Some thoughts on how religious fundamentalism in the US may have dire results if not healed.
I’ve kept my silence on the matter of the US elections so far, but now I’m so astonished that I can’t hold my silence any longer. The reason that seriocomic has found for the re-election of GWB saddens me so.
I have refrained from opening my virtual mouth on the matter because I can’t say anything without calling America – as a nation – stupid and idiotic. I have nothing against religion as such even though I don’t belong to any religious group myself. But when religious fundamentalism overrides the usage of brains, stupidity is the only word I can find to describe the state of mind of the people involved.
I simply cannot fathom how a nation striving for excellence in all matters, especially science and technology, can believe that a scientific theory should be taught alongside or replaced by a religious belief. In Finland, evolution is taught in the science classes and creationism (or the
creation story (luomiskertomus)) is taught in religion classes. In fact, in high school religion classes the stories on how the universe and world was created include examples from Native Americans etc., just to keep things in balance. And I would presume to point out the fact that while evolution is backed by scientific evidence, all of these other stories are simply stories, albeit with allegorical value.
What worries me so much about the situation in the US is that religious fundamentalism is such a controlling aspect the of the nations attitudes. I’d never really realized it until now. I do remember wondering, and being amused, how a town of 1100 inhabitants can have five churches in it. I also remember how normal high school classes didn’t encourage learning problem solving skills and the usage of brains but rather relied on guesswork and learning content by heart. Even considering teaching religious beliefs as science will make matters even worse. Where does one draw the line?
All I know is that emphasizing religion and reducing the amount of science that is taught will plunge America even deeper into an abyss and make the differences separating the blue states from the red states will just deepen. Finland has had its own strong divisions in the past, as has the US, but at least Finland had trials and tribulations that forced the nation to unify to at least some extent. The US still feels the separation caused by the Civil War, considering how the red and blue states are spread out, the separation still exists and may be amplified during the coming years. I don’t know what could serve as a unifying experience, but I truly believe that the US needs it.
Oh, and by the way, if creationism is based on intelligent design, who says that the designer must be God? After all, even the existence of God (or Gods in any sense) is a matter under debate that no one can prove. Aliens could have done just as well. Or we may just be a part of a great big computer that is here to figure out the meaning of life…
P.S. Fundamentalism is defined as
1.a movement in American Protestantism that arose in the early part of the 20th century in reaction to modernism and that stresses the inerrancy of the Bible not only in matters of faith and morals but also as a literal historical record, holding as essential to Christian faith belief in such doctrines as the virgin birth, physical resurrection, atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, and the Second Coming. 2. the beliefs held by those in this movement. (Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Gramercy Books 1996.)
P.P.S. Although I live in Finland and consider myself Finnish, I am an American citizen as well. So claiming that I’m another European complaining about the results of a nation’s internal matter is an exercise in futility.