Sunday, June 21, 2009

An Exersice in Frustration

Over the last month we've had a lot of family visiting to help with the new baby. It has been really nice to have so much help, and now that we are on our own again we are doing are best to keep up with everything. When the family finally did leave they 'forgot' and left a book behind even though we kept reminding them not to forget it.

Any way I'm trying to be fair and so I've been reading Science Discovers God by Ariel Roth in some of my free time. First off, the book has been very predictable. All the usual subjects: Issac Newton was a brilliant scientist and a christian, living things are very complicated, some bad statistics, a few Albert Einstein quote mines and a really horrible understanding of evolution. Really nothing new. I can't decided if I'm going to feel sorry for the author or angry at him. This is a new book (2008) but he is still beating the 'irreducible complexity' of cellular flagella and the eye into the ground. Now Darwin's Black Box came out in 1995, and maybe some of these things could have been taken seriously at the time. But in the last 15 years the whole idea has been thoroughly debunked. That is in addition to the inexplicably bad explanations of how evolution is supposed to work. So, either Dr. Roth is decidedly ignorant and out of date or he is lying to influence those who don't know any better or would rather ignore what they do know. I'm leaning towards the latter explanation. Dr. Roth earned a Ph.D in Zoology. Even if it was over 50 years ago, I'm sure he had to demonstrate an understanding that surpass my slight self-directed learning. Based on that I'm convinced he is a lying scumbag. I'm also sure he is thoroughly deluded, but I do not think that excuses his deceit. Still nothing surprising here.

What is a little more interesting is the motivation for 'forgetting' the book here in the first place. I think I understand very well why it was left, and I can't blame those responsible for trying to do what they think is right. However, I also know that those that left us the book have not read it. Said it was 'over their heads' etc. So, since they aren't really sure what they are trying to convince me of and aren't interested in discussing, how do they think this is going to lead me where they want me to go?


Herb said...

Jeff, it is not important WHY you believe in Jesus, it is only important THAT you believe in him. If self delusion gets you there, objective reached. If blind faith gets you there, objective reached. If denialism gets you there, objective reached. If fear gets you there, objective reached. If hope gets you there, objective reached. If wilful ignorance gets you there, objective reached. If anger gets you there, objective reached. If happiness gets you there, objective reached. If charity gets you there, objective reached. If sympathy gets you there, objective reached. If guilt gets you there, objective reached. If bullying gets you there, objective reached. Anyway, you get my point. Jesus doesn't care what led you to believe in him to get into heaven, just that you DID believe and ARE in heaven. Your conversion is for your benefit whether you recognize and accept it or not. Those seeking to convert you are only trying to offer Ultimate Help, and the ends clearly justifies the means in such an all-important effort. Jesus needs you for his sunbeam, darn it!

Iron Soul said...

I think I may be too polarized to be a sun beam

Tim said...

On the other hand, polarized light is the most penetrating.

Aaron said...

I was talking to my mom about a book she was reading called something like the "God Addiction." It really means the "religion addiction" but the title is probably more catchy. It is the idea that some people are addicted to religion like some are addicted to alcohol. It comes from the story of a priest who would zealously preach from the pulpit that his parishioners should not do this and that including drink, and then he would go back to his parish and drown himself in alcohol. He eventually crashed into a tree while drunk and was forced, by his superiors, to admit himself into treatment. He found that the addiction to religion for him was remarkably similar to the addiction to alcohol.

While these people are addicted they can commit all kinds of trespasses on and towards other people. It might be that our relatives with all their good intentions are only feeding their own addiction to one degree or another.

That isn't to say that a person can't be spiritual and use a religious environment to enhance their spiritual life. It seems to cause problems when the person thinks they can control their own religious destiny with their religion. In the same way an alcoholic controls his/or her "personal peace" by their intake of alcohol. They can mask any unpleasant feelings by taking in more alcohol. And this becomes a cycle. This will work with religion too.

So if I am a relative of Jeff's who knows that Jeff is on this other journey that makes me have to evaluate my own, that might be a bit painful. It takes some doing to learn something new, or to think differently. If I don't want to deal with that pain (which most of us instincively don't) then I say in my head. "Hmmmm, there has got to be an Adventist book out there that will help Jeff get back into my zone." So I find such a book. But even trying to read and learn about what that book is saying is painful. And I was avoiding the pain in the first place, so I decide, "Well, if it is Adventist it is probably good. I really don't need to read it. So I'll just give it to Jeff to read. Ah, yes. Problem solved and I feel much better."

Tim, you might be able to clarify or edit some of what I am trying to say, and put it in simpler terms.

Iron Soul said...

I pretty much concur with your description. Their view point is not up for analysis, and it is a given that everyone should be of the same view. Therefore, I am the one that is flawed by definition. And like Herb pointed out it doesn't matter how that agreement is reached as long a I come around.

I'm pretty sure some people are addicted to religion. Others are addicted to the status quo. Some like the power and unquestioned authority that it has granted them.

I'm also sure people find peace and hope etc trough religion. That doesn't make it true or logical