03 February 2010

Religious Hash?

This past Monday when I was at the grocery store the checkout clerk was talking about the bad behavior of a public figure. “Well, he’ll get his, you know,” she declared. Then added, “I believe in karma. You know. He’ll get his!”
What I think she meant was that she believes in some sort of cosmic retribution or payback. I didn’t ask her to explain the source of her belief system-mostly because I pretty sure she wouldn’t be able to, other than ‘gut instinct.’
It did get me thinking about the smorgasbord of beliefs people walk around with-mostly a mixture of pseudo-science, some religious faith, superstitions and a lot of hoping-for-the-best. Now and then I run into people who “have no faith but science” which really doesn’t explain much. Why? Even the best of the scientists admit that they have no ultimate, verifiable information on how we came to be and why we are here, not to mention the philosophical questions (morals, ethics, afterlife,etc.) that religious faiths do address. It's been said that it takes a leap of faith to think that science has the answer stored up inside it (-don't misunderstand, science has answers but not of this sort). Lewis speaks to this "faith" in this paragraph regarding the accidental production of our universe:
“If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents – the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s.
But if their thoughts-i.e. of materialism and astronomy-were merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true?
I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents.
It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milkjug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.”
  • C.S. Lewis, From “Answers to Questions on Christianity”