This post by Carol Bell originally appeared at MadMikesAmerica.
My Grandfather was a Cherokee Medicine Man, a very outspoken cuss, and one who never minced words. He served in WW2 and Korea with the U.S. Army where he retired as a Sgt. Maj. So, when he spoke, I would listen. He told me one day as we were fishing; “Religion is a scam and Jesus was a gifted Con Man”.
That statement stuck with me throughout my life.
The points he made went like this: After primitive man conquered fire (he was quick to note man never discovered fire, he learned to harness it), he would sit around the campfire and discuss the days events. My grandfather would tell me how many Indian Nations still do this as they pass down stories and legends.
Primitive Man, when sitting around the campfire, more than likely wondered how he got there. What was the force which caused him to be there? What were those lights in the sky at night? What was that orb which gave off light and chase away the dark? Man was still in the hunter gatherer stage of development so he had nothing to go on to answer his questions.
Somewhere, someone got the idea there was a spirit, a deity, who created everything. This satisfied many people and it answered all their questions. Soon, someone had the idea, possibly after a bad storm, that offerings should be made to this deity or in some societies, deities. The offerings would range from food to precious items to humans themselves. Men would appoint themselves as conduits to the Gods and would create laws they said the God gave to them.
My Grandfather said the pure idea of religion was corrupted by those who only sought wealth and power over everyone else.
In a Native American Tribe, the medicine man wields great power. It is him who determines if the tribe went to war or moved to better hunting grounds. The Medicine Man had the gift of second sight and could see into the future. Even the Chief would defer to the Medicine man in affairs of the tribe. Rare was the Medicine Man who abused his power.
In the White Man’s religion, my grandfather would say, corruption ran rampant. The church had a scheme to get power and riches. No one was going to stop them.
Except science. The leaders of the church knew science could blow their whole scheme to hell if it became accepted and religion was tossed out. So they fought tooth and nail to denounce scientists as pawns of the Devil and were God Haters.
Behind closed doors, however, science was needed. Astronomy was needed, for example, to determine when to celebrate Easter by the position of the moon. There needed to be a way to test gold in order to make sure it was pure and thus eligible for use in many church ornaments. Geometry was needed in church construction and the physics had to be applied in order to assure the whole structure did not collapse. Even the science of acoustics was needed so the sermon could be heard throughout the cathedral. Religion passed this off as miracles of God or divine providence guided them. No need letting the people know otherwise or else they may question.
The acceptance of science is needed by all churches today. Let’s take a Mega Church of today. One thing the church needs is electricity. There are books out there in Private Christian Schools which state no one knows for sure where electricity comes from but it is everywhere. It claims it cannot be seen or felt. All someone has to do is ask whomever pays the bills to see the electric bill. In fact, they can do that at their own house! A company, located somewhere in the state, through the power of coal, natural gas, atomic energy or water, generates the electricity which passes through wires to the house or church. What is not taught his how the generators are spinning magnets which create electricity. As for not seeing electricity, all they need to do is watch a thunderstorm. Can’t feel it? Stick your finger in a light socket and turn the switch on.
Also in the church are computers. In small churches it is more than likely there are a handful of computers, a router, and not much else. The big mega churches will have servers and an IT team. The mega church will have a television and radio studio with technicians to run the whole thing. All these wondrous devices are the result of science and technology. With out them, they could not get their “message” out to people who are at home.
Religion is comfortable with this, but what religion fears is discoveries that can call into question everything they have been preaching. The Vast Antenna Array (VAA) which listens for sounds from stars, they fear, could one day pick up a signal from another civilization proving we are not alone. With their power extending into the Government, they can get politicians to cut funding to the VAA thusly ensuring no discoveries will be made. They can make sure the manned space program goes no where and the robotics necessary to explore other worlds are never developed. They may not succeed thoroughly, but they can restrict funding.
The science needed to determine the age of something needs to be debunked as inaccurate and unproven. Science cannot be allowed to say the earth is millions of years old after their Holy Book said it was only a few thousand. Dinosaurs co-existed with man ala dinotopia.
Religion knows if science can debunk everything they have taught as being gospel, then the grip they have on people will be broken and the cash cow they have been milking will be gone.
The God Who Wasn’t There
Sam Harris brilliantly destroys religious arguments
The ‘Jesus of history’ – Memory or Myth?