Sunday, October 02, 2005

Religion vs.God

Last night I read an LA Time article The Dark Side of Faith looked at a correlation between how the populartiy of religion and the incidence of homicide, STDs, teen sex, and chld mortality.
He found that the most religious democracies exhibited substantially higher degrees of social dysfunction than societies with larger percentages of atheists and agnostics. Of the nations studied, the U.S. — which has by far the largest percentage of people who take the Bible literally and express absolute belief in God (and the lowest percentage of atheists and agnostics) — also has by far the highest levels of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

This morning I read an article in the NY Times
Middle-Class Family Life in Iraq Withers Amid the Chaos of War. This could almost be a case study of the religious-inspired violence described in the first article, except that the violence in question is of a more public variety.

I might have titled the first article "The Dark Side of Religion" instead of "The Dark Side of Faith". I think of faith as quiet and private, and religion and a public "me, too" or "us against them" sort of thing.

The third thing I'm contemplating today is the Intelligent Design debate. Frankly, I don't get it. How does it help God to bend logic in a high school science class? This sort of stuff is only neccesary if you think of God as sort of a mechanic, operating under the rules that humans (of the 19th century) can perceive; God running around cutting off one lineage, promoting another, through floods and famines, like a kid playing sandbox.

When I worked in Waikiki, the was a guy who walked the street everyday wearing a cape and a leopard-skin jockstrap, reading from a Bible at the top of his voice while passersby ignored him. I often wondered why he was taking those beautiful words and making them so ugly. God needs this? I wonder now about those Intelligent Design proponents. If God made the world, didn't he make the mathematics and time that make evolution work? My God is big, as big as I can think about and then bigger still.

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