Saturday, February 20, 2016

Forbidden Neurons

I’m sorry to say this, God, but it seems like you were not thinking too clearly when you gave
human beings a brain and then instructed them not to use it. At least according to some of your followers. Have You seen this?

My first reaction is to point out the flawed logic and extreme irony in such absurdity—and I will. But the truly depressing thought is that it won’t matter to the people who attend this church. Because they are part of what seems to be a growing wave of blind followers who are not only ignorant and yes, just plain stupid, but are proud of it and want their children and the rest of the world to be the same. There have always been mass movements to keep the public uninformed and unquestioning, but at least lip service has been paid to the importance of education and respect paid to intelligence. This feels like something new under the sun and it is terrifying. These folks vote and they run churches and they run schools and they get media coverage. Well, for those who still believe in intelligent discourse and rational argument, here’s a few points.

IRONY #1: This was written on a lit sign that exists because of the work and thought of educated people. Education discovered and harnessed electricity, education taught the people writing the sign to read and write, education created just about everything these believers use in their contemporary life, from cars to flush toilets to degrees in ministry. Not to mention living in a democracy created by ideas from thinking, highly articulate and highly educated people purposefully steering away from the tyranny of blind obedience. This church’s very freedom to exist and post its statement comes from that democratic system.

IRONY #2: In the first thousand years or so of Christianity, it was Christian monks who were the caretakers of literacy and engaged in constant reflection on and disagreement about the fine points of the Gospels. When God-fearing Christians invented and produced the printing press with moveable type, the Bible was the first book printed. When the Protestant revolution suggested that individuals reading the Bible would bring them closer to God than taking the word of Catholic priests, Western schools as we know them were created to teach mass literacy. In short, schools came into being to bring people closer to God, not farther away.

IRONY #3: The first great thinkers who praised the rational mind as the highest human achievement—Descartes, Newton, Galileo and more—were all devout churchgoers. They saw no contradiction in seeking to understand God’s creation scientifically and retaining faith in that God. The idea that God would ask them to shut down their thinking brains was inconceivable.

Shall I go on? Clearly I need to lighten up and just laugh with the rest of the Facebook folks. But I repeat from my earlier blogs—in my lifetime at least, never has public discourse run to such a low level, have the four top candidates of a major political party modeled this kind of frontal attack on education and intelligence and counted on ignorance to back their fantasies of world domination, never have people been encouraged “NOT TO GET AN EDUCATION!!!”

Back to you, God. 

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