Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Unspeakable Vileness of Professor Myers

I found this blog entry, Pharyngula: The unspeakable vileness of religious law, to be rather stupid, excuse my bluntness.

Following are the blogger's words and I have taken the liberty of omitting the quotes from the article he links, I trust my readers can follow the link for the background themselves:

"Am I supposed to believe religion is a force for morality, when I see so many examples of it more being a force for mindless obedience to arbitrary rules? This story out of Pakistan is disturbing in many ways.

Executed for not having a piece of cloth on top of her head; what god looks down on our world from his cosmic perspective and thinks that is an important concern for humanity? Allah, apparently; I can find commandments in the Bible that make similar demands.

I'm sure religion's defenders will shout long and loud that this guy Sarwar is simply an isolated lunatic, and that if he'd been an atheist he would still have been a monster. True enough; one asshole might be an exception, and godlessness is no guarantee of goodness, but a series of incidents is a pattern, and we have to look at who is inciting it.

Face it, everyone. Religion is not a source of moral behavior. It's a source of tribalism and obedience to authority, which sometimes coincides with respectable morality, but isn't necessarily associated with it. We have to find our virtue in one true thing, our common humanity, and these ancient superstitions actually interfere with instruction in how to be good by encrusting it with nonsense."

The first thing the Professor opines about is religion, as he views it, as more of "a force for mindless obedience to arbitrary rules" than "a force for morality." Well, religion, organized religion, is not "a force for mindless obedience to arbitrary rules," organized religions, all of them, have clear doctrine. Some religions' doctrines can become breeding grounds for arbitrary actions, however the majority of organized religions are not and leave no room for arbitrary action in the form it was taken by this Islamic extremist, and organized religion, in the case of Christianity, directs the individual toward acts of good, acts which benefit not only the believer and not only the believer's friends but also the believer's enemies. Luke 6:27-38 tells Christ's followers:

27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners' do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 37"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:27 - 38

If PZ Myers wants to compare apples to oranges then he has been successful but it would be no more ridiculous for me to write about biology as though I have a clue than it is for this Professor to write about religion, something which, as much as he would like to pretend to have some knowledge about, he simply does not. To state that all religions are "a force for mindless obedience to arbitrary rules" rather than forces "for morality," is simply ignorant.

Next, our Professor of biology tries to make a comparison between an Islamic extremist's isolated act of executing a woman for not covering her head by comparing it to scripture in the Bible, when he states:

"I can find commandments in the Bible that make similar demands."

Interestingly, the Professor does not clearly distinguish whether he is alluding to "commandments" about women's apparel or "commandments" which call for the execution of women who do not cover their heads. Certainly there is scripture which directs women as to what is appropriate attire and certainly many Christian women have changed their attire with the times. I have heard of no cases of Christian men executing women for not dressing according to the Bible and would challenge the Professor to note them if he is going to make such an extreme comparison. Apparently, Muslims are not the only ones who can be found to take extreme positions, tsk. It seems certain Professors of biology can get a wee bit extreme in their positions, as well.

Professor continues that "religion's defenders will shout long and loud that this guy Sarwar is simply an isolated lunatic." Duh, ya think? This was an isolated incident, but most incidents such as this isolated incident are found among the politicized religion of Islam and perpetrated by its followers. Not to simply defend Christians, though I am one, I would challenge the Professor to find the many isolated incidents he alludes to as being a "series of incidents (constituting) a pattern" among the Jewish population, among the Buddhist religious faithful or any other religion. Professor Myers attempts to condemn all religions as equal, as all lunacy, as all "a force for mindless obedience to arbitrary rules," based on a single incident in Pakistan and, frankly, he does a very poor and lazy job of backing up such a claim, utilizing one isolated incident perpetrated by an Islamic extremist. Geesh!

The last vestige of tolerance does not quite reach to be inclusive of religion or the many religious faithful across the globe. We find in the comments made to the Professor's entry, the intolerance of "the tolerant." You see, this is where their hypocrisy lies. I must speak from the viewpoint of a Christian in this case because I am a Christian.

People are given a choice to either believe in Christ or deny him. Christians offer to force their faith on no one. Christians even recognize that they, themselves, cannot draw one to an acceptance of Christ as Savior but that each individual who chooses to accept Christ will be drawn to Him, not by man but by God, Himself. Those who do not believe are tolerated by Christians, perhaps grieved over, but tolerated. We do not try to force our faith on others by the sword, that is simply not what our God calls on us to do. That is not true of some segments of the Islamic religion. They are as different from Christians as, to be trite, daylight and darkness.

Choose Christ or deny Christ, I'll respect your viewpoint. Call my religion "nonsense," I'll tolerant your right to think so and champion your freedom of speech to insult me, what I will not do is pull out a gun and shoot you in the face while your collegues are showering you with rose petals, and Professor, there can be no verses found in the Bible which can be interpreted as though telling a follower of Christ to do so.

"No sciences are better attested than the religion of the Bible" ~ Sir Isaac Newton

Stick to biology, Professor


Larry Litle said...

Nicely stated.

Jacke M. said...

Tank yew verrah mutch. :)