Questionable Motives

November 17, 2009

Faith in faith? Why?

The former bureau chief of BBC India, Sir Mark Tully, appealed to the scientists to strike a balance between science and religion to bring about harmony in the society. The noted journalist and author also added that science limits perception. “Like you can have different perceptions on music and poetry, science should be open for different views,” he said. Here.

Balance? Different views? Harmony? What on earth is Tully talking about? Here is an apparently intelligent man talking gibberish.

Let us replace the generic term ‘science’ with an actual science… let’s say chemistry, and see if what he is saying makes any sense. When a chemical reaction is shown to be the same regardless of the geography in which it takes place, the culture in which the reaction occurs, or the religious assumptions of the individual carrying out the chemistry, how does chemistry as a science – and those who rely on its known formulas that always work – cause social imbalances, promote different and competing world views, limit perceptions? Tully assumes that it does, even that it must. That is why he urges scientists like these chemists to alter their trust in this science to be more ‘open’ to the kinds of faith-based views… different but equally meaningful even if the faith challenge modern chemistry directly. What does Tully mean? Does the chemist who allows for the deceptions of alchemy to be tolerated without criticism  make the world a better place?  Apparently so, according to Tully. But note he fails to provide us with any kind of link that shows science to be culpable of his accusations; instead, he begins his advice based on the assumption that superstitious belief provides us with similar perceptions of musical and poetic interpretations: different but meaningful and enriching to the human condition. Oh really? It is exactly this assumption that is open to question and the one to which Tully and other religious apologists fail to answer. In its place we are given empty accusations that somehow science is to blame for faith’s empty truth claims.

But not to be outdone by a respected colonial, the Mother Country goes one better. The British government has appointed a Faith Council to advise the government! Don’t apply if your religion falls outside of the more popular ones: your truth claims are not worthy of consideration. Why only some religions and not others to offer official advice? Asked to explain the reasons for the creation of this faith-based advisory council, the Minister of Communities, Mr Denham, argued that Christians and Muslims can contribute significant insights on key issues, such as the economy, parenting and tackling climate change.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, he admitted that the Government had failed to listen to these voices in the past, but is now determined to include them in the decision-making process.

“Anyone wanting to build a more progressive society would ignore the powerful role of faith at their peril,” he said.

“We should continually seek ways of encouraging and enhancing the contribution faith communities make on the central issues of our time.

“Faith is a strong and powerful source of honesty, solidarity, generosity – the very values which are essential to politics, to our economy and our society.”

The minister said that the Government needed to be educated by faith groups on “how to inform the rest of society about these issues”. Here.

Lots of assertions here. I wonder if they are true? I know… it’s very intolerant of me to even ask.

I may be out of line, but I’m not sure on what knowledge basis how a group of old men, some celibate, are really a good source for parenting advice.  I’m uncertain how honest are those who permit and enable child abusers to avoid prosecution, nor how generous are those who support laws to keep women from equal legal status. Granted, I’m just another strident, militant, and arrogant atheist for even asking, of course, and immoral to boot because the assertion must be respected that one cannot be moral without faith in some superstitious belief. In fact, all of us should be encouraging more faith, according to this sniveling and pandering politician because… well, just because. Don’t ask, of course. How rude. Don’t question, of course, because like in all faiths we already have all the answers you need to know. Now shut up and respect us faithists. We know best because god has informed our beliefs with the truth. If you have the moral weakness to dare ask for evidence to inform these assertions, just accept them as if they were true, and whatever you do don’t turn to any kind of knowledge based method of inquiry like science to find your answers. That chemistry is just too intolerant to trust.

Let us turn our trust to faith, that fount of knowledge and wisdom how to live a life of purpose and meaning, and pay no attention to the necessity of groups like HAWK, Humanists Against Witch Killing. Witchcraft and the killing of children is an unfortunate by-product of allowing faith claims to go unchallenged but we can’t stand in the way of building a more progressive society, now can we? Faith is essential.

And make no mistake. A better democracy is built on tolerating and respecting faith. British jihadists may say that we don’t do psychology or sociology. We do Allah, and Allah alone, but what they really mean is that the land of Kumbaya can be ours if only those damned strident, arrogant, and militant atheists would stop yammering on about respecting knowledge-based science; instead, let us find a better balance. Let’s keep our faith that, in spite of mountains of evidence to the contrary, faith is good or at least a necessary counter weight to the cold-hearted atheistic materialistic secularized perceptually limiting bitch that science is made out to be… you know, the one that is NOT like the music and poetry of faith. And for god’s sake, don’t ask why.

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