Have you ever sat in a class with the hope of listening to a lecturer and a sentence, phrase or even a word the lecturer says triggers a series of imagination in your mind? Well, congratulations, that scenario paints two listening ‘disabilities’ that could either be referred to as mind wrapping or silent mental argument; but that is by the way.
This piece was triggered by the first statement a lecturer said in a General Studies class I was compelled to attend. Yes, the first statement and other scientific jargons I struggled to catch up with in the course titled ‘Science and Mankind’. So, the lecturer walks into the class and asks “Who created the earth?” that was a no-brainer that both Muslims and Christians echoed “God created the earth”. It was one of the few times one would have seen these two religions agree on a fact, or what we thought was a fact.
Immediately, the woman flared up and she goes “I am a religious person too but in this class, you should drop all your religious affiliations and listen to the logical accounts of creation or earth’s origin that science has to teach”. In my head, I was like “Okay that escalated so quickly”.
That was when my first wave of silent arguments began which invariably would mean my first wave of absentmindedness. Two things struck me from what she said when she cautioned us, the first was ‘…drop your religious affiliations’. Is there ever a time that I should stop being Christian or Muslim? No matter the religion one belongs to, I have not heard any homily whatsoever that encourages us to stop being affiliated to our ‘God’ or teachings whatsoever, even for a moment. Maybe, just maybe she was encouraging us to be open-minded on the new knowledge we were about to acquire.
The next that struck me hard was when she said ‘…listen to the LOGICAL accounts of creation or earth’s origin science has to teach”. That statement came as a slap to all religions on earth. So, no religion has a logical creation story? So billions of people were made to believe metaphors and parables? If the creation story—the first story every religion gets to tell its budding believers—is illogical, what else could be logical? Then I sulked up to her initial statements but another voice told me that I was taking things too far, so I drifted back to listening to the lecture.
As my attention drifted to the lecture, I began to hear a continuum of creation narratives ranging from the young earth, the old earth, the flat earth, the geocentrist, the theistic evolution and a whole lot that I could not remember. There were a lot of contrasting schools of thoughts from both the religious fronts and the scientific fronts. The religious accounts fought for dominance over whose account was superior, or whose order of God’s creation was more logical and coherent. At least, the religious sects all agree that God created the earth. On the scientific front, they did not agree on any account, neither did they agree on the age of the earth till date, while the earth keeps getting older.
In my head, I was already questioning the relevance of forcing the bulk of this knowledge down our throats, like what really was the essence? Just as I was beginning to drift in thought again, one student raised his hand and asked the lecturer a question “Madam, what is the relevance of these creation stories?” and she replied “if we do not know where we are coming from, how do we know where we are going to?” Just at that instance, another episode of mind wrapping was triggered. She said knowing our past would help us navigate our future; but we have not agreed on our past, there is so much deliberation on whose account is superior and more logical, we are obviously still dwelling on the past, how do we agree on a future?
Besides, if the earth truly moves along the elliptical orbit as science claims, then we should not have any problem knowing where we are going; since we are literally moving in circles, rotating and revolving around the sun.
Why have the two greatest archenemies of our existence—Religion and Science—fought endlessly for a superior account or narrative? Dan Brown answers that in the Da Vinci’s Code when he says “History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books—books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, ‘What is history, but a fable agreed upon?’ As a Christian, you would always celebrate the victories of the Kingdom of Israel in the Bible, you would love those passages that read “and Israel flourished in milk and honey and they had conquered the kingdoms of blablabla, taking away a lot of spoils and they praised God for the victory over their enemies” but when the fate of the vanquished is brought upon Israel by the Persians or the Philistines, they are seen as the oppressors and the antagonists in the narrative.
You still have not figured out why Science and Religion still struggle for your beliefs? It is simple; whoever has the ‘truth’ has the money! Religion as well as science is fuelled by the resources of the masses, that is why science keeps inventing, and religions keep doing miracles, but what do I know? I may be taking it too far.
I remember the words of Carmelengo Carlo Ventresca, a character in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons he said “Science and religion are not at odds. Science is simply too young to understand” Well, ab initio, we have left wisdom, knowledge and understanding in the camp of the old, but age in this present times rarely proves a point for maturity or knowledge.
If God is truly as merciful, understanding, loving and compassionate as all the religious scriptures paint him to be, then, nothing is wrong for his beloved creature to acquire the knowledge of the Sciences. I really hate it when religious fanatics make it look like the Sciences teach forbidden knowledge; maybe it is because science tries to practically explain every phenomenon, while religion subjects the unexplainable to the divine. You know there is no place for critical criticisms in religions; if you dare question anything the reply you would get is “it has been that way for ages even before you were born”. Well, people are becoming more enlightened and would not be subject to societal constructs that they cannot question that is why religions should be a little less conservative and more practical.
Maybe there would be a day that science and religion would reach a middle ground and truly workout protocols for the interest of mankind…..until then, thanks a lot for wandering into my stray thoughts.