Thought #22. The elephant in the room.

Had Darwin never been born, religion would be in better shape today. Well, this statement is not necessarily true, appearances can be deceptive and neither is atheism a spin-off of modern times, nor is religion even in decline. Despite the fact that Charles Darwin is widely regarded as the father of evolutionism and thus of atheism, the rise of disbelief in the modern world has ancient roots. In other words, it is as old as the hills.

However, it is small wonder that atheism has not turned up trumps. Although there is no scientific evidence of the supernatural, mankind’s tendency to believe the unbelievable is an immemorial custom. This deeply ingrained behaviour has been, is and will be an inseparable part of human beings. Apparently, people need to believe in something, true or false.

The paradoxical nature of any kind of religion is basically incontestable, and as yet neither the Greeks nor Science have been capable of convincing believers that living in blissful ignorance could be tantamount to squandering a whole life.  Should there exist a highly controversial subject, it is without doubt the struggle between Science and religion. I understand that no one should be able to judge others on account of their beliefs, but it is no less true that religious justice has historically done a great disservice to their own devotees.

From a purely secular point of view, fervent believers have been largely belittled by their faith. By imposing arbitrary limits on the freedom of action of they followers, religions utter thinly-veiled threats of committing sins and it must be difficult to live when anything could end up weighing on your conscience.

Faith can move mountains, but it cannot avert wars or prevent capital punishment. Do I have to take this matter of misleading leaders seriously? Do I need to believe in a God that promises eternal life and yet allows brutality and savagery? I do not think so. The Spanish inquisition is only an example of religious intolerance and repression towards other beliefs. Countless deaths were caused in vain then, and countless will be caused in the future for “Their” sake.

Fortunately, I do not think the future of humanity is at risk, unless a cruel twist of fate leads us to extinction. Although creationism is still in its heyday, I firmly believe in our intellectual capacities. Science would well need more time to probe deep into the origins of life and find the missing link but the paradoxical nature of a hypothesis will eventually cease to be a paradox when factual evidence emerges and the elephant in the room vanishes once and for all.