The man and I watched Angels and Demons last night and the closing thought that lingered with us (or maybe me) was when Cardinal Strauss said this: “Religion is flawed, because man is flawed. Especially this one (pointing to himself).”
Anti-Christian advocates readily point out that religion is bigoted and intolerant. This argument comes largely from the premise of some Christians’ attempt to influence public value and politics through their belief system. And that seems just it. But the quote (above) rings true, and was beautiful persuaded by renowned historian, academic and former pastor John Dickson at the recently concluded Made Good conference organised by Ridley Melbourne. He argued that how Christians bring forth the message of Christ may be flawed (yes some bigoted, some intolerant, and others many other types of faults as capably executed by the flawed human heart), but that does not negate the truth in the message itself. Something worth thinking about.
The other point that the movie raised was the age-old debate between church and science/rationality post-Enlightenment. It is an long-drawn yet still on-going argument. The Global Atheist Convention held in Melbourne this Easter was evident of the ‘side’ that many chose when it comes to the presence of God…or not. Reason and rationality based on science and empirical evidence stand above so-called superstitions and suspended rationality through faith.
As a minor point to the above debate but something I can relate to, being in Melbourne while most of my family is in Singapore make me very thankful for something which science gave birth to – technology. We have Skype, which defies time difference and spatial vastness, and allows us to stay in touch with people who are far away but dear to us. That is but just one of many. I hardly think we can ignore the benefits of science but like the flawed man, science is equally flawed in that while it can benefit man, it can also bring destruction. Think pollution as a good example.
Another evidence of the benefits of science is this. Growing up, watching nature documentaries with my dad have always been a great bonding time. After becoming a Christian in my adult years, I still enjoy it, and this time with fresh eyes. My dad just sent me a video today and I was amazed at how advanced technology has enabled cameras to the depth of focus that we can now achieve – far sharper than your 6/6 perfect vision.
Even the normally-detestable creepy crawlies look beautiful superup-close, with their technicoloured exo-skeletons. Birds and butterflies dance in slow motion, seemingly at play in the wind. I don’t know about you but what technology and science has done for me in this instance is to remove the everyday eyes that I use to observe a bug and a bird in nature, and bring me back to a place of awe. It is an awe that runs above between religion and science simply because life itself as a miracle hints of some level of supernatural AND intelligent design all at once.