Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sympathy for the jaded members of the secular left

I think that the labels "spiritual" and "progressive/liberal" more often than not are fair quick-look assessments (though each of us is too complex to be summed up or limited by such tags) of my views on life and society, and I have written before about my concerns regarding the bitter, overly simplistic, and dismissive attitude that some (please catch all these hedge-words please!) self-professed nontheists have developed and promoted with regard to religion. But I can also appreciate how easy it is to become so jaded.

In fact, I have been so jaded (if you find this confusing it might help to check out how I view religion and spirituality, etc, as documented on this site). And this topic is not some back-handed swipe at anyone who considers themselves to be nontheistic, nonreligious, or nonspiritual. With that said, here are some items I ran across that remind me why its so tempting to just shut off any meaningful engagement with any sacred tradition and any associated organizations, practices, etc:

First up, the Creationist Museum proposed and designed by Ken Ham, which has been drawing strong reaction since it was first announced, is apparently well into development and was recently featured in an article at the BBC...
It is the dream of Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, a Christian ministry that promotes the idea that the Biblical book of Genesis should be taken literally in describing the creation of the world, life and humans as carried out by God over a six-day period a few thousand years ago...

He came to the US from Australia 20 years ago, founded Answers in Genesis and never left.

He lectures or broadcasts almost daily and clearly has the charisma to raise $27m (£14m) for this ambitious museum.

He is also not afraid to show us what is inside, and turns on the animatronic dinosaurs.

On a rocky ledge, there is a pair of small theropods - young T. rex individuals, we're told. And near to them ("hold onto your hat", says Ken, anticipating our disbelief) there are two human children playing by a stream.

Most geologists would say humans and dinosaurs were separated by more than 60 million years. And those dinosaurs have very sharp teeth!

"So do bears", says Ken, "but they eat nuts and berries! Remember, before the sin of Adam, the world was perfect. All creatures were vegetarian." One of the dinosaurs lets out a rather contradictory roar.

Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but what annoys Eugenie Scott is the way in which the received wisdom of Genesis is given equal or higher status to scientific evidence; and the way in which the latter is used selectively.

"In the card game of creationism, the Bible trumps science every time," she says.

But in her game, science is dealt a hand that is purely materialistic. Ideas of a supernatural being belong in a different game, be it philosophy or theology...


Then there is the news from Pandagon via Even the Devils Believe that the Westboro Baptist Church is planning to do one of their disgusting protests at the funerals of the Virginia Tech massacre, demonstrating once again that they will leech publicity off of the most horrible of tragedies to push their doctrine of hate. I choose not to republish their little press release, but you can view it through the link provided to Pandagon to avoid giving Phelps and family extra hits on their website.

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