August 16, 2006

No Thinking Allowed

Ever have one of those days where you look at the news and feel like you are being bombarded by example after example of religiously-motivated stupidity? I'm having one of those days.

The Middle East is receiving great attention because of the violence and the important role of religion in this violence. However, we cannot restrict our focus on the harmful effects of religion only to the most extreme examples of violence. To do so would be misleading and would allow people to continue believing that their everyday religion causes no problems.

I just opened my RSS aggregator, and within 5 minutes, I was confronted with Christian extremists seeking to hide evidence of evolution, ignore medical evidence for the efficacy of emergency contraception, discriminate against non-Christians, ignore the U.S. Constitution on church-state matters, and the list could go on and on.

Sometimes it is difficult to imagine that this isn't simply a bad dream. I live in a country where an overwhelming majority of the people believe in the existence of something for which there is not a trace of evidence. In fact, those of us who employ reason and critical thinking in order to evaluate and select our beliefs are the most hated minority group! I live in a country where 1 in 3 people reject evolution. Never mind the scientific evidence. I live in a country where the President's policies are driven by a particularly scary brand of Christian extremism. He has been open about this all along and yet is allowed to remain in office.

As hard as it is, I know I have to remain optimistic that reason will triumph over faith. I know I must recognize that this will not happen by itself and that I must accept responsibility to help bring about this shift.

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