Scientific discussion has, to an extent, become more and more prevalent in popular culture in recent years. There are various reasons for this, from newspapers warning us about LHC-induced black holes killing us all to Professor Brian Cox managing to find the hook to interest audiences on a large scale. Whatever you may think of Prof Cox, it can only be described as a good result if people are leaning more and more towards rationality and wanting to know how the world actually works.
It is very easy to move onto religion-bashing from any talk about scientific discovery, but I don’t think that it is necessary to do so. Religion is too deeply rooted in every society for my telling people that their faith is a po-faced fairy tale based on vanity to have any effect. Why should I bother? I know that my beliefs are feasible and based on evidence rather than superstition, so it shouldn’t matter to me that people believe otherwise. I have been asked why I’m so tolerant of religion before and I always have to respond that I’m not tolerant; I’m indifferent. As long as other peoples beliefs aren’t encroaching on me, they’re welcome to them.
That is not to say that I believe that religion has a place in a modern world, as in all honesty I can’t see why we still cling to beliefs that are, logically, impossible and only become more far-fetched the more we learn about the universe. I just cling to the dated idea that maybe people should just get along for a change. In the words of War: Why can’t we be friends?
A belief in the supernatural is another part of the human ego that I don’t understand, however I believe that such beliefs can, in fact, be dangerous to people who are more inclined to follow them. Mediums, for example, are a group of people who take people’s money in exchange for a chat with a dead relative. How such people are allowed to do this is beyond me, yet this is a legally acceptable business. If someone claims that a ghost made them murder someone, however, the plea is, as it should be, dismissed without consideration. Why is there this hypocrisy? If you can’t accept that the latter is a possibility then you logically cannot accept the former and until the issue is addressed, vulnerable people are going to continue being taken advantage of.
In the interest of fairness, the other side of the argument can irritate me quite as much. It grates at me to hear people loudly condemning other people’s beliefs, be they religious or otherwise, without knowing the evidence or theory to support their own argument. A popular one is that ghosts can’t possibly be real, as they violate the laws of physics, yet if you ask them to explain exactly what they mean, you will rarely hear someone explaining the second law of thermodynamics and contextually apply it to the argument they so boldly give.
I think that science is the only possible way for the future. I do not think that religion will exist at the scale it is now in another 100 years. Taking these two beliefs, I think that people who firmly believe in science should keep working towards a better world and that religion should stop telling everyone to ‘repent or burn!’. In fact, both should ignore the other, as we have pots of evidence showing that they aren’t friends.
I’m not too keen on a future based on two different societies trying to ‘one-up’ the other.