Archive for March, 2007

Goodbye religion

Posted: 24 March, 2007 in Literature


Anita Patterson/

The following is an article I found in the April edition of Popular Mechanics called “Goodbye Religion”


I’m so optimistic that I expect to live to see the evaporation of the powerful mystique of religion. I think that in about twenty-five years almost all religions will have evolved into into very different phenomena, so much so that in most quarters, religion will no longer command the awe it does today. Of course many people – perhaps the majority of the people in the world – will still cling to their religion with the sort of passion that can fuel violence and other intolerant and reprehensible behaviour. But the rest of the world will see this behaviour for what it is, and learn to work around it until it subsides, as it surely will. Thats the good news. The bad news is that we will need every morsel of this reasonable attitude to deal with such complex global problems as climate change, fresh water, and economic inequality in an effective way. It will be touch and go, and in my pessimistic moods I think Sin Martin Rees may be right: some disaffected religious group may unleash a biological or nuclear catastrophe that forecloses all our good efforts. But I do think that we have the resources and the knowledge to forestall such calamities if we are vigilant. Those who are secular can encourage their own children to drink from the well of knowledge wherever it leads them, confident that only a small percentage will rebel against upbringing and turn to one religion or another. Cults will rise and fall, as they do today and have done for millennia, but only those that can metamorphose into socially benign organizations will be able to flourish. Many religions have already made the transition, quietly de-emphasising the irrational elements in their heritages, abandoning the xenophobic and sexist prohibitions of their quite recent past and turning their attention from doctrinal purity to moral effectiveness.” Daniel C Dennett – author of “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon”

Well, in the words of St Anne’s Pub – we all know that “thats a steaming pile….” :)But why? This is the thinking of many people living today. They think that with the advent of modern science, religion will not last long. Whilst I think that a lot of this article was directed at fundamentalist Muslims, there was also quite a bit directed at Christians especially when one considers the audience to which this was written. Jesus warns us about attacks such as this in Luke 21 verse 12 where he says: “But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake.” But he also says: “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” 1 Corinthians 1:20


The writer of the article says: “Those who are secular can encourage their own children to drink from the well of knowledge wherever it leads them, confident that only a small percentage will rebel against their secular upbringing…” Here he implies that if you encourage your children to love knowledge, they will see through religion and embrace a “rational” worldview. He is unfortunately hopelessly wrong – “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Pro 9:10

We are called to be different, not to, “metamorphose into socially benign organizations” – we are to be the light of the world, light which exposes darkness. Think of the glory of God which made Moses’ clothes shine for days after he saw the back of God – we are to reflect that light!

Lets tackle the world head-on and show people like Mr Dennett that the Creator can, and does change lives!