At what point, 2,000 years on from the life of Jesus, do we need a refresher course? Another 2,000 years? Imagine 100,000 years’ time – would the story of Moses’ burning bush amaze a generation laden with unimaginable scientific and technological wonders? Here lies religion’s biggest quandary. While science is squeezing the life out of God, how is religion going to muster a counterattack from here?
After the monkeys came down from the trees and learned to hurl sharp objects, they had had to move into caves for protection--not only from the big predatory cats but, as they began to lose their monkey fur, from the elements. Eventually, they started transposing their hunting fantasies onto cave walls in the form of pictures, first as an attempt at practical magic and later for the strange, unexpected pleasure they discovered in artistic creation. Time passed. Art came off the walls and turned into ritual. Ritual became religion. Religion spawned science. Science led to big business. And big business, if it continues on its present mindless, voracious trajectory, could land those of us lucky enough to survive its ultimate legacy back into caves again.
There is no great religion without a great schism. All of them have it. And that's because you're dealing with something called faith. And faith is not something you can prove; faith is personal opinion. Uh, when you're dealing with something with certainty, like, y'know, science or logic, you don't have the--there's no wiggle room; that's why history is not filled with warring math cults, y'know, because you can settle the issue; you can prove something to be right or wrong, and that's the end of the argument: next case. Whereas, when you're dealing with faith, you can forever argue your point, or another point, because you're dealing with intangibles. Personally, I think, faith is what you ask of somebody when you don't have the goods to prove your point.
Believing, as they now did, that the heavenly powers took part in human affairs, they became so much absorbed in the cultivation of religion and so deeply imbued with the sense of their religious duties, that the sanctity of an oath had more power to control their lives than the fear of punishment for lawbreaking.
Science, in all its greatness, is still subject to human creativity. It starts the first moment a child tries to reach up and grab at the clouds. Soon, the child learns that his own hands cannot reach the sky, but his hands are not the limit of his potential. For the human brain observes, considers, understands, and adapts. Locked within the mind is infinite possibility.
In the history of science, ever since the famous trial of Galileo, it has repeatedly been claimed that scientific truth cannot be reconciled with the religious interpretation of the world. Although I an now convinced that scientific truth is unassailable in its own field, I have never found it possible to dismiss the content of religious thinking as simply part of an outmoded phase in the consciousness of mankind, a part we shall have to give up from now on, Thus in the course of my life I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of though, for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point.
But…but you can’t treat religion as a sort of buffet, can you? I mean, you can’t say yes please, I’ll have some of the Celestial Paradise and a helping of the Divine Plan but go easy on the kneeling and none of the Prohibition of Images, they give me wind. Its table d´hôte or nothing, otherwise…well, it would be silly.
It was then that Marvin got religion. Not the quiet, personal kind, that involves doing good deeds and living a better life; not even the kind that involves putting on a suit and ringing' people's doorbells; but the kind that involves having your own TV network and getting people to send you money.
We can scarcely indeed look into any part of the sacred volume without meeting abundant proofs, that it is the religion of the Affections which God particularly requires. Love, Zeal, Gratitude, Joy, Hope, Trust, are each of them specified; and are not allowed to us as weaknesses, but enjoined on us as our bounden duty, and commended to us as our acceptable worship.