“Morals, molecules, and myth” (Religion)

TIKTAALIK
THIS IS MY COLUMN THAT RAN IN THE MOLINE DISPATCH

In the April 9 column, “What colleges teach young believers,” it was written that persons deserve to hear all sides. This is true. A person should never be afraid to have his or her beliefs challenged. If the beliefs are true, they’ll survive the challenge. If the beliefs are wrong, the person will be enlightened.

In that spirit, I offer a different viewpoint. In the column, it was written that if a person believes there is no god, then anything goes. Yet nonbelievers make up 19 percent of the country, but are just .02 percent of the prisoners. One need not be religious to be moral. I commit all the assault, robbery, and pillaging I want, which is none. I don’t need a book to tell me those things are wrong.

Those are my morals; now let’s look at the Bible’s. We have, on God’s instruction, a man being stoned to death for picking up sticks. We have, at God’s prompting, bears tearing apart 42 children for teasing a bald man. A woman marrying her rapist is mandated in Deuteronomy 22:28-29.

The greatest irony was the columnist criticizing the indoctrination of children because, without this, religion would collapse. Thailand is overwhelmingly Buddhist, Qatar is overwhelmingly Muslim, India is overwhelmingly Hindu, and the rural South is overwhelming Christian. This is because a strong majority believes what they’ve been told to since pre-school. You’ve got to get them when they’re young because if you wait until adulthood, they will likely reject a talking donkey and a 969-year-old man.

The columnist offered God as an alternative to evolution, yet her best evidence was citing the Bible as its own confirmation. Science, meanwhile, has Lucy, Archaeopteryx, and Tiktaalik.

Such evidence shows that Genesis is not a first-person account of creation. It is a myth written by Bronze Age Middle East nomads. It teaches that the universe is 6,000 years old, which we know is false because we can see light from stars millions of light years away. It teaches that humans came along within a week of Earth being formed. Yet the geologic column shows that man came along much later than less-developed animals. It teaches that the moon has its own light, an idea inconsistent with astrophysics.

When Nebraska Man was shown to be an error and Piltdown Man proven a hoax, science admitted the mistakes and changed its thinking accordingly. By contrast, religion holds onto its teachings in spite of the evidence, as cited in the previous paragraph.

Besides science, the Bible is also in conflict with itself. Has a man ever seen God, as Moses did in the Torah (Exodus 33:23), or has man never seen God, as declared in a New Testament gospel (John 1:18)? Was Joseph’s father Jacob (Matthew 1:16) or Heli (Luke 3:23)? Does a Christian man follow God’s command that males have long hair (Numbers 6:5), or obey his dictate that it be short (I Corinthians 11:14)?

Persons in some ancient cultures believed the wind was a god’s breath. This and similar explanations helped them try to make sense of the world. As science advanced, we needed deities less and less to explain our universe. That search for truth continues today, as does the denying of that truth. Science essentially says, “I don’t know, let’s find out.” Religion essentially says, “I don’t know, therefore God did it.”

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