Friday, October 14, 2011

Religion misses the beauty

One of the oddest things about religion is that it insists its adherents not notice the beauty all around them. To block their flock's view of reality, religion pushes people's heads into a deep, empty chasm of meaningless rhetoric -- and forbids them to ever look outside this dusty hole again.

Which brings me to today's point. We often hear about religious people in this country who resist the idea of evolution. "Not us," they say. "We didn't come from monkeys! We're too special." Indeed you are but not in the way you think.

The incontrovertible truth is that we did come from monkeys and we still are monkeys -- smart ones, to be sure, but monkeys nonetheless. We know this is true because there is evidence to support it everywhere we look -- in the fossil record, in our genes, and in related species, many of whom are our cousins.

We are the hairless monkeys of Earth. And I, for one, am very proud of us. The true story of mankind is as marvelous as a fairytale. (Let's ignore the incredibly bloody history of evolution for a moment.) I'm sure religious people love it when Pinocchio becomes a "real boy" in the Disney movie. That seems magical to them. But that we became what we are by evolving from early primates into men? This they can't even consider, though it's the story of their own existence. And it's as magical as a fairytale -- yet completely real.

We are life. That, I think, is our basic identity. We have traversed geological time and come all the way from uni-cellular simplicity to the impressive beings we are today. We are life's natural miracle.

Religious people can't see the beauty of their own existence. How crazy is that?