Please note, you can access all the explanatory and inspirational Freedom Essays at the end of this Freedom Essay. Wednesday’s explanatory essays and Friday’s inspirational essays are numbered in order of appearance, so one is odd and the other even numbered.
This is inspirational Freedom Essay 36
Is science’s scorn of religion legitimate?
Written by Jeremy Griffith, 2017
Many scientists scorn religion. But now that we have the scientific explanation of the human condition (see F. Essay 5), we can see how extraordinarily insightful some religious metaphors are.
For example, now that we understand that the human condition — our angry, egocentric and alienated state — was the result of a clash between our emerging consciousness (see F. Essay 23) and our pre-established, loving instincts (see F. Essay 19), we can appreciate just how accurate the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, Moses’ pre-scientific description of the human condition, is.
The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden describes the primary situation involved in our human condition of the psychologically upsetting battle that emerged between our instincts and our conscious intellect’s search for knowledge. It says Adam and Eve/we were ‘created…in the image of God’ (Genesis 1:27), obviously meaning we once lived in a pre-human-condition-afflicted state of original innocence where we were perfectly instinctively orientated to the cooperative, selfless, loving, integrative, ‘Godly’ ideals of life (‘God’ being explained in F. Essay 21 as being the integrative meaning of life); and then Adam and Eve/we took the ‘fruit’ (Gen. 3:3) ‘from the tree of knowledge’ (Gen. 2:9, 17) and were ‘disobedient’ (the term widely used in descriptions of Gen. 3). In other words, we developed a conscious mind and free will, which caused us to come into conflict with those pre-established instincts, or, as the story says, resulted in us being ‘banished…from the Garden of Eden’ (Gen. 3:23) of our original cooperative, loving, innocent instinctive state for having become ‘evil’ (Gen. 3:22).
So, all Moses lacked to fully explain the human condition was the scientific understanding of the difference between genes and nerves, which defends our ‘disobedience’. It finally allows us to understand that even though we became immensely psychologically upset sufferers of anger, egocentricity and alienation for participating in humanity’s search for knowledge, we weren’t ‘evil’; in fact, we are the heroes of the story of life on Earth! However, this redeeming insight, that Moses lacked the scientific knowledge to be able to explain, was to take a further 3,000 years to discover!
It is of some significance that while Moses’ account is perhaps the most widely recognised, virtually all religions contain a metaphor about the rise of consciousness corrupting an innocent state — as the author Richard Heinberg notes in his book Memories & Visions of Paradise (see F. Essay 52):
“Every religion begins with the recognition that human consciousness has been separated from the divine Source, that a former sense of oneness…has been lost…everywhere in religion and myth there is an acknowledgment that we have departed from an original…innocence and can return to it only through the resolution of some profound inner discord…the cause of the Fall is described variously as disobedience, as the eating of a forbidden fruit, and as spiritual amnesia [forgetting/blocking out/alienation].”
So despite the scorn prominent mechanistic scientists have been pouring on religion recently — for example (and you can read more in F. Essay 37), evolutionary biologist, and famous atheist, Richard Dawkins, has said ‘faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness’ (The Selfish Gene, new edition, 1989, p.330 of 352), and ‘Faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus, but harder to eradicate. The whole subject of God is a bore”…those who teach religion to small children are guilty of “child abuse”’ (see ), and the founder of sociobiology, E.O. Wilson, has said ‘What’s dragging us down is religious faith…I would say that for the sake of human progress, the best thing we could possibly do would be to diminish, to the point of eliminating, religious faith’ (see ) — it turns out that the scientific explanation of the human condition, now that it has arrived, is in accord with the religious one. Which should come as no surprise really, because as the Nobel prize-winning physicist Charles H. Townes said,
“They [science and religion] both represent man’s efforts to understand his universe and must ultimately be dealing with the same substance. As we understand more in each realm, the two must grow together…converge they must.” (See )
How right Townes was. Now that we have the scientific explanation of the human condition we can appreciate just how profound religious descriptions of the human condition were.
It should be pointed out that not only ancient thinkers like Moses recognised the true ‘instinct vs intellect’ elements involved in the human condition, but also many contemporary thinkers, whose work you can read about in F. Essay 52.
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Watch Jeremy Griffith’s breakthrough redeeming explanation of the human condition in F. Essay 5, or read . You can also read more about the relationship between science and religion while the journey to find understanding was underway in , specifically paragraphs 326-328.
Discussion or comment on this essay is welcomed — see below.
Please Note, you can access any of the following explanatory and inspirational Freedom Essays by clicking on them. They are also available on our homepage at .
These essays were composed during 2017 by Jeremy Griffith, Damon Isherwood,
Fiona Cullen-Ward & Brony FitzGerald at the Sydney WTM Centre.