Nature is amazing. The stars. Animal life. Microscopic life. Forests. Oceans.
Science has done astonishing things with its ability to deconstruct nature, explain it to laymen (sometimes in terms we mostly understand).
Science is useful when its analyses lead to good medicine and a more thoughtful approach to the use of natural resources.
But science is forever USELESS when it comes to the things that we yearn to know. Most of what truly matters to people in life remains entirely outside the domain of its relevance: love, friendship, the “high” we experience in an encounter with literature or film or music or any kind of art that moves us, the transcendent sense of awe we feel before nature, the search for purpose.
Such pursuits are not the job of science, never have been. When we try to make science a God, we have made a horrifying error bound to result in things like sterilizing races we deem as inferior or using unwitting people in tests without any thought to the morality of doing so.
Yes, the USE of science can accomplish great moral good too. Feed more people. Teach us how to live sustainably. But scientific principles, when applied, are only as “good” as the souls of the people behind their application.
The same is true of religion. Its application is only as good as the hearts of its leaders and adherents. Religion can spread brotherly love or divisive rhetoric. It can elevate us or turn us into groveling idiots.
People can be beautiful and noble. Sadly, they can also be really fucking dangerous. Power in the hands of people is the most dangerous thing of all. In the guise of religion or atheistic totalitarianism or socialism or communism or democracy … humans having power over other humans is the great bugaboo of all suffering and tragedy.
And this boils down to intent. Do those in power want to minister to the people or manipulate them? Do they want to serve them or make them subservient?
These are moral questions, not scientific ones.
So, thank you science … for heart transplants and AIDS treatments and flat screen TVs.
Thank you religion … for prayer that brings connection to the sacred, for the dissemination of ideas that lead us to give to others, to love mercy and to seek justice and peace.
Just watch your hearts, atheists and theists and agnostics. This is where all future hope will come from. This is where our doom will come from.
Consider well what manner of thought and belief you deposit and nurture therein.
(This post inspired by another blog post: https://writerswithoutmoney.com/2015/08/04/the-surgeon-on-the-mount-or-science-the-theology-after-god/comment-page-1/)