Friday, September 08, 2006

Barking up the wrong tree of knowledge

Came two Jehovah's Witnesses to the door this morning. My yelling at the barking dogs to shut up alerted them that, yes, someone was home. I know I could have ignored the doorbell, but I'm old-fashioned that way and think it's rude. So I opened the door and chatted briefly with the two elderly black women. I couldn't pass up the offer of a "Special Issue" of "Awake!" entitled "Is There a Creator?" and told them that, yes, I would look it over even though there could not possibly be a more wrong tree up which they could be barking. They even asked if they could come back and discuss it. I said, "We'll see."

This special issue has articles like "Is Evolution a Fact?" and "How Can I Defend My Belief in Creation?" and features scientists talking about their belief in God. That's all fine and good. Personally, I think it's a fun thing to debate (the scientific basis for the existance of God, that is), but that the question is, in fact, irrelevant.

First, you're talking about two polar opposite principles -- faith and science. Faith, by definition, involves believing things even though there's no proof. Science, by definition, involves believing things only if there is verifiable and testable proof. Trying to get the two to co-exist is like trying to merge matter and anti-matter, and you know what happens when you do that. Well, scientists do, anyway.

Second is that even if there is a God, he/she/it/they don't get involved with humanity. All the bad stuff that happens in the world that goes unpunished seems to me pretty clear proof of that. We're on our own and it's up to us to solve our own problems ourselves whether there's a God or not. Furthermore, I've always thought it a little juvenile to behave well on Earth so you'll be rewarded later in heaven. What are we, dogs? "Jump through the hoop, Trixie, and you'll get a biscuit!" God can keep his biscuit. One should do good works on Earth because it makes Earth a better place for you and everyone else.

For example, I COULD have gone off on the Jehovah's Witnesses about an item in the paper that made me a tad irate. September 11 is, of course, the five-year anniversary of you-know-what. That involved one religious zealot killing nearly 3000 people, and another religious zealot responding with policies that have killed even more American service men and women, not to mention, by his own admission "30,000 Iraqi civillians, more or less."

"Yeah. Devout religious beliefs have made the world a better place all right, ladies. I've borne witness to that."

But I DIDN'T say that because I believe religion is a neutral force. Why? Well, here's an example: September 11, 2006, is also the 100 year anniversary of Mahatma Ghandi's manifesto of change through non-violence, an approach rooted in Hindu philosophy that actually did generate positive change in the world for millions of Indians and inspired others, like Martin Luther King, Jr., to pursue positive change in ways that don't involve killing people by the thousands.

I think it's possible that humans will attain a state of peaceful won't be easy and it won't happen soon. And if we allow violent extremists to bring out the worst in our natures, we many not get there at all. But if we practice tolerance, heck, perhaps we can get along as well as these former "enemies":

So that's okay, ladies. Knock on my door and perhaps we can exchange ideas. I probably won't change your minds, and you probably aren't gonna change mine. But as long as we're willing to listen to each other, maybe can do our small parts to get the world out of the handbasket it's in.


Tavia Rowan said...

I once started meeting one of these door-to-door God salespeople-- I think we met 2 or 3 times in a local coffee shop. But I think I upset her, asking for clarification (based on certain Bible stories) as to the kind of behavior her Jehovah recommended. Like, offering your wife or daughter to thugs as a substitue for a houseguest (why not fight tooth and nail?). She said, "I'll look into it," with an alarmed stare, and never returned. Hey, it's their training manual, I'm just askin'!

argotnaut said...

I'm not going to touch this one with a ten-foot pole, because you know how I get. All I'll say is that you cut these people WAY too much slack.

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