with us today? There’s no virtue in the denial. Understanding something about how animals happened neither makes us gods nor distances us from God. Refusing to understand it—or worse, lying to maintain a false model of how things happened—puts us very far from God and/or truth.

Lying about evolution is not evidence of faith. Lying about anything is not evidence of faith. Lying to one’s co-religionists is not evidence that you care about the state of their souls or your own. So why do it? Possibly because it fosters an unwarranted certainty, an us-and-them mentality that can be exploited for political gains. And possibly, just possibly, because it leads believers into distracting thickets of false exegesis, and away from a faith whose basic tenets have never been terribly complicated: Love god. Love one another. Share what you have, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, comfort the afflicted, be humble, love justice, seek peace, tell the truth, pray often, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, recognize everyone as a child of God just like yourself, and forgive trespasses as you hope to have your own forgiven.

It’s a disturbing religion when you take it straight. Heaven only knows what would happen if more of these people started practicing it.

Can it be put more plainly than that? Or more thoughtfully?