Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The rock and the roll and the fight for your soul goes on and on

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of “Expelled” at Sisters Movie House. Nothing stirs up the cultural debate like the battle over teaching “Intelligent Design” or “Evolution” or Creationism” in schools.
It’s not truly a scientific debate. Wait now... I’m not arguing whether or not it’s a settled scientific question. I’m saying that science is merely the weapon here. The battle is over the soul of the culture. That’s why the battle is so savage, why passions are so quickly and intensely aroused.
The Christian faithful feel threatened by a militant science that questions — or rejects — a role for God in nature. Secularists fear that any scientific admission of the possibility of a Creator treads out onto the slippery slope that leads to the imposition of particular religious beliefs upon students.
People’s sense of identity and meaning are wrapped up in this debate. It strikes at the core of many people’s being and invokes Fear, the mother of Anger.
We continue discover more and more about the intricate and wondrous workings of the universe through astronomy, DNA, neuroscience. And none of those who stand on opposite sides of the cultural chasm will find much comfort in what is discovered.
David Brooks, a conservative columnist, tackled this subject in a recent column, which you can find on page 2 of the May 14 issue of The Nugget.
Brooks argues that hard-core materialists are undermined by more complete understanding of the science of the mind:
“The brain seems less like a cold machine. It does not operate like a computer. Instead, meaning, belief and consciousness seem to emerge mysteriously from idiosyncratic networks of neural firings... Scientists have more respect for elevated spiritual states. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania has shown that transcendent experiences can actually be identified and measured in the brain. The mind seems to have the ability to transcend itself and merge with a larger presence that feels more real.”
On the other hand, orthodox believers are going to be challenged by “people (scientists) who feel the existence of the sacred, but who think that particular religions are just cultural artifacts built on top of universal human traits.”
It is going to become harder to defend particular theologies that claim a monopoly on Truth, even as it becomes more difficult to deny the sacred that underpins the legitimacy of any theology.
It’s a great time to be alive, a great time to be a seeker.
Jim Cornelius, Editor

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