Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"God" My Nickmame for Ignorance

People are ignorant; we can't help it.  It's not a derogatory term, if used properly; it just acknowledges gaps in our understanding.  There just isn't enough time, desire, or mental capacity to research, comprehend, and remember everything.
Those who are intellectually honest will admit to their ignorance and to varying degrees will prioritize it and try to eliminate it.  Those items that will have a more immediate impact on their lives or are simply of more interest will get moved to the front of the line.  Other topics, deservedly or not, will never be broached again.  For me that would be anything related to NASCAR, the history of Rap, or Lithuanian folk dancing; I am simply not interested.
I don't give my ignorance any special name and try to disguise it or pretend that it doesn't really exist.  If I don't know the answer to your question, I will tell you so.  I am not afraid or embarrassed to admit that I don't know something - a lot of things.
Unfortunately, others do not do the same, in particular, the fundamentalist branch of Christianity (and probably any other religion).  Members of this group often relabel their ignorance and call it "God".  Don't understand how the universe formed? God did it.  Don't understand how evolution works? That's fine, God created everything.  Rather than simply being honest and saying "I don't know" or "I don't understand", they label their ignorance "God" and count this name game as a valid answer to the question.  
Even worse, they expect us to accept it as "the" definitive answer.  Once you have accepted this answer, no amount of evidence can change it.  The evidence must be wrong, corrupted, or misinterpreted because they already have the only answer they will ever need to any question.  Intellectual blindness and dishonesty at its best.
Accepting this non-answer of "God" is dangerous.  It inhibits your ability to evaluate evidence and come to valid conclusions.  Actions taken on misinformation or in despite of information can lead to all sorts of dangers.  How many children die each year because of their parents religious beliefs about medical treatment?  How many people die of AIDS because of lies spread about condoms?  How many unwanted teenage pregnancies occur because of "truths" of what God wants? How many GLBT individuals are bullied and discriminated against because of the answer "God"?  
The so-called Good Book is never questioned or examined against the evidence to see where the ignorance really lies because God is the only "answer" that is needed.  If the evidence contradicts belief, then the evidence always loses.  Fact always fails to move faith; at least for a certain fundamentalist mindset.
I am not asking you to give up your faith cold-turkey, but only to stop labeling your ignorance with an all encompassing non-answer of "God did it" and to apply reason and logic to the evidence.  If God actually exists, he should be able to withstand the scrutiny as well as the exposure of the true mechanisms at work in the universe.  As the one that you claim endowed us with the enquiring minds that we have, he would probably be quite upset that you didn't use yours to its fullest.

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