My wife dropped the newsletter from her parish on the table when she
returned from Mass today, and while I was cooking my world-famous "Winter
Root Stew", I leafed through it, and found the following… all in capital
letters, mind you:
We are not some casual or meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is
the result of a thought of God. Each of us is loved. Each of us is
Once when I asked my wife if she believed in evolution, she said definitely
not. She found the thought of it distasteful. However, I think this
phrase really sums up most people's dislike of evolution… that of
But evolution and meaning are not correlated. It is true that if you
believe in evolution, then personal meaning, personal value or personal worth
is not dictated to you… it must be sought out, discovered and earned for
oneself. To me, that sounds far richer.
The other day, I ran across an article that attempted to demonstrate
that the more "religious" a country was, the lower its "morals." Compare
the crime rates of Japan and various European countries where few people
express religious affiliation with America and you get the idea. Of course,
you must keep in mind that corellation isn't causation, and I for one, am
not sure I'm willing
to blame religion as the basis of our immorality and social problems-- it
inevitably comes from many factors.
However, I do think there may be an interesting thought to chew on, in that
those who are not religious, are moral for… dare I say, for better
reasons than a fear of hell and the hope of a quick repentence. The godless
moralists may be more moral because they may have struggled and
internalized these issues, and take a more personal responsibility for
I haven't came to any conclusions about these ideas, but I present them to
spawn some dialog. Any takers? Yes, you in the back with the orange hair
and purple cape, go ahead…
Tell others about this article:
I could not agree more with the hypothesis that you are putting forth. I
was once in the Christian faith and have done a complete 180, evolving
myself into an agnostic evolutionary scientist. It has been all for the
It makes me sad to hear that people believe a life without "serving God"
is meaningless. How uncreative these individuals are. I guess I don't have
a major problem with the people who have tested their beliefs, or even
tried other culture's beliefs. I do have a problem with the ones that grow
up being spoonfed religious traditions and never even pause to question and
reflect on their beliefs.
Living in Kansas, where "Evolution is on Trial," I get a full dose of the
aforementioned poison thoughts. By the way, great website Howard… your
website was an inspiration for mine. Check it out some time will ya?
Thanks for the compliment, and your site looks great.
I'm deeply fascinated by the honesty and profound commitment to the
common good of human kind expressed by many atheists, without
discriminations or dogmatisms.
Atheism (so as agnosticism) is the most challenging philosophical
approach to the meaning of life; it is NOT a shortcut to egotism, it's
instead a puzzling and troubling attempt to enlarge our comprehension of
the world without the narrow barriers of prejudice and superstition. It's
pure freedom, it's pure responsability.
Religion is our dog leash: it constrains us within certain predefined
paths, menacing punishment to the curious guys.
As Albert Einstein used to say:
The ethical behavior of man is better based on sympathy, education, and
social relationships, and requires no support from religion. Man's plight
would, indeed, be sad if he had to be kept in order through fear of
punishment and hope of rewards after death.
It is, therefore, quite natural that the churches have always fought
against science and have persecuted its supporters.
I think you are right noticing that there seems to be a correlation
between religion and country morality: cultural environments devoted to the
positive assertion of individual responsability and social solidarity (such
as northern european countries) are liberal ones, where the position of the
religious lobbies is treated in the same manner as any other lobby (laical
principle). Euthanasia, PACS (civil solidarity pacts), birth control
methods, women rights, drugs legalization etc. are seen as evil by the
god-fearing people, but they've been approved in those countries evaluating
them for their effective results/benefits, not for their traditional
The most aggressive countries are (you guess?) those inoculated by an
absolutistic way of thinking, an ideology, a strong thought that a
maybe-democratical leader pumps up instrumentalizing it to catalyze the
public opinion (in Italy, as we sadly have a multicentenary experience
about that, we call it "popolo bue, oxlike-minded people").
IMHO, USA are infested by religious sects due to their very poor cultural
assets (despite their economical prosperity) and their extreme cult for the
material consumption. Moreover, USA institutions are traditionally bound
with religion: I admit that any time the europeans hear addresses by your
President Bush (but, definitely, any other that preceded him), they judge
them really ridiculous and comic with all those pathetic references to God!
Another example: Italy is one of the countries most influenced by the
christian church, but nobody need to remind you of the bad criminal
reputation it gained (mafia & so on) and the corruption it feeds and lets
Atheism is the only philosophical approach that keeps absolute rules out
of the semantics and just inside the metalinguistic (syntactic) expression
of thought, whereas religions jealously shape both the semantics and the
syntax out of absolute rules.
My compliments for your nice blog, Howard!
Perhaps evolution appears to be meaningless because we fail to perceive
the meaning. I heard that Darwin repudiated parts of his theory in his
later years after having meditated upon the idea that this elegant creation
that he studied so fervently all of his life would HAVE to have had some
kind of 'intelligence' behind it. He figured that it's unbelievable that it
could have all happened by ACCIDENT!
That clip from the Catholic flier about us being here for a purpose
involving love reminds me of many of the similar sayings from the Vedas.
They say that we are deluded into believing that we are seperate from the
ultimate cause and purpose of creation by the veils of forgetfullness that
cover our consciousness once we become entranced by the feelings of
existance. Many sages have claimed to have removed those veils and they all
tell amazingly similar stories about what they see. I have discovered that
the sum of all of their awareness and wisdom contains a common thread that
creation is just a thought in the mind of the infinite. If we can awaken
from our delusion of self we will see the eternal clear light from the
perspective of the Self…