“Buy the Premise, buy the bit. ” — Johnny Carson, on comedy
“Reject the questions and you can reframe the debate” — paraphrasing several pundits, on politics
“Magic only works if you believe ” — magicians the world over, on magic
Religion, which is equal parts magic, politics and comedy (among other things), has long had a problem with science precisely because science, when it is done right, starts with the fact-based reality and then builds a theory to explain those facts. The theories are then tested to see if they produce reliable & predictable results.
Magic, politics, comedy and religion all start with a belief, a willfully-chosen framing, a premise and then take that where it leads.
This is why there are literally tens of thousands of books on religion that are basically useless to anyone who does not follow that particular religious path.
When folks say a million people can’t be wrong, they are not basing this on facts, as right now billions of people firmly believe things that billions of others just as firmly reject. Reality does not care if you believe in it; facts exist even if no one believes them.
Our task, then, is to use the brain that nature and nature’s God (however Shem may appear to you) have given us to find our own path AND to validate the traditional elements that others may have attached to that path so that we live an authentic life, following the path as we are able.
Our task is NOT to abdicate our reason in favor of a package of beliefs that are based on claims about reality which have been shown as untrue by the facts.
- in the USA gun rights vs gun safety diagreements;
- in the Roman Catholic Church over the still-ongoing scandal of children being molested by priests and the cover-ups of that scandal by the higher-ups, including the current Pope;
- in the struggles of various marginalized people to receive the same treatment & rights as those not marginalized; and
- in Memphis, where far too many equate history with hatred, or race with class.
No matter how much comfort it may bring you to wrap yourself in the flag of one side or another, no cause, group, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, church, religion, movement or nation is innocent of crimes against reason, crimes against the weak and voiceless, crimes against nature, and crimes against humanity.
In any case, most of these divisions are created or sustained by people who profit from the frictions and distractions they cause.
If you, like the true scientists, start from the facts and use your reasoning to devise working theories and join your results with others who do likewise, we can move beyond the flags and into solutions. Otherwise, humanity may well be doomed, and sooner, rather than later.