Religion is an activity of understanding reality as it is presented to us. To enable us to make sense of all the things we feel we cannot understand, in each passing moment. The tool available to help us understand why we are here and where we are going. The map to disclose the meaning to our spot in this great wondrous place called reality.
The thing is, though, this map is outdated. It doesn’t provide us with any substantive or useful answers. In a time and place where there wasn’t a toolbox available to support us in getting a grip on the world around us, when you couldn’t make sense of why the tide comes in and goes out, it made sense to cling on to stories of varying sophistication to make sense of the world.
But religion is ultimately a form of virtual reality where we have set up rules and rewards and pretend they are real. If we behave, we get to go to heaven. If we don’t, we go to hell. We pretend we know a lot about how we should live our lives and what governs them. Remember the Snowball in Congress? Climate change is ridiculous because God promised Noah (a 900 year old man sailing the seas with his 600 year old sons) he would not ruin the world again. Now, the man who claims that, Mr Inhoff, can’t prove that’s the case. He just read it in a book and took it as a fact.
Science is a toolbox, a process for us to collectively move forward towards understanding the world and ourselves, as opposed to reading one book virtually void of any substantive knowledge or facts. Science is a toolbox to further our progress: to live healthier and longer; to live wealthier and fuller; and to live with an ever greater understanding of how the cosmos works. The only true source of spiritual experiences.* It is a method to make us better understand the strange place we inhabit and call reality – and how our increased understanding can improve our lives. Our lives. Let that sink in. That is all there is. Your consciousness. Right now. Pretty damn moving shit.
Science doesn’t really claim to provide spiritual or moral understanding. But our consciousness and the cosmos is all we know. There really isn’t anything else. Understanding it fully, is something that will never happen. It is the universe, after all. And who am I to say we aren’t part of some atom, making up a minuscule part of some other living organizm. Or conversely, that an atom is a universe in itself. Wow. Slow down! Mind blowing! That shit I just made up though. A little bit like Jesus or James Inhoff. But many fields which are actually researched and discussed reveal funky, mind blowing things. Some examples: the multiverse theory, the fact that we only know about something like 5% of the matter the universe (the rest is dark matter and we don’t know what it is), whether time is straight, whether things can be at two spots at the same time… Is Elvis really dead? All valid questions.
While growing up, more curriculums teach more about religious leaders and monarchs, when in fact a – surprisingly small – group of people have discovered most of the things that put us on the trajectory to infinite comforts. It wasn’t in the Bible electricity or penicilin was outlined. It isn’t the Quran that describes the fundamentals of physics or biology.
Overall, if you read the Bible or the Qoran you find violent and confused stories loosely held together because most of the have something to do with a strange being called God. In fact, both books begin from the premise that the reader is already convinced God/Allah exists. There is no argument whatsoever made that introduces the divine creator and argues why you should believe in him – this is taken as established, falsely. If you read these books from a more neutral perspective, not presupposing the existence of the divine, do you really get the feeling this is written by and for an almighty being responsible for all and everything?
*This is worth clarifying. This isn’t a reference to some vague experience of sitting and watching the sunset.or watch birds mate. This is about reading and learning about mathematics and the fabrics of the cosmos. It’s a real thriller.