09 May 2012

Ex-pastor tells it like it is

Mike Aus used to be a liberal Christian pastor, but had a reverse road-to-Damascus moment when he studied Darwin’s theory of evolution via natural selection and realised its implications for Christian beliefs. Aus has written a splendid essay on the Richard Dawkins Foundation website describing these implications that demolish key tenets of the Christian faith, including the concept of ‘original sin’, the doctrine of mankind’s fall and its subsequent redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the idea of an immortal soul. The entire essay is a clearly laid out exposé of Christianity’s vacuity in light of evolutionary science, but in the following paragraph Aus states the obvious reason (which sadly cannot be stated enough) why Christianity, or any other religion, is incompatible with science:

When I was working as a pastor I would often gloss over the clash between the scientific world view and the perspective of religion. I would say that the insights of science were no threat to faith because science and religion are “different ways of knowing” and are not in conflict because they are trying to answer different questions. Science focuses on “how” the world came to be, and religion addresses the question of “why” we are here. I was dead wrong. There are not different ways of knowing. There is knowing and not knowing, and those are the only two options in this world. Religion, even “enlightened” liberal religion, is generally not interested in the facts on the ground. Religion is really not about “knowing” anything; it is about speculation not based on reality.

Liberal, progressive Christians may congratulate themselves on their acceptance of evolution, but as long as they fail to fully grasp the implications of science for their beliefs – that there’s only one reality to be known, and only one way to know anything about that reality – their self-satisfaction remains a (less severe) form of self-delusion.