Re: Superstition (A Halloween Message)

Robert Owen (
Mon, 01 Nov 1999 03:54:15 -0500 wrote:

> Is religion the enemy of rationalism and
> science; or merely the enemy of atheism?

My historical view of the matter is that ecclesiastics, being rather indolent as a whole, are not much interested in exerting themselves to attack belief systems per se ("science" and "rationalism" are belief systems among other things) or even atheists who keep a low profile.

Their real enemy, because it threatens their job security, is DISBELIEF. After all, the Church had no problem at all with Copernicus continuing his work -- many clerics thought he was probably right -- but if he published anything he was told to express his views in terms of exploring astronomical matters in the scholastic manner, arrived at as an exercise in pure reason. They were quite candid about their motivation -- a heliocentric theory that was presented as "True" would no doubt "threaten the faith of the innocent".

The current flap over the "origin of man" would not have emerged at all, even among fundamentalist Christians, were it not perceived as a
deliberate attack on their belief system. Who among them have the slightest interest in reading Darwin or Genesis? Their leaders are functioning as agitators -- it's a time-tested way of increasing their hold on their flocks. They have identified the more militant evolutionists as the typical external enemy who induces group cohesion and the importance of submission to leadership.

What I'm emphasizing here is that the Great Debate is not about the "Origin and Descent of the Species" -- it's about power and control. And the struggle is far from unilateral.

Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA