Is God Begrudging Human's Scientific and Technological Development and Advancement?
Pope Benedict XVI has in his Palm Sunday service address to 40,000 strong Catholic faithful gathered at St Peter Square in the Vatican exhorted Catholics, all Christians and indeed the world to beware of the peril of progress. The Pontiff said: “We can fly, we can see, hear and speak to one another from the farthest ends of the earth, yet inventions are in danger of dragging people towards evil, and natural disasters are a reminder that mankind is not all that powerful”. On what promise the Pope came to arrive at this anti-scientific progress conclusion as I listened to his address with rapt attention is in fact what baffles me. The Pontiff had apparently forgotten that even the public address system that conveyed his message to the hearing of the 40,000 crowd was the product of science and technology let alone, thanks to Telstar satellite which instantly sent his pictures and voice to millions across the world. Such is some of the hypocrisy of religious leaders world-wide. They've realised the vacuity of their pot of ideas that can no longer pull followers, hence blaming their failures and decline of faith on man's acquired scientific and technological knowledge for human advancement. All they can do now is to play scare mongering. The churches have developed a continuum of attacks on philosophy, science and technology apparently for laying bare all their mythical doctrines in the various religious books as casuistic and incredulous. To cite the least, with the aid of DNA that instantly determines the maternity/paternity of a child, the ages old much hailed Solomonic landmark decision that threatened to cut a baby into two in a disputed maternity determination case was a sort of cutting the Gordian knot approach and has been reduced to rubbles as crude and un-judicious in any delivery of justice.
It is sad to note the obscurantism behind religious institutions of learning ideally for purposes of brainwashing pupils and students away from all truths of nature. Mankind is kept at bay with the realities of nature hence man's understanding of its historic nature, where we came from and where we are heading to are obnubilated with religious doctrine that continue to instil fear with the paroemia that 'the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom', whereas in fact seeking to know and appreciating nature is the hub of wisdom. Religions of all make erroneously confer the entire attributes of nature, rather undeservedly to a God, apparently oblivious of the fact that Gods are not even masters of their own fate. It cannot be denied that all Gods have some mysterious either purely spiritual, spiritual with human involvement or purely human apotheosized origin. There are scores of examples like Jesus who was the son of Joseph/Yahweh and virgin Mary; the mystery birth of Osiris was by Serb and Nun, translated as heaven and earth; Zeus was the son of Kronos and Rhea who had offspring many of whom were gods and demigods performing different functions yet not of equal station within the Mount Olympus hierarchy. Perseus was born when the God Jupiter visited Danaë; the God Gautama Buddha was born through an opening through his mother's flank; the virgin Nana the son of a river God Sangarius and Cybele gave birth to the God Attis; Genghis Khan, the Mongolian God was of human parents; Krishna of the Hindu religion who had 16,108 wives was born of the virgin Divaka; Horus was born of the virgin Isis and Osiris; Mercury was born of the virgin Maia and Romulus, the grandson of Numitor was born of the virgin Rhea Sylvia and the God Mars etc. Existence of the Pantheon can never be denied yet neither none nor all together have any control over nature and natural events of any description. Nature is the natura naturans; it has no anger and needs no appeasement; it has no rivals and knows no jealousy; it has no apparitions and doesn't appear to people; its laws are fixed and immutable, applicable to all equally. It is unique, unchanging and never fails.
Unless humans are made to understand and appreciate that Nature is distinct from God and Gods, and that same are not even masters of their own fate but fall under the umbrella and control of Nature, we will always question and be at war with realities and always apportion blame on the developing human intellect over which apparently God and Gods have no control whatsoever because neither has any idea of the composition and functioning of earthly creatures and their intellect. Logical evidence of this lack of control etc is explicit in the Christian bible, the Quran, the Veda and almost all documented religious books. The Christian God is exposed by Moses as bumbling with uncontrolled irate temperament that prompted him to commit prolicide. If indeed God as religions claim had any control over the functions of the world and the universe, with this racist, selective and sadistic irate temperament, he would turn the oxygen that gives man and all animals live into carbon dioxide for all but one family to perish in a day and wouldn't waste time in mass destruction with flooding at this moment that mankind is apparently displeasing him.
On religion's anti-progress stance, whereas the mythical deluge and Noah's ark is blamed by Christians and Moslems on the hardly mentioned copulation between a supposed Adam and Eve, which indeed is a sequence of animal nature for reproduction dubbed eating of the forbidden apple, in chapter 6 of the Christian Bible, if it is true, Moses has blamed the first ever supposed Divine prolicide on the sons of God who descended onto the earth and took wives of the daughters of men and begat giants who were men of renown with extreme knowledge. “And it repented of the Lord that he had created man”. Here then is God portrayed by Moses as a bumbler, doing one thing decisively perfectly and regretting it afterwards. He is said to have created man perfectly but man is never perfect. Furthermore with extreme anger he destroyed all creatures that apparently bore no blame in whatever might have angered him. It is surmised that these stories are myths calculated to create fear and awe around the image and powers of God. The second of such mass destruction was that of Sodom and Gomorra. Interestingly, in all cases of mass destruction, only one family was saved apparently yet arguably they were not perfect. Carnage in the Old testament calls for reason to question the compassion, nature, identity and purpose of God in what is termed as lower criticism, for if God can demand human sacrifice by immolation as in the case of Isaac which was averted, Jeptha's daughter's case which was executed, the crucifixion of Jesus for atonement of sins by mankind and several others, then one may question his piety, omnipotence, omniscience, impartiality, equanimity and magnanimity. Knowledge, science and technology are continually, day by day unravelling nature yet these are worrying to “faith politicians” with the fear that religious casuistry and propaganda have come to nought as philosophy and science have proved several chapters from the very first chapter of the Old Testament to Revelations as grossly fictitious.
Whereas Western-made religion has not only been the progeny of the wedlock between creating a calculated mythical arcane for furthering the human institution of monarchy and politics, it has emerged as the single cause of misery through violence, exploitation, acculturation and immiseration by the use of priestcraft. Its counterparts Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism have their dark sides darker that it can be imagined. Worshippers have remained half-hearted and insincere in their routine worships as they vie other avenues seen as more credulous yet forbidden. The pontiff's speech writers could better have lauded science and technological innovations as exceptional achievements of man, achieved through the Grace of God and attributable to him only for his goodness of providing mankind with an ever developing brain akin to being godly but not to condemn these feats as the causes of evil for after-all, it is not through science and technology that priests of various faiths have become paedophiles; that is not what has given rise to homosexuals and lesbians, killers etc; it is man's nature. It is disheartening to hear people who are supposed to know and lead the way rather clouding their supposed knowledge with baseless lies and propaganda all in the name of faith. Therefore, if even beasts in the jungle along Indonesian coast could sense an impending danger of the 2004 tsunami and escaped to higher land elevations but man didn't gleam of it, then man is too far disjoined from its nature; therefore, the Pontiff as the man of God must question his supposed acclaimed representation of God on earth. Now, let us look at some of the evils of that faiths have caused.
The relationship between Christianity and violence is a subject of controversy because one view is that Christianity advocates peace, love and compassion while it is also viewed as a violent religion. Peace, compassion and forgiveness of wrongs done by others are key elements of Christian teaching. However, Christians have struggled since the days of the Church fathers with the question of when the use of force is justified. Such debates have led to concepts such as just war theory. Throughout history, certain teachings from the Old Testament, the New Testament and Christian theology have been used to justify the use of force against heretics, sinners and external enemies. The Inquisitions, Crusades, wars of religion, and anti-Semitism have been among the most notorious examples of Christian violence including "Warrior Popes”' support for justification of slavery, world-wide colonialism in the name of conversion to Christianity, the systemic violence on women subjected to men and systemic violence such as poverty, racism, and sexism.
In Islam, the love of and pursuit of peace coexist with laws requiring the eradication of evil using violent means. Islam has been associated with violence in a variety of contexts, including Jihads as holy wars. Violent acts by Muslims against perceived enemies of Islam, violence against women ostensibly supported by Islamic tenets, references to violence in the Qur'an, and acts of terrorism motivated and, or justified by Islam. Muslims, including clerics and leaders have used Islamic ideas, concepts, texts, and themes to justify violence, especially against non-Muslims. Jihad as an important religious duty of Muslims appears in the Qur'an and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of Allah. Persons engaged in jihad are called mujahedeen, referred to as the sixth pillar of Islam.
The love of peace and the pursuit of peace, as well as laws requiring the eradication of evil by using violent means, co-exist in the Jewish tradition. The Hebrew Bible contains instances of religiously mandated wars which often contain explicit instructions from God to the Israelites to exterminate other tribes, as in Deut 7:1-2 or Deut 20:16-18 . Examples include the story of Amalekites (Deut 25:17-19, 1 Sam 15:1-6), the story of the Midianites (Numbers 31:1-18), and the battle of Jericho (Joshua 6:1-27).
These wars of extermination genocide according to the Torah which states that the Israelites annihilated entire ethnic groups or tribes: the Israelites killed all Amalekites, including men, women, and children (1 Samuel 15:1-20 ); they also killed all men, women, and children in the battle of Jericho (Joshua 6:15-21); in Joshua 10:28-42 the Israelites killed all men, women and children of several Canaanite tribes however, some scholars believe that these accounts in the Torah are exaggerated or metaphorical, if so how metaphorical were they?
The Sōhei were Buddhist warrior monks of feudal Japan who have taints of atrocity. Sikhism has its share of fanaticism and the use of threats or acts of violence against non-Sikhs by providing material support for acts of violence. Many Indian Hindutiva Marxist sociologues have been described as fascist in its ideology and class support specially targeting the concept of homogenised majority and cultural hegemony.
Examples of religion-based violence and terrorism include the Mideast conflict between Israel and neighbouring Muslim countries, the Crusades, The Troubles in Northern Ireland, French Wars of Religion, European wars of religion, the Taiping Rebellion, Islamic Jihad, the Second Sudanese Civil War, the Indo-Pakistani War (1947) and Jewish-Roman Wars. The Mormon-led Mountain Meadows massacre, the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Mumbai attacks of 2008, the 2005 London bombings, and the Bali bombings. These attacks are carried out by those with very strong religious convictions. These acts of religious terrorism are seen by the terrorists as small skirmishes in the context of a much larger global religious war. Although the causes of terrorism are complex, it may be that terrorists are reassured by their religious views that God is on their side and will reward each of them in heaven with 77 virgins as their wives for punishing unbelievers; however I am not told of how many men each woman killer would be offered
These conflicts are among the most difficult to resolve, particularly where both sides believe that God is on their side and has endorsed the moral righteousness of their claims. One of the most infamous quotes associated with religious fanaticism was made in 1209 during the siege of Béziers when a Crusader asked the Papal Legate Arnaud Amalric how to differentiate Catholics from Cathars when the city was taken, to which Amalric replied: "Tuez-les tous; Dieu reconnaitra les siens," or "Kill them all; God will recognize his
Since religious doctrines have sought to ward mankind off knowledge of the nature surrounding them, we will, out of ignorance, attribute earthquakes on land and those in the ocean causing tsunamis, deluge, famine, storms and indeed all forms of natural disaster to the wrought of a fictitious imagined cause by an equally mentally created God of fiction. The facts are that the earth is still under-going its stages of formation. There is a process of accretion to the size and mass of the earth, hence whereas billions of years ago the earth used to spin faster and a day was only six hours, it has now reached the threshold of 24 hours, hence the bigger the planet becomes, the slower its spin and the longer it takes to revolve round the sun. We, including the Pope's script writers must appreciate the fact that the universe is continually unfolding as a natural sequence and not a sequence attributable to any deity. There is enough of fictitious gun diplomacy and religious propaganda. Religion must therefore stay away from the progressive development of science and technology.
Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa, LLB; MPhil (London) (London UK
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