Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Snopes For Religion

I've made a habit, among my friends online, to research those silly and sometimes frightening warnings that get passed around on the web. You know the ones ... "Don't join a particular Facebook group because it's run by pedophiles" or "Dial 112 when getting pulled over by the police" or "Eating this rare herb guarantees permanent weight loss." Many of these urban myths and hoax messages have been perpetuated online for years, first by email, and now through social media.

Snopes.com has done a terrific job of either verifying or debunking these messages ... and sometimes it's a mixture of truth and untruth. Sure, it's possible that the unmarked car pulling you over is impersonating a police officer, but it's rare, and you should always dial 911 for an emergency in the US. It's amazing the lengths that Snopes goes through to verify a story - even going back to hard copy newspaper articles. They are thorough, and they stick to the facts.

It occurs to me that religion could use the same medicine. If Snopes had been around eons ago, maybe - just maybe - these superstitious anomalies would have been thwarted. All of the myth, legend, superstition and hearsay might have been stopped in its tracks. Today we have science which discounts every fable in the holy texts of the world. Today we have Reason, logic and methods previously unknown in humankind.

Today's science is yesterday's mystery. Mankind has outgrown the need for religion, but unfortunately it is so ingrained upon our consciousness that many have a complete inability to escape from its grip. Science is utterly open for contest, proof and update; where most religion is steadfast in its resolute adherence to the "unerring"  past. It is almost shocking to consider how far man has advanced in spite of the various religions of the world.

The great mystery for me is why man has not completely abandoned world religions to the dustbin of time?How, in the presence of science, medicine and advancement of society, have we not created a world for ourselves that is vastly superior to the one in which we live? Religion? War? Our mere consciousness, I believe, dictates that we grow up and leave these barbaric behaviors behind us, to amaze our ancestors with the same incredulity that we give the Maya sacrifices.

We are better then this.


Bill McCracken said...

I suspect that much of the persistence of religion has to do with the promise of rewards (either here or in the hereafter), plus that it is so ingrained into our culture. For instance, we know that the sun doesn't rise or set, that the earth rotates. But we still hold to the language and symbols of the past due to familiarity.

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