When lack of preferential treatment becomes rejection of all
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:24 AM [+]
In other words: When "separation of Church and State" or "separation of religion and science" become, quite simply, default atheism.
At least the Soviets were forthright about it.
Really, this is just a small indicator story. And it is rather ironic that our money mentions God and that our congress prays before opening their sessions...though I suspect these are well on their way to being eradicated.
I've long noted here my concerns about our society growing more and more in the direction of default atheism and I do believe to a large degree that we have ceded too much ground on this issue. Frustrated by all the lawsuits I think our schools and our public institutions have essentially embraced atheism, without actually saying so. It's just the path of least resistance because to a large degree we have not really recognized atheism as a religion yet...as I said, it is the default position. Yes, the starting place from which we begin: everything must be understood and explained as if God did not exist. Some have tried and tell me that it's more like default agnosticism, but I disagree. We are not allowed to even talk about religion and that's essentially atheism.
Consider science education today. We live in a world that is ridden with science, it is absolutely everywhere and indeed we have become a people who demand reasoned arguments, evidence, data, studies, thoughts from people with lots of letters behind their names, scientific consensus etc in just about everything we might consider in life. Of course, as one who generally employs such methodology as a means of employment, I recognize the virtues here. But I've also recognized the shortcomings as well.
Unfortunately (perhaps), we've all too often applied the same methodology for determining the nature of reality to "higher" things: like love, like joy, like honor, like altruism, like prayer, like God Himself. Most everyday we can find a media covered version of a study that shows - based primarily of genocentric understandings of human evolution - why we "feel" love or or why we sense "joy" or why we sense "awe" or why live-in couples share workloads better than married ones.
On what basis can we tell science that there is a boundary they ought not to cross? We have certainly obeyed the boundary fence they have put up, right? We do not dare to bring God into discussions of evolution, diseases, origins, physics, or chemistry. Notions of Intelligent Design are really nothing but religion disguised as science (so we are told) and so we obediently agree, walk away, and admit that God is something beyond science, something personal and that while we believe he is ultimately responsible God just didn't really leave much evidence of this for us. More and more in executing such retreats we surrender our kids to be taught that they are essentially their genes...little machines to assist the replicators (DNA)in their eons long fight for survival of the fittest...one big part of the mammalian family, really not all that different than Chimpanzees. These ideas have pretty profound implications whether we admit it or not and kids are not stupid so that even if they are not taught so overtly I believe they'll recognize them. I worry they have already to a large degree and are really having a hard time processing the logic of the one with the fuzzy logic of politically correct diversity training and "can't we all get along?" Well, is it survival of the fittest or not? If not, why not? Can we step up at that point? Maybe.
But, on what basis could we argue that such implications need not be made if we have utterly ceded the playing field to begin with? What boundary can science NOT cross...and more importantly WHY not? What can science NOT tell us about ourselves? And we have to keep in mind that just because we believe there is indeed such a boundary we had better be damned prepared to say where it is and why it is there because very likely science is already jumped it, having failed to understand how we can object to their noble quest of dissecting reality.
We have to also keep in mind we live in an age that for the most part sees the scientific method as THE means of perceiving reality. What are we to say about humankind then? That we are MORE than what can be discerned by rational and objective inquiry? Can you hear the laughing already? I can and I have and I understand it. If the Vesperal prayer is right and we ARE a "rational flock" then MUST we use seemingly irrational arguments to express our notion of "reality"?
Perhaps we HOPE our kids we be taught some sense of human dignity in Literature class? Perhaps we will rely on the Church or our own powerful means of influence we have on the intellectual processes of our teenagers? I would suggest we face as lofty a wall to scale in teaching our kids to wait until marriage in today's sexed crazed culture as we do teaching our kids that humans are made in the Image and Likeness of God in today's Genetic crazed neo-Darwinism crazed culture. Whether you accept the theory of evolution as popularly presented today wholesale or whether you have some toned down notions of it or whether you are a young earth creationist, you are going to have to address this issue. In our society where default atheism, there is no "maker of heaven and earth...of all things seen and unseen."
Ideas have meaning and we ought to be concerned with the ideas that are readily being extrapolated from science today. Our public policy is already bent toward encouraging them.
And let me put forth one more thought: is it any wonder that gnosticism has grown so much in popularity today - even without its adherents knowing it? By this I mean the sense of separation between the physical and the spiritual world: the flesh (all that which can be understood by science) is forever separated from the spirit (all that which can be understood by religion). Is the prevailing sense of this separation (church and state, science and religion) perhaps a root cause for its new spilling over into Christianity? Have we given up the material world as being God's? I wonder, seriously. Must we resort to post-modern revisionist and relativistic notions of truth and reality to discern that we are indeed more than our genes? I personally do not believe so.
If matter matters to God, as we know it does (e.g. you and me and the Incarnation) then should we really be respecting science's anti-religious boundary as strictly as they insist?