Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Fundamentalist Religion and The Rejection of Science in America
Some of us need to fill holes in our science educations. If you have followed the news over the last year or so, you know scientists came out to protest Trump, and there was a whole protest march in defense of science. At the time I didn't think about things too heavily but as I got deeper into my religious deconversion, I realized how I had been infused with "magical thinking" from fundamentalist religion. It is a period of deprogramming myself and re-examining a lot of issues. My desire for certainty in an uncertain world put me in this danger. Now it is okay to say, "I do not know". In an odd way I understand the world of the Trumpkins where science is seen as something bad and "evil". After all I was just inside that world. I know how the preachers and pastors teach people not to trust their own mind, and even how they present "science" as the enemy. It can rock a world, to leave religion. Your whole world can be tilted on it's axis.
When your reality is based on the bible instead of science, it can skew things. It skewed me. Later I would study more of the Bible and be sickened by the narcissism I saw it in with the genocides and other dark features, but I had been trained to believe in the Bible literally and that it had ALL the answers for life's problems. There's things I wrote on this blog, I would change now, I don't think the same way about transgendered people and other things my churches taught me. Even if I remained against war and kept other liberal values, I realized they influenced me in some negative ways as well. I apologize to anyone I offended with some of my over the top religious edicts. There was a "man in the mirror" time when I faced myself down and asked what had religion done to me? Religion can lead people away from compassion. Compassion says 95 percent of people going to hell is insanity. I am glad to be done with that. In fundamentalist Christianity, science IS the enemy. One's world view is not to be tested via the scientific method but via scripture and the bible. This is a trait of all fundamentalist religions. It does not lead to freedom in one's mind but a prison. This is a prison I am happy to be exiting.
I am working out the science gaps now. Outside of medicine and obesity which I studied to remain alive, I had other holes to fill leaving fundamentalist Christianity. Recently I learned about the 6 epochs of extinction in the book "The Ends of the World". This book blew my mind. You mean there were 6 epochs of major life development and dinosaurs were only one latter segment? I found myself exploring Youtube, wanting to see the fossils, this book talked about in video form.
In all my churches even mainstream evangelical ones, I was taught that the world was only 6,000 years old. Some pastors made a nod towards old earth "creationism" but that only expanded the time table a little bit. I used to debate fellow Christians on this saying, "Well it does say in the Bible that a day can be equal to a 1,000 years for God" but this was the reality I was handed. It was an issue I remained mostly "undecided on" but I watched the Kevin Ham videos my friends handed out. Every pastor I had taught that evolution was evil, and a Satanic teaching. By the way this is not just for the fundamentalists but more evangelical circles teach this now too. There are kids now in fundamentalist homes, taught now that evolution is not true or is evil. My Catholic schools mentioned it existed but did a very quick skim over who Darwin was. I never learned about Epochs, or extinctions. I never even learned there was such a thing as the Reformation until public high school.
One crack in my religious faith came via some Christian friends visiting "The Ark".I have a lot of old church friends on my Facebook. Most of them voted for Trump. They have more money to go on so called wholesome vacations. They have remained silent upon my protests but I have not been unfriended. Maybe they are hoping I reform and stop "backsliding". Anyhow, several friends made the far away exodus to Kentucky to go view "The Ark".
Oddly as a fundamentalist Christian, I never took the story of Noah's ark literally. I was surprised to find out these people DID. I even knew enough science to tell my husband, that story could not be literal, even if he loaded the boat with 10 percent of the insect life on planet, the damn thing would have sunk.
"Most authorities agree that there are more insect species that have not been described (named by science) than there are insect species that have been previously named. Conservative estimates suggest that this figure is 2 million, but estimates extend to 30 million."
I didn't expect the place to be like the Smithsonian, but when I saw several pictures of human beings next to dinosaurs like would be cave men drawn like Fred Flintstone and Dino, I almost lost it. They had the statues of Noah and animals in cages for sure, but the dinosaurs in cages through out the place struck me as extremely absurd. Even I remember being taught somewhere in a book, that dinosaurs existed 300 or so million years before humans. The place had the expected statues of Noah with their slate painted portraits and endless cages of regular animals. Those dinosaurs though got on my last nerves. It occurred to me that all my old IFB church members believed this place accurately represented REALITY [well in the past].
I had this following conversation under a picture of a member of one of Noah's family cleaning out a dinosaur cage with two small dinosaurs next to him. My Christian friend had posted a photograph with the same two dinosaur statues above in it:
Christian friend: Before the flood all creatures were vegetarians. Like · Reply · 15 mins
Peep LOL WHY is a dinosaur in there? Like · Reply · 9 mins
Christian friend: Dinosaurs existed before the flood! The climate changes in earth after the flood caused many to go extinct
Peep: That confuses me, I thought they were long gone before then. I do not think man existed on earth the same time as dinosaurs. This is an issue I have not studied though.
Christian friend: It's interesting stuff.
I am kind of playing dumb, to avoid severe conflict. I am not discussing all my new religious thoughts on my Facebook wall. I am offended beyond belief by dinosaurs in the ark cages though. LOL! My intelligence is insulted. At least the conspiracy theorists who told me dinosaurs were MADE UP made a better case then the Noah's Ark people.
I realized I had some major holes in my science education which was very limited and only included some episodes of Cosmos, Star Trek movies, and a few Carl Sagan books which Carl Sagan probably kept me from falling for some of the worse nonsense people are selling. Read his book "The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark". I plan to re-read it. We need the warnings of that book now especially today.
“I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...
The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”
― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
Carl Sagan sounded a true warning. Things have worsened. America has given up on science and the Sputnik days and half the country seems to be going into darkness and superstition. In the conspiracy world, I met people who believed in nonsense like the Mandela Effect. Google that one if you want to have your mind blown, you will think some people have dropped acid or are very confused due to faulty memories. One thing I noticed in fundamentalist Christianity especially in fringe circles and conspiracy ones, was more people believed in "flat earth". Do a search on Flat Earth on Facebook. It's all over the place. The whole concept is linked to a total distrust of anything scientific and related to NASA.
Haven't any of these people had to do an International flight? It's crazy. I never have flown internationally but know many who have, and they fly along a GLOBE. I remember reading the "We never went to the moon" conspiracy theory sites. There I was interested but undecided. I told one guy who claimed he worked for NASA on a deconversion board, these websites all claim rockets don't work in the vacuum of space. This man informed me they put oxidizers on rockets, I looked it up and he was right. Funny how all the conspiracy websites I went to, which claimed that we never made it to the moon, never mentioned that little fact.
Not every religious person or fundamentalist gets into hard core conspiracy theory, but all that bible prophecy they are taught, even the mainstream people in the pews are given a false view of reality. I got too deep into conspiracy stuff for my own good. It was more based in questioning the mainstream and trying to figure out what was really going on. However in general in conservative religious circles, science and rationality is put aside for thinking God will solve all your problems and direct every step. We were told things like to make sure to live for eternity instead of this world which God was going to end. The doom-porn flowed like a river. It affected me. I can't tell you how many times I was told the Last Days were here or going to be very soon. I had converted to be a Christian right after I had almost died of an infection in 2001, I suppose I was vulnerable and ripe for the picking and desperate and with endless traumas piled up, seeking any answers I could get. If you notice one thing about some religious Trump people is they do have a very dystopian view of the world. While I was in the thick of religion, I got that view of the world too. There is a helpless feeling not one of action and progress, of being told God is just going to blow up this planet and divide the saved from the unsaved in the next 20 years. The world is going to end soon.
Even my deliverance ministers told me they were moving to a rural backwoods Southern state with all the resultant social ills to ride out the Tribulation. Maybe it's easy to believe in the apocalypse when your own life has become apocalyptic and fallen apart. They want regression not progression. This is why they can write a tax bill, rewarding billionaires and their followers don't care. At least 1890 feels safer to them all I guess.
Its hard to explain how extreme religion has taken over small town America. One friend of mine always says the line between conservative and liberal is not one of class or race but urban vs. rural. I wonder about that now. I lived in one of the most uber conservative small towns in America. That was my town of 11 years ago. They are even known as a bastion of libertarianism and the alt-right. What can I say but the place had an influence on me? I can't name the place for identity reasons but militia members and people who were preppers living off the land were the norm in the place. Homeschooling was more common then going to public school. I liked the friendliness there but I really lived in a bubble. I escape the trauma of big city living almost getting shot by gang members, and run to the woods--well I lived in an apt in town but you know what I mean, and I see this alternative world and it looked better to me at the time. I never was accepted because I didn't have the preresquite family and money or land. It really was a different place.
Here I still live in a small conservative town but they are wealthier and more educated but some of the same religious stuff leads to the same type of beliefs. One of the biggest now especially in evangelical and fundamentalist circles is that science along with the government and many other institutions are not to be trusted. Surely many of our institutions have grown corrupt. Trump has sold the nation off to the highest bidder but Carl Sagan was right, the desperation and distrust have led to a dumbing down.
I do ask myself why is there such a concentrated effort now to deny science? While other Western nations go more secular and progress this one seems hell bent for more superstition and darkness. It wants to roll things back. It has grown anti-intellectual too. I have my thoughts too wondering if religion is just used as a control mechanism in society, the priests and strong-men got a lot of use out of it. Sadly I believe there is a real concerted effort overall to convince people to not trust their own five senses and ability to reason, so they can then be convinced of anything. It's definitely expanding beyond religion.