I'm God-Who Are You? [Job 38:1-7, (34-41)]
That's the basic attitude behind the text in the book of Job I'll be talking about this coming Sunday, October 22, 2006. God asks Job, "Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that a flood of waters may cover you?" God goes on and on like this, until you can almost hear Job thinking, "OKAY, God, I get it: you're wise, I'm a schmuck; You're all-powerful, I'm a 98-pound-weakling. WHY do I keep getting sand kicked in my face? What are you trying to tell me, God?"
According to leading scientist and famous atheist Richard Dawkins, it is stupid to ask these kinds of why questions.
In a way Dawkins is right, you know. Science is about asking questions and getting answers. Religion is about learning to live with questions that we will never be able to answer. On the face of it, that does seem stupid.
On the internet you run into a lot of people like Dawkins who are smug and superior and blame religion for the world's ills, but they're not getting book deals and Salon interviews. He goes on and on about what it means to be religious. What does he know about what it means to be religious? He left the church as a teen, and his insider knowlege about religion obviously hasn't progressed much since then.
It is true that the list of things science can do for us seems to be getting longer and longer, while the list of things religion can do for us stays the same. It is also true that learning about religion, to a great extent, involves learning what religion can't do.
So, why bother with religion? All I can say is that it feels right to me. I'm as uncomfortable with religious extremism as the next person, but the idea that I give aid and comfort to religious extremism by participating in religion on any level is annoying at best. Dawkins and his ilk are like modern-day Carrie Nations, trying to smash moderate religious faith with sledgehammers to stop the terrorists. Prohibition of alcohol was a dismal failure, because it didn't address the reasons why people drink, just as railing against religion as stupid doesn't address why increasing numbers of people turn to religious extremism.