Thanks for you comments.
Honesty, my original post was half-baked.
If there is anything interesting to talk about on the
subject, it will be from your better-thought-out comments
in your reply, so I'll give that a shot.
Then I think they are missing something. Something important.
Realizing that we have fallen natures (--that we are less than we should be or would like to be--) that we have bad motives and inclinations, can help us to examine ourselves and grow into being better people. Many of us feel powerless against our darker natures and relying on a higher power belief, someone that we put faith in to help us conquer these things, often helps --as has been demonstrated in the lives of many.
I actually think I understand what you mean, and I apologize for my earlier comment being
sweeping and un-nuanced.
I know what it feels like to feel broken. I don't mean like depressed-misery broken, I just
mean that deep down lingering ache that we are missing critical parts, and that until we find
or fashion those parts, we will never be happy and whole.
This is a void that science has little to offer by way of filling, and it a void that
religion eagerly rushes into. This has much appeal, and religion unquestionably is a powerful
source of peace of mind. I know this because I remember what it felt like... That warm satisfied
feeling of being really sure of something really big.
That which that science offers is (by comparison) fragmented, blurry, and a bit lower in
pure "hope" content. I do not dispute this. However, I am sure that you understand that I
would prefer no hope to false hope.
Though it sounds like it, I am not actually calling your Christian hope false. I am not
in a position to know if you are wrong or right, and I fully accept that possibility that you
MAY by right. Anything is possible.
I would also hope that you will understand that I cannot believe in something that I no not see
reason to beleive in. That is my current state, for good or ill.
I cannot think of a worse dead end of false peril and false hope to continue traveling down.
Agreed. My statement (though hyperbole) was uncalled for. Indeed there are MUCH worse things
to put your hope in. Radical Islam comes to mind, as well as any brand of fundamentalist
Christian faith that impels one to let their children die from lack of proper medical care,
or who impose their values on others on the tip of a sword (or tip of bomb by an abortion
clinic, as the case may be.)
Here is my real point, hopefully better stated this time:
As I conceded before, we ARE indeed in a constant fight with our darker nature. Any honest
person, secular OR religious will freely admit this, and any decent person will agree that
we need to do SOMETHING about it.
After that is where they part ways.
The "naturalist" view says that the reason we have a tendency towards selfish, violent,
self-destructive behavior is that we are the proud owners of inherited evolutionary tools
that (while once very useful) are sadly ill-fit to the staggeringly complex environment we
now find ourselves in.
Here is one fitting (if prosaic) example.
We all KNOW that eating cheeseburgers and pizza and ice cream all the time puts us at serious
risk of all sorts of health problems... We KNOW this, and many of us do it anyway! Even if we
have family history of heart disease! This behavior is highly irrational, and demands an
The scientific explanation (as I understand it) goes something like this:
In a environment where food is scarce (as it is in most primate hunter/gatherer societies) foods
rich in fats and proteins and sugars are rare and valuable. SO valuable that there would be strong
advantage to members of the species that are willing to go out of the way to find and fight for
fats and sugars. Those individuals with the strongest "emotional" craving for fats and sugars
ended up eating more energy rich foods than their more moderate (apathetic) fellows, and left
more offspring (each who also had a rich-food craving)
Flash forward a hundred thousand years. Now that we are in a (very un-naturelike) environment of
processed store-bought foods, the very tool that got us here now betrays us. Now the tastes we
crave are found not only in fruits and fresh meat, but in processed candy and greasy french fries.
Now, the Biblical explanation: We, as fallen imperfect humans, are a slave to sin. Due to both
our inborn post-adam brokenness and the influence of Satan, we are daily tempted with the evils
of the flesh, including hedonistic food habits, unbridled sex, and cruel violence.
In the Biblical model, this brokenness can and IS fixed (somewhat) by a relationship with Christ
now and (entirely) when we regain perfect eternal life along with perfect self control.
(If this is inaccurate, please correct me, but regardless allow me to make my point:)
If this is in fact not true, if there is no one coming to sweep in and save us from ourselves,
WE need to start fixing us right now. We need to square up to our faults and our messy dark
evolutionary past with all it's animalistic baggage and ask ourselves what we are going to
do to save our species and our planet.
What if sitting around waiting for the return of Christ is accomplishing nothing but dooming
our entire civilization? Are true believing Christians seriously going to be the ones thinking
about what we as a civilization need to be doing to ensure that we are even still alive in
500 years? 1000 years? If Christ is going to come and clean up our mess if we pray and love
and believe hard enough, what is there to be productively terrified of?
I may be wrong. I fully accept that one day I may stand before my creator and try and explain
why I lost the watertight faith I once had. I will plead that my curiosity and skepticism are
qualities HE gave me, and hope that counts for something. If I am wrong, I may indeed be traveling
down a (preventable) dead end of my own existence.
If Christians are wrong, they may traveling down a dead end of the existence of all of the
life in the universe.
That is a pretty big dead end.