Holy Hum

There’s no awe to sense
without religion in life.
No God’s a bore.

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The Missions

Annie Lennox said not
to mess with the
Missionary Man
and I can see why

Missionaries
have extraordinary love
that propel them
into the unknown

I can’t imagine
thrusting in a new culture
at the speed of
my Savior’s message

Me, I couldn’t do it
but I’ve heard
those who have, talk
and they’re astonishing

So while I couldn’t cope
with the demands
of such zeal
and commitment

I’m glad to say
they’re part of the great
makeup for that time
they’re needed and welcome.

The new religion: Atheism

And the blind shall lead the blind.
I’m being metaphorical even if I have lived the experience of being lead down a pitch black portage trail by a blind man who could feel the path with his feet.
But no I’m speaking of this new atheism that seems to have suddenly popped up semi-formed from nothingness. Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and a host of bloggers who like to yell have all seen the light… or is the dark? Is nothing dark or light?
This was what I pictured in my head when Karen showed me some writing by Charles Lewis today. His article entitled “Dear atheists: most of us don’t care what you think” for the National Post was a short and enjoyable read. In it he says:

most atheists do not have a clue what religion is about.

And there it is. Mr. Lewis spells out the crux of the problem with New Atheists right there. Normally I wouldn’t be caught dead reading The Post but I’m glad Karen recommended this. Here are expressed some thoughts that mirror mine about these blind atheists out there and their new religion.
Terry Eagleton, who recently wrote “Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate”, eloquently says something similiar in his critique of Dawkins:

Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology.

Of course Dawkins counters that he doesn’t need to read a book on Fairy-logy to hold forth on the subject of Fairies. An extraordinary thing for a University professor to say, don’t you think? Smacks of hypocrisy. It is clear why Dawkins doesn’t dare debate religion with anyone who really knows their religion. He, and others like him, start off with the belief that anyone religious is an idiot and so it is easy to debate them. So when they come up against someone who knows his topic he shies away.
So Mr. Lewis, I salute you, sir. Why should I care about what atheists think? You’re right: I don’t have to. Those tendencies within me that make me a practicing Catholic encourage me to care for the person but not necessarily for what they think.
For me faith has always been a struggle and, I think, it’s the same for anyone who takes it seriously. It’s a process oriented toward something greather than myself and never involves just settling for anything. Personally, giving up on faith would be the easy way out. But I won’t try to stop an atheist from fighting whatever it is they believe (?) they’re fighting for.

Science versus Religion, Again

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
Steven Weinberg, quoted in The New York Times, April 20, 1999 US physicist (1933 – )

I think this shows just how short-sighted and prejudiced some people can
be. Of course in the modern era (which, we should always remind
ourselves, won’t be so modern in the next) religion is a convenient
scapegoat for those who think Dan Brown’s DaVinci code are nonfiction.
It is too easy to believe that. And so that kind of logic should be
suspect. Science could easily be substituted for religion here. But,
in the end, I believe it’s just as simplistic to say science brings evil
on us.
Even if you contend that ends justifies the means, certain means can be
considered evil. For example, it is often argued that the thousands who
died in the blasts and subsequent radiation sickness in Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, allowed for an end to the war and so saved lives. Personally
I don’t believe that argument but it would be hard to argue that what
happened to the innocent people in those two cities was not evil. Now
that bomb was the product of the Manhattan Project and so directly
caused by physicists and politicians not priests nor rabbis nor mullahs
nor any kind of religious zealot.
That isn’t to say that evil hasn’t been perpetrated in the name of a
religion. It certainly has but as I just showed, it’s been done for
other causes too.
No Mr. Weinberg. It does not take religion for good people to do evil
things. Evil happens all the time and around us all and doesn’t require
the help of religion or science or any other paradigm. It’s just
people. Stop the simple-minded scapegoating so we can deal with the
real problem.
I believe that there is, within each of us, the potential for great good
or great evil even if something lukewarm in between is the norm. We can
easily hide behind excuses about end causes but it always comes down to
a single personal choice. Who’s to know what we shall each pick?