5. That was then this is now, we have changed, we are better.
First let it be pointed out there is no one that speaks for religion! This is very important as many talk about how religion is going to be different but there is absolutely no single voice of the church. In fact the church, as well as all other religions, have been divided many times over through conflict because there is no single unifying voice. This spirit of divisiveness and intolerance is the heart and soul of religion. Religionists' view their world as divided between sinners and saints and what constitute a sinner is different from group to group and from year to year. This makes religions a very unstable and unpredictable. Therefore when I hear the justification being made that religion has changed and we are getting better and better I think, "you may have changed and you may be getting better and better but not so for your religion."
In addition, the bible still contains those same verses that advocate the practice of slavery, the subornation of women, and advocates death for homosexuality and adultery. The argument that slavery is "Sanctioned in the Old Testament and permitted in the New Testament," still stand true. Those verses that damn homosexuality, teaches that a woman is saved through bearing children, that she is to remain silent and to always be under the authority to a man for she is second in creation and first to sin, never cut her hair, never speak in a church service, those verses are still in the bible. In Egypt I read of a religion crucifying those of another branch of the same religion. There is very little change. The denomination I am apart of has a lobbying office in Washington D.C. whose purpose is to subvert government to their liking. It is my opinion the greatest work I can do, as a minister, is to be a minster. Not take over governments, persecute homosexuals and women, not become wealthy off the poor, not rage against science and scientists. In fact, when I left my church my greatest concern is for a elderly woman in a nursing home I visit every week. I know you would feel the same.
Arguments for exclusion:
1. Earth bound religions have a long history of being anti-science and anti- scientists.
Without question, in another time and place many reading this paper would suffer the most horrible deaths, torture and then the fiery stake. Your property would be seized, your children taken from your homes to be raised in damnable institutions to serve the church. Women would be executed as witches if they had any inkling of strength of independence. In some countries, they still execute the apostates, adulterers, pagans, homosexuals, non-submissive women, and any of those who blaspheme. Few reading this paper would have been left untouched by the foul hand of religion. I have been warned not to blaspheme a certain religion and if I do I will suffer the penalty of death; such is the beauty of religion.
anti science because it is science that has torn the mantle off the shoulders
off religious leaders and revealed them as frauds. Evolution, deep time, the
vast time/distance of the universe, geological record, the universal deluge,
the Ark, Adam and Eve, the fact the earth is not the center of the universe and
that man is not the height of creation"it is science that has disabused us of
our treasures and because of this there is no greater enemy. How dare you tell
us the earth is older than six thousand years old then dare to prove it! Worst
of all, it is science that has revealed our holy books"are flawed, there are
errors, more than can be counted"and for that science will not be forgiven.
It is because of science that we have developed a field called "Apologetics." A bulwark against science. We call it a "defense of the Christian religion" but it is in fact a defense against science. Should we not be suspect of any system of thought that has a field called apologetics? Science already has that which is superior to apologetics and it is called "peer review," and all statements of fact must be "subject to falsification." Among the practitioners of religion nothing is subject to falsification. In other words we can claim anything to be true without a shred of evidence and these claims are outside the test of falsification. Religion suffers greatly from this madness.
Scientists are naÃ¯ve to think religion even discusses evolution or the age of the earth. The reverse is true! We would never discuss evolution were it not put on the table by the claims of science. Many years ago I preached in a mining town far in the desert of Nevada. I was asked to address the young people of the town. They had two questions: have I ever seen the Golden Gate Bridge and where do dinosaurs come from? I could only answer one of those questions. I held seven years of theological training and I had no answer as to where dinosaurs came from. Many evangelical believe the dinosaurs were preserved in the Ark with all the other animals. Because this seems absurd we never discuss these issues at all and never would were it not for science. In fact, we remove our children from schools where science might be taught, and we build our own creation museums to protect against the attack of science against religion. The Creation Museum in Petersburg Kentucky is an assault of science. On their website they state: "The state of the art 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in their familiar settings. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden's rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil."