Some time ago I read an article that stated that the susceptibility for religion may be caused by a specific gene. I doubt very much if that is true, but if it is, I for sure don't have it. I am an unbeliever. I am convinced that God, Allah, Ishtar or whatever his/her/its name is, doesn't exist. And no one can prove otherwise. Homo religiosus is just an invention. We don't know anything about the believes of the human species before history, before humans invented writing some 5000 years ago, so we'll never know for sure whether they had any religion at all. It may be a recent invention.
That I am an unbeliever doesn't mean that I am incapable of a deeply felt wonder. Ever since I was young I am fascinated by astronomy (mind the n and m). Looking into space, with or without a telescope, on a dark night far away from any city, never fails to give me a strong feeling or emotion, that I can't describe other than "transcendental awe". It is a quite humbling experience. It makes me realise how insignificant humans are compared to the vastness, the grandeur and beauty of the universe: we don't mean "shit to a tree". Lots of people, including scientists, will recognize this feeling of admiration for the workings of nature. But this emotion is independent of religion, it is not religious, though some will say that it is, as they broaden the definition of god to "the underlying force of the universe" or whatever. That just cheating with words in my opinion.
Quoting Einstein "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind" isn't exactly fair play either. Einstein more than one said that the idea of a personal god was alien to him. He said that he was an unbeliever. He made it clear that if there was something to be called "religious" in him it was "the admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it". He certainly didn't imply that science and religion are not imcompatible.
It is not only the church that is hostile to the pursuit of knowledge. The story of Eve and the snake tells all, doesn't it.
Last edited by redrabid
on Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:17 pm, edited 5 times in total.