Saturday, June 30, 2007

Case against religion

There are several major religions, and different kinds of charges can be brought against each of them. So, maybe I should have put my title in the plural: Cases against religions. But I prefer to generalize by affirming that something is basically wrong with religion, globally.

No intelligent person would designate the destruction of the Twin Towers as a religious act. On the other hand, an upsurge in anti-religious expression of all kinds has been taking place throughout the Western World since 9/11 and the subsequent God-driven decision of George W Bush and his Anglo-Saxon allies to wreak havoc upon Iraq. I first evoked this anti-religious sentiment in my message of 9 December 2006 entitled God bashing [display].

Concerning Christianity, it often seems to be coming apart at the seams. Many will say, of course, that Christianity has been like that for centuries, and it's still surviving. However I don't go along with the argument that, since a building is still standing, it will stand forever. Behind all the superficialities of the papacy, the Catholic church appears to me today as an empty chrysalis, and the butterfly is likely to soon disappear forever. In my blog, I've alluded to fascinating findings such as the Nag Hammadi Scriptures and the tomb at Talpiot, which often appear like Joshua blowing his horn alongside the walls of Jericho. How long will it be before the walls of Christianity fall down? I don't know. I'm not a prophet. But I'm convinced that the phenomenon we call Christianity today has been reduced to a largely ceremonial thing, which exerts little or no effect upon the course of worldly events... except in notorious cases such as that of the current US president. And, in talking like that, I feel that I'm throwing my weight against a door that is already open.

Often, throughout my life, I've felt that the fabulous stories and lessons of the Old Testament retain all their ancient nobility, and that this dimension of Judeo-Christian reality remains, as it were, intact.

Today, alas, we know that this is no longer the case. The extraordinary research and scholarship of Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, brilliantly exposed recently in both a book and a DVD set entitled The Bible Unearthed, shatter every illusion we might have retained in this domain. In a nutshell, all the stories of the Torah and the Prophets are neither more nor less than that: enthralling but perfectly fabricated stories. For years to come, Israelis and Palestinians will still be capable of killing one another in their respective determination to administer the tombs of the alleged patriarchs, in the cave of Machpelah at Hebron. But we know now that there were no patriarchs. Neither an Abraham, nor an Isaac nor a Jacob. They were literary constructions: personages invented by scribes in Jerusalem writing in the 7th century BCE [before the start of the so-called Common Era: that's to say, the year zero, which Christians used to associate approximately with the birth of Jesus].

It goes without saying that you don't need to become familiar with archaeological findings in the Holy Land [I remain fond of that expression] or the land of the Pharaohs [and that one, too] to form an opinion concerning the case against religion. As Richard Dawkins makes it perfectly clear, not only in The God Delusion but in his celebrated books about genes and evolution, science has truly advanced to a point at which there is simply no longer any tiny place whatsoever for any kind of divinity. This is a conclusion that imposes itself naturally upon any serious inquirer equipped with a minimum of scientific culture. Indeed, this atheistic awareness has become an essential cornerstone of contemporary culture in general. So, the case against religion might be summed up, not surprisingly, in a single word: Science.

1 comment:

  1. I don't get it. "No intelligent person would designate the destruction of the Twin Towers as a religious act."
    Then what is a religious act?