I now have to say another thing as huge as my first point. It may even be harder to accept. No one (or very few), in this age of enlightenment, believes in science. Unlike the God thing, I can actually prove this one.
Once someone I knew spent $20 on $2 lottery tickets. On one ticket he won $6. He said, “Look, I’m ahead $4!” He fought me when I pointed out he’d lost $18.
We’re all ready to pay the Math Tax called the Lottery, or other forms of Gambling. Evolution has brought us to a place where we and many other creators stand. Every last one of us is the product of billions of years of evolution and breeding. Yet how many of us refuse to accept that – not because of religion, but rather because of ideological points? If any other creature was so dedicated to denying its own nature, it would die out. We will, too, if we are not careful. We imagine that some races are “more evolved” than others.
We deny simple mathematics when it comes to our economic choices. Listening to “Freakanomics” on NPR, you realize over and over that what we think of as liberal economic policies – and conservative ones – fail. Constantly. Yet none of us want to hear that and even the reporters on the show don’t like to hear their pet social programs wreck lives.
We know that plastic is killing the planet, but how much plastic do we use? We know that petroleum consumption is practically an addiction, but we fight wars to sustain it. We are sure that unprotected sex with multiple partners, chain-smoking, capitalism, processed food, and even greenhouse gases are killing us, yet we do nothing to stop and most of us are certain it will not affect, you know, me… personally. We are sure on the right that big gov’t is an evil – but we constantly make it bigger. We are sure on the left that big gov’t will be just and protect us, so when the gov’t fails to do that – does the reverse, actually – our solution is to give the gov’t more power.
We’re this way when it comes to Astrology (now more popular than ever and most of my non-religious friends think of it as just another form of M-B personality tests). Social work, politics, food. We love “science” when it shows us we’re right. We ignore it when it shows us we’re wrong. And there’s no deity or church to condemn us for it.
We say we want to do something – but the opposite gets done.
I mentioned yesterday that it seems as though all of the religions overlap in some very important ways. Then I commented that they feel to overlap in some crucial ways as well. Why is that so? a superficial exploration of this question will point out cultural, historical, and political issues. We may even get to theology. yet, if everyone says, for example, we must love the other person then why do some religions deny the existence of the other person at all? Some religions say any love of other is actually the love of self and any perception of “other” at all is a misperception. How can this be?
To understand the answer to this question we must go deeper than things superficial.
Remember I asked you to accept, as a given, that there is a God and he loves us. From this, I drew the point that such a loving God would try to reach us, to make himself known to us and we known to him. I pointed out all the overlap and suggested that here was a golden path to the knowledge of God. In fact, a Christian writer by the name of Paul said (in the Bible) that all humans have this knowledge of God written in their hearts – even unbelievers. Another writer, Justin, in the 2nd Century adds that all truth (he uses Plato and Socrates) no matter where it comes from is always God’s truth. Today we would say even scientific truth is God’s truth. However, we don’t believe in Science.
The real issue: we won’t believe in any form of Authority.
One version of history says Martin Luther was opposed to the Pope. In fact, Martin Luther was opposed to confining Papal Authority in one person. Instead of One Pope, Martin gave us a world filled with Popes. Each Christian (and, in fact, each person) inspired by their “inner light” has become infallible. There is a direct line from the Wittenburg Door to Oprah Winfrey and it continues on. We now “know” that feelings are more important than facts. I don’t like this because it makes me feel X. Therefore it must be untrue.
But this is not new. Humans have been like this, quite literally, forever. We’re afraid of Authority and we will do anything to manipulate and mold it into our own likeness. This is why all the overlapping golden road I mentioned before has brought us no closer to unity, no closer to “coexist” than millions of bumper stickers. Each one of us wants to be their own pope.
Every part of that golden road is pointing towards God – towards an Authority to whom each one of us feels in their heart, they may have to submit. And each one of us knows we would never submit. Ever. YOU ARE NOT MY SUPERVISOR is the credo of this age. But this is not new. It’s been the just-after-primal human cry for ever.
So there are forks in the road and precipices. There are unpaved stretches and who landslides worth of washouts. You can’t get there from here. But each of us knows that road is there. And when we get on it (even by accident) we find ourselves wondering, “Where does this go?”
I’ll be back tomorrow with the mother of all Kerygma. The Kerygmama.